Ever wanted to know what it means to hike (or fly over) mountains on Mars? A new animated video released by NASA shows what it is like to explore Mount Sharp, a Martian mountain that the Curiosity rover has been climbing since 2014.
The video presents several areas of the mountain studied by Curiosity scientists, including what the scientific team calls "the clay-laden unit," where Curiosity has just started analyzing rock samples.
The aerial visit also shows the path proposed by the traveling scientific laboratory in the years to come. Some target sites that NASA plans to study include the rocky cliffs of the "sulphated unit", where sulphate minerals may indicate that the region dries up or becomes more acidic in antiquity, and Gediz Vallis, where a river may have traced through the sulfate unit, said NASA in a statement.
Each region represents a different period of history than Mount Sharp, which rises about 5 km from the base of Gale Crater. Curiosity scientists want to visit these places to learn more about the history of mountain water, which has slowly dried up as climate changes.
Understanding how these changes occurred on Mount Sharp could provide new information on why water – one of the most critical resources for life – has disappeared from Mars there are billions d & # 39; years.
NASA plans to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, which will be a step towards human exploration of Mars.
In 2020, NASA is also launching a car-sized rover based on Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover configuration. It aims to look for signs of past life, to set aside a recorded cache containing the most intriguing soil samples and rock cores, and to demonstrate the technology needed for future human and robotic exploration of Mars.
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