Space & Earth Curiosity's Instrument Head Portrait

Published on October 1st, 2012 | by Carl Mundy


Evidence for Mars Water Mounts with Curiosity

Evidence for water on Mars both in its past and today in the present has multiplied since NASA’s Mariner 9 spacecraft sent back the first direct evidence that liquid water  flowed over the Martian surface some time in the Red Planet’s past. Images of dried up canyons and river beds were beamed back to Earth and suggested that Mars may have been more like Earth in its past than previously thought.

Fast forward four decades since Mariner 9 and NASA’s latest Mars rover, Curiosity, has found new evidence for water on the Martian surface sometime in its past. Small, rounded rocks and newly discovered rock outcrops imaged by Curiosity point towards a stream having flowed over the surface. The size of the rocks and outcrops allowed NASA scientists to calculate that the stream was most likely between ankle and hip-deep with water flowing at a speed of around 1m/s.

Curiosity images a suspected streambed on Mars.

Curiosity images a suspected streambed on Mars. Rocks thought to form through deposition by flowing water are seen, pointing towards the Red Planet’s wet history. (Credit: NASA)

Featured Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
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About the Author

Astronomy PhD student from the UK with a passion for astronomy and science outreach projects. Involved with weekly science-based radio programme The Science Show on University Radio Nottingham (URN).

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