NASA's Opportunity and Curiosity rovers agree on water

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  • Published: Jan 24, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Atomic / Chemometrics & Informatics / Base Peak / MRI Spectroscopy / X-ray Spectrometry / NMR Knowledge Base / Infrared Spectroscopy / Raman / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Proteomics

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The Curiosity and Opportunity rovers on Mars have both found evidence that water was once on the surface of the planet. This is one of the observations in a series of papers published in a special collection in Science. Landing about eleven years or so apart, both vehicles have been travelling across Mars testing the rocks and dust with the raft of instruments on board and they have provided incontrovertible proof to NASA scientists of the past presence of water. This does not mean that life was once present too, only that the conditions for life were favourable.

The Science feature includes several new reports on the aqueous environment and habitability of the planet as well as gathering together past papers on its the geology and atmosphere. Some of these results are all the more remarkable when you remember that the original Opportunity mission was scheduled for just 3 months - it has just celebrated its 10th anniversary on Mars.

"The more we explore Mars, the more interesting it becomes. These latest findings present yet another kind of gift that just happens to coincide with Opportunity's 10th anniversary on Mars," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. "We're finding more places where Mars reveals a warmer and wetter planet in its history. This gives us greater incentive to continue seeking evidence of past life on Mars."

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