Thanks to discoveries by the NASA rover, which has been exploring the Red Planet since touching down inside Gale Crater in August 2012, picture of ancient Mars has emerged during the past few months.
The announcements have come in dribs and drabs, but presented together recently here at the European Planetary Science Congress, they provide compelling evidence that Mars was quite wet in the distant past, CBS News reported.
During many sessions at the conference, which was held Sept. 8 to Sept. 13 in London, scientists presented details of the rover's most exciting finds, made before it began the long drive toward the towering Mount Sharp this past July.
And the words that could be heard most often were hydrogen, hydration, rocks and water. Especially water.
Melissa Rice, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said that they knew that on Mars there was a habitable environment , where water was good enough for us to drink.
She talked about rocks that Curiosity studied earlier this year, finding evidence that ancient Mars could have supported microbial life.
One of the rocks Rice mentioned was a mudstone that Curiosity drilled into. Inside, researchers found clay minerals, which meant either formation in, or substantial alteration by, water on Mars.
Researchers think the mudstone formed in a place where water was calm, such as a lake -- perhaps an ideal place for microbes to survive and reproduce.
--ANI (Posted on 25-09-2013)