Stunning Mars photos by the Curiosity rover show ancient climate shift
The rover is finding minerals formed amid drier conditions as it ascends Mount Sharp.
It's possible that an old Red-Planet rover is spotting evidence of the Martian climate drying up in the past.
The lengthy NASA Curiosity mission, which will mark its tenth Earth-year anniversary on Mars this August, is climbing Mount Sharp's
slopes to study how Mars' temperature has changed throughout the ages.
Curiosity has been seeing a transition zone packed with salty sulphate as water-rich clay gives way over the course of the last year or so of its roaming
According to a NASA release, scientists currently assume those markings indicate the locations where streams dried up and sand dunes developed
This indicates that when Curiosity ascends higher on the mountain, lake deposits that once covered the lower slopes are less prevalent.
Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity's project scientist at JPL, said in the release
, "Instead, we see lots of evidence of drier conditions, such dry dunes that occasionally had streams running around them."
Scientists are interested in geologic aspects in addition to greater sulphate
They are observing sediments that were probably deposited in stacks of "flaky layers," one of which the team members have dubbed "The Prow."
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