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Mars rover finds rich clay deposits

Posted on Monday, 24 December, 2012 | Comment icon 10 comments

Image credit: NASA

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."

  View: Full article

 Source: Discovery News

  Discuss: View comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by voidla on 24 December, 2012, 15:49
This is amazing news!
Comment icon #2 Posted by spud the mackem on 24 December, 2012, 16:50
Excellent,when we get there we can start a pottery business. Seriously this could be the find of Mars so far.
Comment icon #3 Posted by King Fluffs on 24 December, 2012, 16:54
I bet we will mine that planet soon...
Comment icon #4 Posted by 27vet on 24 December, 2012, 17:30
Send Curiosity there for further analysis!
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin on 24 December, 2012, 18:54
Yeah, too bad Curiousity wasn't there instead. Too far to travel though right now, as they're both exploring the area they're already in. Not even sure Curiosity could get out, being at the basement of a very large impact crater. Hopefuly Curiousity it will find a similar deposit to examine.
Comment icon #6 Posted by AsteroidX on 24 December, 2012, 18:56
Responsible expoloration. Even if they dont fly home we can pick them up someday with the proper technology. Great post.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Cosmic2012 on 24 December, 2012, 22:52
This is indeed a great find. One more notch for the water-on-Mars belt. Gale Crater was thought to be full of liquid water back several billion years ago, so hopefully Curiosity will have a similar find, or better Oh and of course, YAY Opportunity!
Comment icon #8 Posted by brlesq1 on 25 December, 2012, 9:49
Excellent! Can't wait to hear more!
Comment icon #9 Posted by Lava_Lady on 25 December, 2012, 17:46
Fascinating!!!! Next, we will find proof of life on Mars! It might just be microbial but that's okay!
Comment icon #10 Posted by highdesert50 on 26 December, 2012, 16:37
Would it be interesting if a high density of rare earth and otherwise extremely valuable elements were found ... bet that would expedite manned missions.

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