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NASA’s fancy new Perseverance Mars rover may be getting all the attention these days, but its predecessor, Curiosity, is still making breakthroughs.
More than 2,000 miles away from Perseverance’s landing spot, Curiosity has been roaming Mars’ Gale Crater for the last nine years. Since 2014, it’s been slowly climbing the 3-mile-high mountain at the crater’s center: Mount Sharp. There, Curiosity has discovered signs that ancient Mars experienced wild climate fluctuations — it oscillated between being a water world rich with rivers and a dry desert planet, according to a study published Thursday.
Scientists have known for decades that Mars lost its water about 3.5 billion years ago, but the new discovery suggests that the planet’s lakes and rivers may have vanished and come back several times before disappearing completely. Piecing together the history of water on Mars can help scientists figure out whether it ever hosted life.
Curiosity will likely uncover more secrets about Mars’ past as it explores the foothills of Mount Sharp, where billions of years of Martian history are embedded in 3 miles of rock layers. Each era of the planet’s history left different marks on the mountain — layers of sediment from the flow of …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Technology
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