The Curiosity group is asking it “Strathdon”—a boulder-sized Martian rock comprised of dozens of sedimentary layers. Its discovery suggests the world being explored by the NASA rover is more geologically advanced than is usually appreciated.
For the past few months, Curiosity has been exploring a region known as the “clay-bearing unit” inside Gale Crater. This area, positioned along the slope of Mount Sharp, as soon as featured lakes and streams, the remnants of which now seem within the type of clay mineral deposits. By exploring this area, scientists are hoping to catch a glimpse of Mars’ ancient past, when the Red Planet was capable of maintaining liquid water on the surface—and probably even life.
Recently, the NASA rover got here throughout a big rock comprised of dozens of sedimentary layers. Dubbed “Strathdon” by the Curiosity team, the brittle rock appears to be like a giant chunk of baklava, with its tiered, wavy rows. These features, in accordance with NASA, point to the presence of a dynamic environment, by which wind or flowing water—or possibly both—imbued this Martian region with its distinctive geological features.
“We see an evolution within the ancient lake environment recorded in these rocks,” stated Caltech’s Valerie Fox, a co-lead investigator for Curiosity’s clay-unit campaign, in a NASA press release. “It was not just a static lake. It is helping us move from a simplistic view of Mars going from wet to dry. As a substitute of a linear process, the history of water was more complicated.”