Mars rover finds more evidence of water

Dec. 8, 2011 at 1:39 PM   |   Comments

| License Photo
PASADENA, Calif., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Opportunity Mars rover has found powerful evidence of liquid water activity on the planet's surface, NASA says.

The rover has found and photographed bright veins of a mineral, apparently gypsum deposited by water, evidence of a past wet environment on Mars, a NASA release said Thursday.

"This tells a slam-dunk story that water flowed through underground fractures in the rock," Steve Squyres of Cornell University said.

"This stuff is a fairly pure chemical deposit that formed in place right where we see it," said Squyres, principal investigator for Opportunity.

"That can't be said for other gypsum seen on Mars or for other water-related minerals Opportunity has found. It's not uncommon on Earth, but on Mars, it's the kind of thing that makes geologists jump out of their chairs."

The vein of gypsum, or calcium sulphate, is about the width of a human thumb and 16 to 20 inches long, protruding slightly from the bedrock on either side of it.

"To me, this is the single most powerful piece of evidence for liquid water at Mars that has been discovered by the Opportunity rover," Squyres said.

"This stuff formed right here. There was a fracture in the rock, water flowed through it, gypsum was precipitated from the water. End of story. There's no ambiguity."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
Mars rover spots rock shaped like thigh bone
Parched land in the drought-riddled West is actually rising
Birds lost their sweet tooth, hummingbirds got it back
NEC touts its fingerprint technology
Tech industry All Stars developing 'Star Trek'-style communication badges
Trending News