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September 29 2012

Why do we think Curiosity found an old Mars riverbed?


The Curiosity rover team announced yesterday that they'd found the mission's first potentially habitable environment on Mars: an ancient river bed. But why do they think flowing water created the formation?

What exactly did the rover find?

Curiosity's telephoto camera snapped shots of three rocky outcrops not far from the rover's landing site inside Gale Crater. One of them, called "Goulburn", had been excavated by the rover's own landing gear. The other two were natural outcrops dubbed "Link" and "Hottah". All three, and Hottah in particular, were made of thin layers of rock that had been cemented together.

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