NASA’s Curiosity Rover Reaches 4,000 Days on Mars
By NASA // November 6, 2023
rover recently drilled its 39th sample
(NASA) – Four thousand Martian days after setting its wheels in Gale Crater on Aug. 5, 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover remains busy conducting exciting science.
The rover recently drilled its 39th sample then dropped the pulverized rock into its belly for detailed analysis.
To study whether ancient Mars had the conditions to support microbial life, the rover has been gradually ascending the base of 3-mile-tall (5-kilometer-tall) Mount Sharp, whose layers formed in different periods of Martian history and offer a record of how the planet’s climate changed over time.
The latest sample was collected from a target nicknamed “Sequoia” (all of the mission’s current science targets are named after locations in California’s Sierra Nevada). Scientists hope the sample will reveal more about how the climate and habitability of Mars evolved as this region became enriched in sulfates –minerals that likely formed in salty water that was evaporating as Mars first began drying up billions of years ago. Eventually, Mars’ liquid water disappeared for good.
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