Wednesday, November 30

The Curiosity rover investigates the salty region of Mars | Digital Trends Spanish


When it comes to looking for evidence of ancient life on marsSome key features scientists want to explore are areas with high levels of sulfate minerals. These salts form in the presence of water, so even though Mars is dry today, finding these minerals now indicates that there was once water in the region. And areas of water are places where life is most likely to have developed. So it’s an exciting moment when a Mars rover hits an area high in sulfates, and the Curiosity rover It recently reached one of those places on Mount Sharp in Gale Crater.

Sulfates had been identified from orbit by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter years ago as a key target for Curiosity to explore, and the rover has already identified a variety of rock types and salt minerals in the area, including magnesium sulfate, sulfate of calcium and sodium chloride or table salt.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, to capture this panorama of a hill nicknamed Bolívar and adjacent sand ridges on August 23, the 3,572nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

While exploring the area, the Curiosity team chose a rock they named Canaima to collect a sample, but due to the rock’s firmness, it was difficult to approach. The arm that Curiosity uses to move its drill into place has had some problems recently, as the brakes on the arm stopped working and a new set of arms had to be used. brakes spare instead.

“As we do before each drill, we remove the dust and then touch the upper surface of Canaima with the drill. The lack of scratch marks or indentations was an indication that it may be difficult to drill,” Curiosity project manager Kathya Zamora-Garcia said in a statement. release. “We paused to consider if that posed any risk to our arm. With the new drilling algorithm, created to minimize the use of percussion, we feel comfortable collecting a sample from Canaima. As it turned out, no percussion was needed.”

with sample successfully collectedCuriosity can now analyze it using its instruments to learn more about the region and the sulfates it contains.

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