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A rover makes a strange discovery on Mars

A rover makes a strange discovery on Mars

The Curiosity spacecraft sends back pictures of the red planet over and over again. Now scientists have made a particularly strange discovery.

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NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has been exploring the planet since 2012. There are now images of hexagonal cracks in the planet’s dry soil. Scientists have published photos and explain: the cracks could be evidence of this Mars Once upon a time there was a climate similar to Earth.

As reported by NASA, scientists are still not sure how exactly life began on Earth. The prevailing theory is that cycles of wet and dry conditions alternated and helped make microbial life possible.

Rover discovery: Curiosity has discovered ancient hexagonal cracks in the Martian soil.

Rover discovery: Curiosity has discovered ancient hexagonal cracks in the Martian soil.Photo: Imago

That’s why the Mars Curiosity rover’s recent discovery is so exciting to researchers: The well-preserved patchwork of ancient mud cracks could be an indication of wet and dry cycles on Mars, too.

“These mud cracks particularly occur when wet and dry conditions occur frequently — perhaps seasonally,” said the study’s lead author, William Rabin, of the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences in France.

The Mars probe gradually ascends to the sediment layers of Mount Sharp, which is about five kilometers high on the surface of Mars. Clay cracks were discovered in 2021 when he dug up a sample – now scientists have published photos and the results of their research.

“This is the first concrete evidence we’ve seen that the ancient climate of Mars had regular, Earth-like wet and dry cycles,” Rabin said. “But more importantly, wet-dry cycles are beneficial—and perhaps essential as well—for molecular evolution that could lead to life.”

Because although water is necessary for life, balance is also required: there should not be too much water, but neither should it be too little. “We are very fortunate to have a planet as close to us as Mars, which still reminds us of the natural processes that may have given rise to life,” Rabin said.

Sources used:

  • “Cracks in ancient Martian mud surprise NASA’s Curiosity Rover team”

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