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The Curiosity rover reaches a salt flat on Mars where liquid water is estimated to have existed


This region has aroused great interest among researchers since before the rover landed on the red planet in 1960.

After negotiating a complicated journey through the Paraitepuy Pass on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover finally arrived at the “sulfate unit”, a region of Mount Sharp that has interested researchers even since before the rover began its interplanetary mission on 2012, reported the space agency this Wednesday.

This particular area is of special interest since, according to data obtained by Mars orbiter Orbiter more than a decade ago, the surface of the zone is enriched with salty

minerals, which experts estimate , were deposited billions of years ago, when the streams and pools on the surface of Mars dried up.

If this hypothesis is correct, the agency points out, “these minerals will offer very revealing clues about how and why the climate of the red planet went from being more similar to gone to the Earth to be the frozen desert it is today”, which is why researchers have waited expectantly more than a decade to observe this terrain closely.

According to NASA, shortly after reaching the sulfate unit, the 14 August, the explorer discovered a wide variety of rock types and signs of water from the past, including nodules with a popcorn texture and salty minerals such as magnesium sulfate, calcium sulfate (including gypsum), and sodium chloride (common table salt).

FOTO: El róver Curiosity de la NASA halla unas estructuras parecidas a árboles en Marte

According to the organism, a rock nicknamed Canaima was selected to extract the drilling sample number 36 of the mission. In the process, they had to create a new algorithm for Curiosity’s robotic arm, since the wear caused by the percussion of the drill on such a hard surface meant a risk for the rover.

Now, the next step will be to analyze the samples with the device’s chemistry and mineralogy instrument and the sample analysis instrument on Mars, with which scientists will be able to determine the exact composition of the upper substrate of the Canaima rock.

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