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Mars pebbles prove water history

The valleys, channels and deltas viewed from orbit have long been thought to be the work of water erosion, but it is Nasa's latest rover, Curiosity, that has provided the "ground truth".
Researchers report its observations of rounded pebbles on the floor of the Red planet's 150km-wide Gale Crater.
Their smooth appearance is identical to gravels found in rivers on Earth.

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NASA Rover Finds Old Streambed On Martian Surface

NASA's Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence - images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels - is the first of its kind.
Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate rock. The sizes and shapes of stones offer clues to the speed and distance of a long-ago stream's flow.

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Probable landing site of the Curiosity rover.

Google earth file: FILE (1kb, kmz)



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Mars Express marks the spot for Curiosity landing

Gale_Crater_3d1_L.jpg

Much like a treasure map branded with an 'X' to mark the site of buried bounty, NASA's rover Curiosity will be targeting its very own 'X' inside Gale Crater, to seek out the signs of past water - and maybe even life - on the Red Planet.
The central mound - known as Aeolis Mons - rises 5.5 km above the crater floor and is the prime destination of Curiosity.

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Title: Growth and form of the mound in Gale Crater, Mars: Slope-wind enhanced erosion and transport
Authors: Edwin S. Kite, Kevin W. Lewis

Gale crater, the landing site of the Curiosity Mars rover, hosts a 5 kilometre high layered mound of uncertain origin which may represent an important archive of the planet's past climate. Although widely considered to be an erosional remnant of a once crater-filling unit, we combine structural measurements and a new model of formation to show how this mound may have grown in place near the center of the crater under the influence of topographic slope-induced winds. This mechanism implicates airfall-dominated deposition with a limited role for lacustrine or fluvial activity in the formation of the Gale mound, and is not favourable for the preservation of organic carbon. Slope-wind enhanced erosion and transport is widely applicable to a range of similar sedimentary mounds found across the Martian surface.

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  'Mount Sharp' on Mars Links Geology's Past and Future

One particular mountain on Mars, bigger than Colorado's grandest, has been beckoning would-be explorers since it was first sighted from orbit in the 1970s. Scientists have ideas about how it took shape in the middle of ancient Gale Crater and hopes for what evidence it could yield about whether conditions on Mars have favored life.
No mission to Mars dared approach it, though, until NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which this August will attempt to place its one-ton rover, Curiosity, at the foot of the mountain. The moat of flatter ground between the mountain and the crater rim encircling it makes too small a touchdown target to have been considered safe without precision-landing innovations used by this mission.
To focus discussions about how Curiosity will explore the mountain during a two-year prime mission after landing, the mission's international Project Science Group has decided to call it Mount Sharp.

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EdMount Sharp Aeolis Mons



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Geologist advises on Mars landing site

Based partly on the advice of a UC Davis geologist, the next Mars rover, Curiousity, will land in Gale crater near the Martian equator. The landing site was announced today (July 22) at a press conference at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
The site was selected based on the "reachable science" nearby, said Dawn Sumner, professor of geology at UC Davis and co-chair of the landing site working group for the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

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Mars Science Laboratory Landing Site: Gale crater



Soar over the crater on Mars that will be the landing site for NASA's Curiosity rover.



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Next Mars rover will climb a mountain

It's official: The next Mars rover will explore a 5-kilometre-high mountain of sediment inside a crater called Gale, NASA announced today.
The Curiosity rover is scheduled to launch between 25 November and 18 December. It will examine Martian rocks and soil to learn about the history of the planet's climate and to look for chemical traces of life.

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Scientists recommend destination for roving science laboratory 'Curiosity'.

Gale Crater, a 150-kilometre wide depression named after an Australian banker-turned-amateur astronomer, has emerged as the preferred destination for the next spacecraft to set wheels on Mars.
The proposed landing site, which includes a tantalizing 5-kilometre-high mound of ancient sediments, may have once been flooded by water.

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