(CNN) – Mars was a hot and humid planet that would have been able to support life billions of years ago. Something caused the planet to lose its atmosphere and become the harsh frozen desert it is today.
The Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012, has been exploring various aspects of Gale Crater on Mars to understand more about it. Transition from hot to humid Very dry and cold.
The latest study, compiled from data captured by one of the rover’s instruments, indicates that Mars actually moved between wetter and drier times before completely losing surface water around 3 billion years ago.
Hitchhiker Curiosity of The nearly 5-kilometer-high Mount Sharp, which is located in the center of Gale Crater, has been continuously climbing since 2014.
There is a device called the ChemCam on the rover mast and includes a high-resolution camera and a laser that can vaporize rocks to help the rover analyze its chemical composition. ChemCam has an infrared color laser that can heat chunks of rock to 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit (about 10,000 degrees Celsius). This leads to vaporization of the rocks and the creation of plasma, allowing scientists to look primarily at the minerals and chemicals that make up the rocks and look at the geological history of the planet.
A ChemCam camera was used to capture observations of the terrain on Mount Sharp, revealing slices of Mars’ past as rocks differed.
He studied the history of Mars
Mount Sharp is an interesting feature of Mars because it is one of the best ways in which the Red Planet recorded the history of its climate, water, and sediments.
The main goal of the Curiosity mission was to study the transition between the habitable environment of the past and the cold and dry climate that Mars now enjoys. These rock layers recorded this change in great detail, ” Roger Wiens, co-author of the research and scientist for the ChemCam team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said in a statement.
The study was published last week in the journal Geology.
Orbits around Mars previously recorded information about minerals in the slopes of Mount Sharp. Curiosity data provided more detailed observations of sedimentary rock layers and revealed periods of drought and humidity in the planet’s past.
Curiosity discovers major changes in the planet’s layers
With the rise of Curiosity to Mount Sharp, the classes changed drastically.
The base of Mount Sharp is made of mud deposited by the lake that once filled the crater. At the top are layers of sandstone that still have evidence of how sand dunes form in the form of a wind during times of drought. Layers above this reveal more floodplain deposits, indicating a return to humid conditions on Mars.
Observations of curiosity reveal that these changes between wet and dry seasons were large-scale events that alternated until the planet became permanently dry. The climatic history of Mount Sharpe allowed the Curiosity to focus on a time spanning from 2.9 billion to 3.7 billion years ago.
As the rover continues its mission, Curiosity will continue to climb the slopes of Mount Sharp and use its drill bit to further explore the types of rocks and what they reveal. This can provide more information on the cause of these extreme fluctuations in the weather.