Mars Curiosity now traversing former ancient glacier territory
NASA Mars rover Curiosity has been on Red Planet for a complete Martian year that is of 687 days. But it has not stopped Curiosity to accomplish its goal and it is still trekking on the Red Planet and is traversing Gale crater.
Martian Gale crater was covered with glaciers some 3,500 years ago. Extremely cold liquid used to flow through its rivers and lakes forming landscapes similar to those that can be found in Alaska. An analysis of image taken by the spacecraft orbiting Mars has unveiled about the liquid aspect.
"This crater was covered by glaciers approximately 3,500 million years ago, which were particularly extensive on its central mound, Aeolis Mons", said Alberto Fairén, from the Referring to the conditions prevalent some 3,500 years ago, Alberto said rivers and lakes flowed with very cold liquid water in the low-lying areas of the crater. In ancient times, Mars was capable of supporting large quantities of liquid water as well as was able to maintain massive ice-sheets that covered extensive regions of its surface.
Curiosity is a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL).
The Bradbury Landing site was less than 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from the center of the rover's touchdown target after a 563,000,000 km (350,000,000 mi) journey.
The rover's goals include: investigation of the Martian climate and geology; assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including investigation of the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for future human exploration.
Curiosity's design will serve as the basis for a planned Mars 2020 rover mission. In December 2012, Curiosity's two-year mission was extended indefinitely.
On June 24, 2014, Curiosity completed a Martian year—687 Earth days—after finding that Mars once had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.