posted on Jan, 16 2013 @ 02:33 AM
NASA’s Curiosity rover has explored a new area on Mars called Yellowknife Bay, which shows plenty of evidence of flowing water. The rover is
preparing to drill into a rock nicknamed “John Klein” in the location in the next couple weeks, investigating its composition and searching for
organics. This will be the first time that engineers have drilled into the surface of another planet.
Scientists already know that Curiosity’s explorations have taken it to a place that was basically an ancient riverbed. Now they are uncovering the
complex geologic history of the area and have stumbled across many interesting features.
“The scientists have been let into the candy store,” said engineer Richard Cook, project manager for Curiosity, during a NASA teleconference on
For the last few weeks, the rover has been moving from the plateau it landed on down a slope into a depression. As it descended, it passed through
layers of rock that are increasingly older, taking it backwards into the planet’s history. Geologists are finding a lot of different rock types,
indicating that many different geologic processes took place here over time.
Some of the minerals are sedimentary, suggesting that flowing water moved small grains around and deposited them, and other evidence suggests water
moved through the rocks after they had formed. Tiny spherical concretions scattered through the rock were likely formed when water percolated through
rock pores and minerals precipitated out. Other samples are cracked and filled with veins of material such as calcium sulfate, that were also formed
when water percolated through the cracks and deposited the mineral.