Long-running rover Opportunity has come across an area of water-formed clay minerals on Mars.
Opportunity has continued to exceed expectations, not least because it is still going after 8 years despite being designed to last only 90 days. Now it has discovered clay deposits that suggest the region it is in is a lot richer than scientists had believed. The clay minerals are significant because they suggest neutral water chemistry, indicating water clean enough to drink.
"If Opportunity can find a sample and give us a closer look, we should be able to determine how the rock was formed, such as in a deep lake, shallow pond or volcanic system," said planetary scientist James Wray.
"NASA's long-lived Mars rover Opportunity that beat newcomer sister probe Curiosity to an area containing water-formed clay minerals, has rolled into a region that may be far richer than scientists first realized."
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Source: Discovery News
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