A new study confirms that Mars was once, billions of years ago, capable of storing water in lakes over an extended period of time.
Using data from the Curiosity rover, the team has determined that water helped deposit sediment into Gale Crater as layers that formed the foundation for Mount Sharp.
“Observations from the rover suggest that a series of long-lived streams and lakes existed at some point between about 3.8 to 3.3 billion years ago, delivering sediment that slowly built up the lower layers of Mount Sharp,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and co-author of the new Science article published today.
The findings build upon previous work that suggested there were ancient lakes on Mars, and add to the unfolding story of a wet Mars, both past and present.
NASA scientists recently confirmed current water flows on Mars.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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