NASA’s Curiosity Rover has just discovered evidence of an ancient riverbed on the red planet. That’s right, “NASA scientists have been studying images of the stones cemented into the rock, and their size and shape points to the fact that this used to be a fast-flowing stream.” Continue reading for the announcement video, more pictures, and additional information.
The latest evidence came from photos that Curiosity took revealing rounded pebbles and gravel – a sign that the rocks were transported long distances by water and smoothed out. The size of the rocks – ranging from a sand grain to a golf ball – indicates that they could not have been carried by wind, said mission scientist Rebecca Williams of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona.
Though Curiosity did not use its high-tech instruments to drill into the rocks or analyze their chemical makeup, Mr Grotzinger said scientists were sure that water played a role based on just studying the pictures. It is unclear how long the water persisted on the surface, but it easily could have lasted ‘thousands to millions of years,’ said mission scientist Bill Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley.