Curiosity rover sheds light on previous Martian environment

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Image Courtesy of NASA

Minerals left behind from old rivers and lakes can reveal a lot about the past of a region. This is true here on Earth and on Mount Sharp, a mountain on the planet Mars. This is where the Curiosity rover has spent the past few years while collecting samples that could reveal a lot about the environment of Mars years ago.

Some of the notable samples include sediments that are estimated to have been left behind some 3.5 billion years ago. These are sediments that are formed in the presence of water, another strong indicator that Mars could have once been inhabitable.

Other samples have been matched to other source regions on the planet. These samples hint at chemical diversity, which would lead to an overall more diverse environment. For instance, certain minerals indicate that some water sources on Mars could have had higher oxygen levels than what we’re accustomed to here on Earth.

Scientists hope that with the help of the Curiosity rover they can find more clues to how Mars could have went from a wet environment to the cold and dry environment it is now.