NASA’s rover Curiosity has been exploring our neighboring planet Mars since 2012. To be more precise, Curiosity is exploring Gale Crater, ideally located between the northern flat regions of the Red Planet and the southern hemisphere’s crater landscape. Gale Crater is an impact crater, approximately 154 km in diameter, that probably formed 3.5 billion years ago. A mountain about five kilometers high rises in the middle of Aeolis Mons.
NASA scientists had chosen the landing site for Curiosity with caution: Satellite images suggested that Gale Crater was once filled with water. A dried-up lake on Mars looked promising: there might once have been traces of life there. Liquid water is considered essential in finding it. But now a research team has published “Science Advances” published a studyWho claims: Gale Crater was probably never filled by a huge, deep lake – but by a shallower pool at most.
Instead of water, air is said to have deposited in Gale Crater on Mars.
The group’s conclusion, led by Jiacheng Liu from the University of Hong Kong, is based on the fact that most of the findings and investigations made since the Mars rover Curiosity landed can be interpreted differently. In 2012, Curiosity landed in the northeastern side of Gale Crater, and has been exploring the edges of Aeolis Mons since 2014. The rover analyzes sediments and deposits. Mudstone layers in particular have been evaluated by other researchers as remnants of a once-existing lake, as these would indicate interactions between rock and water. Over time, the mudstone would have accumulated in the lake as sediment.
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