It still blows our minds a little to picture the car-sized Curiosity rover, millions of miles away from Earth, diligently exploring and performing robotic tasks. NASA’s engineers give it plenty of work to do, from chemical analysis to visual inspection. This week, Curiosity has been exploring Teal Ridge, an unusual group of rocks that is made up of dozens of sedimentary layers. Dubbed “Strathdon” by the Curiosity team, the rocks in question look to be formed from receding waters from an ancient lake.
Curiosity has been performing beautifully on Mars for the last seven years, sending back amazing photographs, including this great 360-degree view.
The Mars 2020 Rover will be launched next year, joining it’s robotic sibling for further exploration. Via Gizmodo:
“We’re seeing an evolution in the ancient lake environment recorded in these rocks,” said Caltech’s Valerie Fox, a co-lead investigator for Curiosity’s clay-unit campaign, in a NASA press release. “It wasn’t just a static lake. It’s helping us move from a simplistic view of Mars going from wet to dry. Instead of a linear process, the history of water was more complicated.”