Following its groundbreaking cloud-imaging mission last month, NASA’s Curiosity rover continues to astound scientists with captivating observations, including the recent discovery of a hardcover-shaped feature on April 15, marking the mission’s 3,800th Martian day (or sol). Geologists, akin to meticulous librarians, carefully examine the evidence surrounding them to unravel the mysteries of Mars’ past. NASA officials suggest that the distinctive shape of rocks like this one is typically attributed to water flowing through the region billions of years ago, during a time when the Red Planet boasted a significantly wetter environment.

What did JPL reveal about the discovery regarding wind erosion?

The world is now considerably drier and windier. “After eons of being sand-blasted by the wind, softer rock is carved away, and the harder materials are all that’s left,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, which manages Curiosity’s mission, revealed of the discovery on Thursday (May 11).

J. Paul Getty Museum:

While writing is supposed to have started in ancient Sumer (near the modern-day Persian Gulf) some 5,400 years ago, the manner in which humans record information is numerous, according to the J. Paul Getty Museum. 

What is the argument presented by the 2023 study regarding the “dots” in a cave picture?

One 2023 study argues that the “dots” in a cave picture could be a kind of writing from 20,000 years ago, while the conclusion is debatable. Modern forms of writing have been placed on rock walls, clay tablets, and scrolls, to name a few reading styles. 

British Library:

According to the British Library, what we now term “books” began with codices, initially as wax tablets and subsequently as parchment in the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian areas. Dating is difficult, but the format has been quite common in Greco-Roman times, if not before.

According to JPL, Curiosity has been exploring Mars’ Gale Crater since August 2012, with critical results in science papers including the discovery of persistent liquid water on ancient Mars, potential evidence of old life through organics, and examinations of radiation at the surface.

What is the purpose of the Perseverance mission on Mars?

Perseverance, a successor mission, is working in the Jezero Crater area of Mars, caching tubes (or lightsabers) of samples for future return to Earth. The sample return effort is scheduled to pick up with the launch of a relay spacecraft and a handful of mini-helicopters in the late 2020s.

The veteran rover captured a spectacular sunset at the beginning of a new cloud-imaging mission. NASA’s Curiosity rover captured exceptional Martian clouds and sunset last month. Martian sunsets are based on a particular gloom. As the Sun fell below the horizon on February 2, bright rays highlighted a cloud bank. These “sun beams” are crepuscular, Latin for “twilight.” This was Mars’ first intense sun ray observation.

The picture was photographed by Curiosity during the rover’s latest twilight cloud study, which expands on the 2021 observations of noctilucent, or night-shining, clouds. Most Martian clouds are water ice and float no higher than 60 kilometres (37 miles). But, the clouds depicted in the most recent photographs appear to be located at a higher altitude, where it is freezing. This indicates that these clouds are dry or carbon dioxide ice.

Like on Earth, clouds help scientists better understand complicated but essential information about the weather. Scientists can learn more about the Martian atmosphere’s composition, temperatures, and winds by observing when and where clouds form.

Compared to the previous surveys:

Compared to the 2021 cloud survey, which focused on capturing images of clouds using Curiosity’s black-and-white navigation cameras, the ongoing survey that began in January and will conclude in mid-March predominantly employs the rover’s color Mast Camera or Mastcam. Scientists can follow cloud particle growth and better comprehend cloud structure as they travel.

On January 27, in addition to capturing an image of sun rays, Curiosity captured a series of colorful clouds shaped like a feather. Some types of clouds, when hit by sunlight, produce a rainbow-like effect known as iridescence.

Martian clouds observed in stunning color
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mark Lemmon, Boulder’s Space Science Institute atmospheric scientist said: “Where we see iridescence, it means a cloud’s particle sizes are identical to their neighbors in each part of the cloud,” Moreover, he said: “By looking at color transitions, we’re seeing particle size changing across the cloud. That tells us about the way the cloud is evolving and how its particles are changing size over time.”

Curiosity sent Earth 28 images of sunbeams and colorful clouds. Edited photos emphasize highlights.


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Spotting rippled rock textures on Mars means something big! There is a possibility that lakes do exist in an area of ancient Mars. Scientists thought there might not be any lakes on Mars left with water. But with this mission, the research team was able to discover Mars’ watery past clues.  The research team thought they’d seen the last evidence of lakes covering this region of Mars when NASA’s Curiosity rover reached the “sulfate-bearing unit” last fall. This is due to the fact that the rock layers here formed in drier environments than the regions known earlier in the mission. Sulfates, or salty minerals, are thought to have been left behind when the area’s water dried to a trickle.

When Curiosity’s team found the mission’s most evident proof then they were taken aback. Ancient water ripples formed within lakes on the surface of a shallow lake stirred up residue billions of years ago.

“Ashwin Vasavada” is Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. He says, “This is the best evidence of water and waves that we’ve seen in the entire mission,”. Moreover, he says: “We climbed through thousands of feet of lake deposits and never saw evidence like this – and now we found it in a place we expected to be dry.”

Layers of History!

Curiosity has been climbing the 3-mile-high (5-kilometer-high) mountain since 2014. Mount Sharp was once polluted with lakes and streams that would have provided a rich environment for microbial life if any ever existed on Mars.


In Mount Sharp, the oldest layers are at the bottom and the youngest layers are at the top. The rover continues to climb up and moves along a Martian timeline. This is allowing scientists to study how Mars evolved from a more Earth-like planet. With a warmer climate and abundant water in its ancient past to the freezing desert it is today.

In search of Mars’ watery past, Curiosity found these rock textures kept nearly a half-mile above the mountain’s base in what’s known as the “Marker Band”. It is a thin layer of dark rock that stands out from the rest of Mount Sharp. Despite several attempts, Curiosity has not been able to drill a sample from this rock layer. Curiosity had to try three times before finding a soft enough spot to drill on “Vera Rubin Ridge” lower down the mountain.

In the coming week, scientists will be looking for softer rock. Even if they have yet to get a sample from this unusual strip of rock, they have other locations in mind.

Martian Clues!

Scientists can see another clue to the history of Mars’ ancient water in a valley called Gediz Vallis, which is far ahead of the Marker Band. The valley was carved by wind, but a channel runs through it. And begins higher up on Mount Sharp is thought to have been eroded by a small river. Scientists believe wet landslides occurred here as well, sending car-sized boulders and debris to the valley floor.

It’s obvious that the debris pile at the top of Mount Sharp is one of the more recent features. This is because it rests on top of all the other layers in the valley. Last year, Curiosity saw this debris twice at Gediz Vallis Ridge. However, it could only observe it distantly. Later this year, the rover team hopes to have another opportunity to see it.

The Marker band has captured the team’s interest in a peculiar rock texture. This was probably brought on by some kind of cyclical pattern in the climate or weather, like dust storms. Rocks with layers that are uniform in their thickness and spacing are nearby the rippling textures. This type of rhythmic pattern in Earth’s rock layers frequently results from atmospheric phenomena that take place at regular intervals. It’s conceivable that similar processes led to the rhythmic patterns in these Martian rocks, suggesting that the planet’s ancient temperature may have changed.

The Curiosity’s project scientist Ashwin Vasavada says: “The wave ripples, debris flows, and rhythmic layers all tell us that the story of wet-to-dry on Mars wasn’t simple,” Moreover, he says about Mars’ watery past. “Mars’ ancient climate had a wonderful complexity to it, much like Earth’s.”

Mars watery past clues


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Cacao, an iron-nickel space rock, is about 1 foot (0.3 meters) wide. Another metallic meteorite on Mars has been discovered by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

On February 2, Curiosity team members on Tweets. The team describes the structure meteorite and announced its name in the tweet. According to the tweet Cacao is about 1 foot (0.3 meters) wide. It consists primarily of iron and nickel.

When did Curiosity go to Mars?

In August 2012, the car-sized rover “Curiosity” landed on Mars’ 96-mile-wide (154-kilometer) Gale Crater, on a mission to determine whether the area could have supported Earth-like life long ago.

Curiosity research and findings have helped the research team to answer a lot of questions. One of which is demonstrating that Gale once hosted a potentially habitable lake-and-stream system. Furthermore, this watershed likely lasted for millions of years, possibly allowing time for the emergence of Martian microbes. Curiosity also finds a metallic meteorite on Mars.

The rover is not specifically looking for evidence of past or present microbial life on Mars. However, Curiosity’s cousin Perseverance, which landed in a different Mars crater in February 2021, is searching for life and collecting dozens of samples for future return to Earth.

What is the current status of the Curiosity rover?

Curiosity has been climbing the flanks of Mount Sharp, a massive massif that rises about 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) into the sky from Gale’s center, since September 2014.

The rover recently reached sulfate-rich veins that started in fairly dry situations, marking a significant breakthrough on this journey.

Curiosity has been observing specific rocks and the metallic meteorite on Mars. These observations may improve scientists’ understanding of Gale Crater and Mars. They aim to learn when and how Mars transformed from a warm and wet environment to a freezing desert. This information is provided by members of the Curiosity mission team.

According to the report, Curiosity has so far driven 18.31 miles (29.47 km) on Mars. Several other metallic meteorites have been discovered by the car-size rover during its grand space journey, as the research team noted in several other photo-filled tweets on Thursday.

Tweets on metallic meteorite on Mars!

Along with a photo of the Curiosity team wrote on Twitter: “We’re calling it ‘Cacao,’ “.

Thursday’s Tweet says: “Here’s another meteorite I found in 2016. It’s called ‘Egg Rock,’ aka the golf ball,” Another Thursday tweet reads: “And while my team calls this 7-foot-long meteorite ‘Lebanon,’ I call it THE BEAST,”

On May 2014 Curiosity discovered Lebanon or The Beast. However, NASA didn’t release images of the massive rock until July of that year. Curiosity discovered the Beast and two nearby stones as the first Metallic meteorite on Mars.


Published by: Sky Headlines