IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

 Data from Curiosity rover hints at ancient megaflood in Mars: study

23rd November, 2020 Science and Technology

Context: The most likely cause of the Mars flooding was the melting of ice from heat generated by a large impact, which released carbon dioxide and methane from the planet’s frozen reservoirs.

  • Giant flash floods once washed through Gale Crater on Mars’ equator around four billion years ago.
  • These floods of “unimaginable magnitude” set up gigantic ripples that are tell-tale geologic structures familiar on the Earth.

Curiosity rover

  • Curiosity is a car-sized Mars rover designed to explore the Gale crater on Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission.
  • The rover's goals include an investigation of the Martian climate and geology, assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life (including investigation of the role of water), and planetary habitability studies in preparation for human exploration.
  • Curiosity's rover design serves as the basis for NASA's 2021 Perseverance mission which carries different scientific instruments.