Curiosity rover might scout for water on Mars

Image: Curiosity selfie
This selfie of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at a drilled sample site called “Okoruso,” on the Naukluft Plateau of lower Mount Sharp. The scene combines several images taken with the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager on May 11. (Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS)

NASA says one of the Curiosity rover’s future tasks could be to check out sites on Mars that may harbor trickles of salty water.

It’s been nearly four years since Curiosity was dropped into Gale Crater by a rocket-powered crane. Since that touchdown, the six-wheeled, 1-ton robot has foundample evidence that water once flowed through the territory it has explored.

Curiosity is now making its way up the side of Mount Sharp (a.k.a. Aeolis Mons), a 3-mile-high mountain in the middle of Gale Crater – and it’s making further discoveries along the way.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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