New data from the Curiosity Rover is shoring up an earlier hypothesis that the base of Mars’ Mount Sharp was formed by layers of sediment deposited in a lake.
This wet Mars likely existed between 3.3 and 3.8 billion years ago.
“It’s clear that the Mars of billions of years ago more closely resembled Earth than it does today,” says Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. “Our challenge is to figure out how this more clement Mars was even possible, and what happened to that wetter Mars.”
And the bigger question: Was there ever life on Mars? Is there still?
“Water is key because almost everywhere we find water on Earth, we find life,” according to NASA.
One thing we’re learning about Mars is how little we actually know about it. Computer models of Mars’ past climate are failing to reproduce what the rovers are actually seeing on the ground.
“We have tended to think of Mars as being simple,” says John Grotzinger, lead author of the new report, in the press release.
“We once thought of the Earth as being simple too. But the more you look into it, questions come up because you’re beginning to fathom the real complexity of what we see on Mars. This is a good time to go back to reevaluate all our assumptions. Something is missing somewhere.”
Stay motherbleeping tuned.