Do you click through to videos found on a blog? Probably not, so I’m putting this up for my own benefit as much as anyone else’s. I was fortunate enough to attend a Curiosity Rover landing party at Boeing in south Seattle, which included some speakers from JPL (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) discussing the mission.
There’s so much science going on, and so many new discoveries, it’s hard to keep up. Yet, it’s also easy to overlook some of the data and evidence piling up which allow for an ever-expanding picture of what Mars is like.
Ashwin Vasavada, a JPR Research Scientist gave a presentation open to the public at the one-year mark, which included some very basic and very interesting questions from the audience. Easy to follow:
‘Research suggests habitable conditions in the Yellowknife Bay area may have persisted for millions to tens of millions of years. During that time rivers and lakes probably appeared and disappeared. Even when the surface was dry, the subsurface likely was wet, as indicated by mineral veins deposited by underground water into fractures in the rock. The thickness of observed and inferred tiers of rock layers provides the basis for estimating long duration, and the discovery of a mineral energy source for underground microbes favors habitability throughout.’
You can also watch a 12/05/13 press briefing from JPL discussing those papers above. These rocks are much newer than the older wet period theorized.
They’re more focused on the search for organic carbon, now, within the environments they’ve discovered.