NASA Mars rover finds strong evidence of water
NASAs Opportunity Mars rover, which landed on the red planet nearly eight years ago, has discovered a mineral vein that was almost certainly deposited by water billions of years ago.
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"Here, both the chemistry, mineralogy, and the morphology just scream water," Squyres said. "This is more solid than anything else that we've seen in the whole mission."Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Exploring Mars with Curiosity
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The gypsum vein is also intriguing for scientists interested in whether or not Mars was ever capable of supporting life. Some of the ancient wet environments Spirit and Opportunity have found were likely very acidic. But gypsum formation is consistent with (though not dependent on) a more neutral and therefore benign pH, researchers said.
There's no water at Endeavour today, however. It's bone-dry, like the rest of Mars appears to be.
Opportunity keeps rolling
Opportunity is showing a few signs of its advanced age, such as an arthritic shoulder joint in its robotic arm. But the robot just keeps chugging along, and should continue to do so into the future.
Opportunity should keep roving until next month, when it will position itself in a favorable spot to wait out the frigid Martian winter. The robot won't shut down during this time, researchers said; it will remain awake, studying the rocks around it and perhaps even moving a few feet now and then.
If all goes well, the rover should put its traveling shoes back on next summer sometime, Banerdt told SPACE.com. The team isn't sure how far Opportunity can go or how long it will last on Mars, but they're happy they can still go along for the ride.
"Every day is like a gift," Squyres told SPACE.com.
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