The news and discoveries related to water on Mars just keep flowing! Shortly after NASA’s exploration of the red planet recently confirmed that water in liquid form still exists, new data has suggested that there once may have been enough to support life. NASA‘s Curiosity rover has been studying the Gale crater, discovering evidence that it was once the site of a lake-like body of water, and for a long period as well.
The importance of all this news lately around water on Mars is significant because it hints at what the planet’s environment and atmosphere may have once been like. If it turns out there may have once been large amounts of water, existing for long periods without freezing, it directly leads to the question of whether or not life could have survived on the planet.
At the Gale crater, Curiosity has been studying the area’s sedimentary rock, finding that fine-grained sandstone at the bottom, combined with its depth, suggests that there was a large body of water for an extended period. This differs from the previous theories about water on Mars originating from under the surface and slowly making its way up.
This is still a long ways from the confirmation that Mars once hosted life, but the possibility is certainly growing larger. As the Curiosity team put it, this latest evidence hints at a “tantalizing possibility that extraterrestrial life might exist or have been preserved, because the evidence of water is so plentiful.”