This 3 mile high mountain is also known as Aeolis Mons and is in between Gale Crater. It preserves a wider stretch of the geology of the Red Planet as compared to any probe that has analyzed previously. The rock layers of this Murray Formation, near the current location of the rover have a thickness of over 600 feet, said Katie Stack, the mission scientist.
She further stated that “We potentially have millions to tens of millions of years of Martian history just waiting for us to explore,” she told reporters during a NASA teleconference.”
For over an year after it landed in the month of August 2012, Curiosity was on an extended detour to a geologically intriguing area in opposite direction from Mount Sharp. Its nickname is Yellowknife Bay. It was found out by the scientists that in ancient times, this area was a lakebed and had the capability to sustain life as we know it on Earth.
John Grotzinger, the Caltech geologist, who is the principal investigator for $2.5 billion Curiosity mission, stated that the detour was worth the trouble. Now, the main scientific investigation can start, he stated.
Curiosity was built for characterizing environments on Mars that were potentially habitable in ancient times, for documenting the changes in the planet from a warmer, wetter world to a dry, cold realm and for seeking out organic carbon molecules. Over the coming months, Mount Sharp’s layers of rock would be analyzed.
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