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Published on Dec 13, 2016
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover continues to investigate higher and younger strata on the central mountain of Gale Crater, adding information about water-rich ancient environments in this part of Mars. Since reaching the base of the mountain two years ago, the rover has examined more than half the vertical extent of a 180-meter-thick geological formation that provides a record of long-lived lake and groundwater environments. Analysis of rock composition at multiple sites is providing new evidence about how the environmental conditions evolved over time, including factors favorable for life, if it ever was present. Some ingredients may foreshadow what the mission will find at planned destinations farther up the mountain. Participants: Joy Crisp, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.; Thomas Bristow, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, U.S.A.; Patrick Gasda, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A.; John Grotzinger, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.