June 2, 2019 By Lisa
The Mars Curiosity rover of NASA took this selfie on Could 12, 2019 (Martian mission 2,405). NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS
NASA's Curiosity robotic has discovered the biggest quantity of clay in all of the samples collected to this point throughout its mission on Mars. To rejoice, the rover photographed a selfie by exploring the aptly named "clay-based unit" the place the latest samples have been taken.
To generate this selfie, 57 completely different photographs captured by Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) have been mixed right into a single panoramic picture. The MAHLI is a digital camera positioned on the finish of the robotic arm of the rover. The arm itself was digitally faraway from the ultimate picture to indicate the rover in all its Martian splendor.
When you look to the left and beneath the cellular within the image, you may see two small holes. These two targets, known as "Aberlady" and "Kilmarie", have been not too long ago manufactured by Curiosity because it dug by the floor to gather samples. These are the 20th and 21st Curiosity drilling websites for now.
Curiosity strikes by the clay-based unit because it slowly climbs Mount Sharp. This space is of specific curiosity as a result of the clay typically kinds when there’s water and it’s thought that there was water on the Mars floor billions of years in the past. Examination of the clay nonetheless remaining on the floor might give a sign of circumstances that might have supported life in some unspecified time in the future within the historical past of Mars.
To investigate the samples, Curiosity makes use of its CheMin instrument (a coat rack of chemical substances and mineralogy) to determine and measure the quantity of sure minerals within the Martian rock. Notably, along with clay, the CheMin instrument has detected very low ranges of hematite within the unit containing clay. Hematite was ample within the close by ridge of Vera Rubin, the place Curiosity was exploring early within the yr.
These new findings present compelling proof that there was as soon as water within the space, however researchers are nonetheless questioning about how water interacts with rocks. Rocks might have fashioned when water has collected in lakes with layers of sediment on the backside. Over time, sediments fashioned within the rocks that also cowl the floor of the realm.