After scientists analyzed sediments collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover they revealed the presence of a freshwater lake which could have existed for over tens of thousands of years.
The lake is believed to have been located in Gale Crater, the rover’s landing point in August last year. The presence of a freshwater lake raises the possibility of there being life on the planet.
“We’ve come to appreciate that is a habitable system of environments that includes the lake, the associated streams and, at times when the lake was dry, the groundwater,” said geologist John Grotzinger.
Scientists believe the lake was capable of supporting rock-eating microbes called chemolithoautotrohps which are also commonly found on Earth.
According to previous collections and research Mars is believed to be more Earth-like at some point in the past but more warm and wet. The surface of Mars is also testament to water being present, with visible riverbeds, deltas and deposits.
The Curiosity rover is now moving to Mount Sharp, a mound of rock in Gale Crater. Scientists are interested in collecting samples of organics from Mars and even if life did not naturally start on the planet, comets and asteroids might have brought organic material with them.
-Image courtesy: awards.t3.com