NASA Releases Curiosity's First Image of Ancient River on Mars
This week, NASA released the first "water-proof" shot from the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in August. Curiosity sent the image of the ridge of the north wall of Gale Crater more than 352 million miles back to earth.
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NASA's Curiosity rover found evidence for an ancient, flowing stream on Mars at a few sites, including the rock outcrop pictured here, which the science team has named "Hottah" after Hottah Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories. It may look like a broken sidewalk, but this geological feature on Mars is actually exposed bedrock made up of smaller fragments cemented together, or what geologists call a sedimentary conglomerate. Scientists theorize that the bedrock was disrupted in the past, giving it the titled angle, most likely via impacts from meteorites.
Scientists say the size and shape of the gravel is proof of the existence of an ancient water stream -- because the gravel pieces are too big to have been moved by wind, it can be assumed they were carried by "a vigorous flow of water."
The image was taken by the rover's 100-millimeter Mastcam telephoto lens. For more info, check out NASA's Mars mission page.