NASA's Curiosity rover is back again to its mission Mars and the latest discovery provides insight into the existence of water on the Red Planet. Yes! You read it right. A group of NASA scientists, who currently placed their Curiosity Mars rover in the Gale Crater, has reportedly found an extremely good-looking rock that could end the decades old debate on whether or not the Red Planet harboured or still harbours water.
The rock, nicknamed as 'Strathdon', has scale-like features and further indicates that Mars once had flowing water on its surface which eroded the solid material for different periods of time. Each levels of scales are assumed to be periods of time when Mars becomes gradually dry. Scientists suggest that the Red Planet’s journey from being wet to dry has resulted into the rocky layer above it.
Talking about the latest study, Valerie Fox, a research scholar in Caltech said, "We're seeing an evolution in the ancient lake environment recorded in these rocks". "It wasn't just a static lake. It's helping us move from a simplistic view of Mars going from wet to dry. Instead of a linear process, the history of water was more complicated,” Fox added.
Earlier too, scientists have discovered a slew of evidence of ancient groundwater system on the surface of the planet. In early 2019, researchers explored 24 deep, enclosed craters in the northern hemisphere of Mars, with floors lying about 4000 metres below martian 'sea level' - a level that, given the planet's lack of seas, is arbitrarily defined on Mars based on elevation and atmospheric pressure.
There are also reports about the existence of a giant water reservoirs on the planet, in the form of ice layers buried over a kilometre beneath the surface. Besides, researchers from different scientific organisations have detected pools of liquid water beneath the planet's south pole in the line of interconnected ancient lakes and snowmelt-fed streams.