Scientists Say NASA's Mars Rover Is on the Site of Ancient Ponds, Not a Huge Lake

Is the Gale crater an old lake or a series small ponds?Hypothesis of LakeNASA's Curiosity Rover has been roaming the Gale crater since 2012. It is a huge basin measuring almost 100 miles across with Mount Sharp sticking out at its center.According to the dominant theory, the crater is an old, dry-up lake that may have once been home to life many years ago. This is why it was chosen for NASA's first mission.However, not everyone agrees with this conclusion. A team of international scientists is now denying the theory and threatening our understanding of the Red Planet's geological history.However, their theory is still fascinating. The researchers claim that the Gale crater once was just a series of ponds that were not full to the brim with enough water.AdvertisementAdvertisementThe team noted that although most of the Gale crater deposits were not formed in an ancient lake and provided valuable information on the ancient climate, environmental change and astrobiology of Mars. Curiosity's discoveries are a crucial piece of the puzzle about Mars global alteration.Weathering patternsAccording to the paper, the team looked at data Curiosity had collected about the basin's sedimentary structure and discovered that most evidence for fluid-rock interaction in materials examined by Curiosity is actually due to wind activity and land-based climate change.Joseph Michalskil, a co-author from the University of Hong Kong said that the pond was also much shallower than we thought. Many of the rocks that the team believes were not formed in water were probably the result of volcanic eruptions following the Gale crater's dry up.He said that there was probably a small lake, or more likely several small lakes, in the Gale crater floor. However, these were shallow ponds.AdvertisementAdvertisementMichalski said that Perseverance, the Jezero Crater Curriositiess cousin, landed in this lake earlier this year. He told that he believes the sediments would be different.READ MORE: An ancient lake in Marss Gale Crater may actually have been a small pond [New Scientist]Continue reading: NASA Rover Discovers Ancient Stone Arch on Martian Surface