Curiosity detects evidence of a freshwater lake on Mars
Science and Technology, Monday 9 December 2013 .
The U.S. robot, Curiosity , first detected on the surface of Mars direct evidence of the existence in the past of a freshwater lake on the Red Planet . Analyzed rocks contain traces of carbon , hydrogen, oxygen , nitrogen and sulfur , providing ideal conditions for basic microbial life , they said. The sandstone found appears similar to that found in the rivers of the earth , suggesting , according to scientists, a river that flowed into the lake, which is at the foot of a small mountain .
Curiosity first discovered on the surface of Mars direct evidence of the existence in the past of a freshwater lake on the Red Planet . In a study published in the journal Science , scientists reported that currently there is no more water in that place, but drill testing and chemical analysis by the robot Curiosity in solid rocks suggest that there were conditions for microbial life at the lake three thousand 600 million years ago.
Analyzed rocks contain traces of carbon , hydrogen, oxygen , nitrogen and sulfur , providing ideal conditions for basic microbial life , they said. Tiny bacterial life forms , known as chemolithoautotrophs thrive under similar conditions on Earth and is usually found in caves or under the se in hydrothermal vents .
This is the first time that we really find rocks on Mars that provide evidence of the existence of lakes, said Sanjeev Gupta , a professor at London Imperial College and co-author of the research. It’s great because the lakes are ideal for elementary microbial life may develop and preserved environment. Although no life was detected in the rocks, the researcher said that Curiosity has drilled into fragments of sandstone and mud and clay minerals found suggesting an interaction with water. In fact, the sandstone found appears similar to that found in the rivers of the earth , suggesting , according to scientists, a river that flowed into the lake, which is at the foot of a small mountain .
Researchers have found evidence of water on Mars elsewhere on the surface of Mars and investigations by previous orbiters also strongly suggest the existence of lakes in the past. Curiosity , which came to Gale crater in the Martian Ecuador on August 6, 2012 and is the most sophisticated vehicle so far sent to another planet , and found that the red planet was suitable for microbial life in the distant past , the main objective of its two-year mission . These latest results provide the most eloquent test that Mars had at some time the needed conditions to develop life , the study said .
NASA , the U.S. space agency , has selected Gale Crater in particular by their different sedimentary layers, which could allow dating the periods in which Mars was suitable for life . The next step will be to analyze samples of a thick pile of rocks on the surface of the crater to gather more evidence of a habitable environment , Professor Gupta said. These new results give us confidence in the future of this mission and the fact that we continue to explore the red planet, said. The robot Curiosity , with a total cost of two thousand 500 million dollars, is operated by NASA engineers from the laboratory in Pasadena California.
Tele sur AFP / ao – FC