posted on Aug, 14 2012 @ 03:27 PM
reply to post by impaired
The main reason NASA picked gale Crater is because they are pretty sure it was once a very watery place.
One big clue for NASA was that orbital analysis of the soils there show an abundance of clays -- and clays are known to only form in standing
There are other signs that NASA has that makes them think Gale Crater was once very watery place -- such as sediments that show signs of being
deposited by water (as opposed to wind-blown sediment) and alluvial fans. NASA is hoping the exposed strata lines on the cliff-sides of Mount Sharp
(which in inside Gale Crater) will show them a time when that part of Mars was covered with water a few billion years ago.
NASA thinks that the conditions on Mars back then could have been similar to the conditions on earth back then -- when life formed on Earth.
Below is a link to a video of a lecture by Dr. Matt Golombek, who is a NASA/JPL geologist working on the MSL mission, talking about what makes Gale
Crater so interesting. It's about 1 hour long: the first 37 minutes is basically about why Gale was chosen over the others. The last 22 minutes or
so is about what they expect to see there....
...So if you don't have an hour, and just want to know about the types of science NASA is planning to do at Gale Crater, then just watch the last 22
minutes -- although the first 37 minutes is worthwhile too, if you have the time.
Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Landing Site - Gale Crater
edit on 8/14/2012 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)