NASAs Opportunity rover just discovered possible evidence of water on Mars
Mars is a big, dusty, dry ball of rock, sand, and dust… we think. Believe it or not, despite the fact that NASA has several rovers on the Red Planet, we’re still not entirely sure how much water is there, and it’s proven incredibly difficult to pin down. Curious geological features that were thought to be proof of flowing water were later disputed as the effects of wind instead, and for every researcher to declared proof of water, another comes along with a very dry explanation. Well, get ready for it to happen all over again, because NASA’s Opportunity rover just spotted what looks like the telltale signs of wetness.
As the Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains , Opportunity has captured images of the Martian landscape in Perseverance Valley that appears to show “rock stripes.” Rock stripes are a naturally occurring phenomenon that happens when wet ground freezes and thaws in repeating cycles. The result is larger rock fragments arranged in lines with finer dirt and soil “flowing” between them.
“One possible explanation of these stripes is that they are relics from a time of greater obliquity when snow packs on the rim seasonally melted enough to moisten the soil, and then freeze-thaw cycles organized the small rocks into stripes,” Ray Arvidson, Deputy Principle Investigator for the Opportunity Rover, says. “Gravitational downhill movement may be diffusing them so they don’t look as crisp as when they were fresh.” – READ MORE
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