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2014-12-08. NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds Clues to How Water Helped Shape Martian Landscape.

posted Dec 13, 2014, 11:17 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 8.  NASA RELEASE 14-326. http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/december/nasa-s-curiosity-rover-finds-clues-to-how-water-helped-shape-martian-landscape/ - Excerpt: Observations by NASA’s Curiosity Rover indicate Mars' Mount Sharp was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years.mThis interpretation of Curiosity’s finds in Gale Crater suggests ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes at many locations on the Red Planet. "If our hypothesis for Mount Sharp holds up, it challenges the notion that warm and wet conditions were transient, local, or only underground on Mars,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “A more radical explanation is that Mars' ancient, thicker atmosphere raised temperatures above freezing globally, but so far we don't know how the atmosphere did that." ..."We are making headway in solving the mystery of Mount Sharp," said Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. "Where there's now a mountain, there may have once been a series of lakes." ..."The great thing about a lake that occurs repeatedly, over and over, is that each time it comes back it is another experiment to tell you how the environment works," Grotzinger said. "As Curiosity climbs higher on Mount Sharp, we will have a series of experiments to show patterns in how the atmosphere and the water and the sediments interact. We may see how the chemistry changed in the lakes over time. See also: article in Science byEric Hand