This August marks ten years since the landing of the Curiosity rover in Gale Crater on Mars. Since then, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) office has been conducting scientific activities, and regularly sends amazing pictures of local landscapes. This time, the rover captured a view of the landscape changing as it moved up the slope of Mount Sharp.
Over the last year of Curiosity's journey up the slope of Mount Sharp, scientists have begun to pay more attention to the change in the structure of the rock. If a lot of clay is found in the lower areas of the slope, then as it goes up, the rover detects more sulfates. According to scientists, such places are typical for areas where streams dried up and sand dunes formed.
Thus, lacustrine deposits in these areas are less common than in the lower areas of the slope of Mount Sharp. “Instead, we're seeing a lot of evidence of a drier climate, like dry dunes where streams flowed around in the past,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity Project Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
In addition to the increase in sulfates, geological features are attracting scientists' attention. They observe deposits that most likely formed in layers. Researchers believe that some of the deposits in the area were formed during a time when water was present on the surface of the planet and streams washed over the sand dunes.
there have been several periods known to have groundwater receding and volatilizing over time, leaving behind a jumble of puzzle pieces that Curiosity scientists must put together in precise chronology,” NASA said in a statement.