NASA’s curiosity rover made an unexpected and exciting discovery when it arrived at the “sulfate-bearing unit” of Mars: rippled rock textures that indicate lakes once existed in this supposedly dry region.
According to international media reports, researchers expected to find salty minerals leftover from water drying up; instead, they uncovered evidence that these regions were wet for much longer than previously thought. Who knows what other secrets lie hidden beneath the Red Planet’s dusty surface?
After its successful mission, the Curiosity team was astounded to uncover a snapshot of Mars’ distant past: evidence that ancient lakes once existed and lapped at sandy shores.
Billions of years ago, waves created patterns in sediment beneath Martian lakes – leaving ripples etched into the rock for researchers to discover today.
“This is the best evidence of water and waves that we’ve seen in the entire mission,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “We climbed through thousands of feet of lake deposits and never saw evidence like this – and now we found it in a place we expected to be dry.”