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   xoxoxoBruce  Friday Oct 21 01:10 PM

Oct 21st, 2016: Holy Mars

From Reddit, 14 holes drilled in Mars.



Quote:
A map of all the drill holes made by NASA's Curiosity rover in its 4 year lifetime (how has it been four years already?) The most recent hole was drilled in mid-September

And the best is yet to come- Curiosity has finally reached the point where it will cross the sand dunes and start ascending up the slopes of Mount Sharp; to reach the alluring hematite and clay layers that brought the rover here in the first place.

I do not know anything about Mars. What makes the clay layers alluring and what do you hope that the drilling reveals?

Well the rover landed at the bottom of the crater, and has since (slowly) been working its way upwards towards the central mountain of gale crater, Mount Sharp. As the rover drives uphill, we're progressing through geological time; travelling through the eras of martian history. What we've seen so far is that Gale Crater was once a deep lake, that persisted for more than just a few million years.

The journey to the clay units on the slopes of the mountain (which are probably a couple years drive away) should reveal how the lake changed over time- how long lasting was the lake? was it flooded multiple times or just once? Did the lake dry out, or freeze? Answers that could tell us lots about the wet period of Mars, and its transition into the cold desert of today.
Cool, I didn't know that.


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