NASA’s Curiosity has discovered a lake that could have supported life on Mars. The rover finds evidence that the ancient Martian lake had the right chemical ingredients to sustain microbial life forms for long periods of time.
Above: Outcrops in Yellowknife Bay are being exposed by wind driven erosion. These rocks record superimposed ancient lake and stream deposits that offered past environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. This image mosaic from the Mast Camera instrument on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows a series of sedimentary deposits in the Glenelg area of Gale Crater, from a perspective in Yellowknife Bay looking toward west-northwest. The “Cumberland” rock that the rover drilled for a sample of the Sheepbed mudstone deposit (at lower left in this scene) has been exposed at the surface for only about 80 million years. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
The fossil remains of the lake were identified at the Yellowknife Bay area inside the Gale Crater, where the Curiosity rover landed in 2012.
Gale crater: Aeolis Mons rises from the middle of the crater – the green dot marks the Curiosity rover landing site in Aeolis Palus – North is down. Credit wikimedia