Robot discovered Curiosity of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently discovered the largest amount of clay minerals since the robot was put on Mars in August 2012.
Curiosity was launched on Mars from Earth in November 2011 and spent more than half a year net to land on the planet in August 2012. The Curiosity probe is equipped with 17 cameras, weighs about 900 kg and can reach a maximum speed of 3.8cm / sec. When operating on the surface of Mars, Curiosity undertakes the search for evidence of microorganisms while collecting data and images of Mars. The preparation for Curiosity’s mission lasts for two years and costs about $ 2 billion.
According to a new NASA announcement, two specimens that Curiosity found when drilling two rock targets were named Aberlady and Kilmarie. These specimens contained the highest amount of clay ever discovered in NASA’s mission. Both of these drilling goals were discovered when Curiosity took a new selfie on May 12. The area of high clay content is located on the side of the low area in Mount Sharp. This region was originally outside of NASA’s discovery trajectory before Curiosity was brought to Mars in 2012.
Apart from that, Curiosity is currently working on the discovery of Sharrp Mountain (5500 meters high) to see if the area has conditions to support life billions of years ago. Therefore, the new discovery plays an important role in this task because clay is often formed in water, an essential chemical compound for life. Curiosity’s mineralogical analysis tool, CheMin, brought to Earth the first analysis of the drilling samples in the area of much clay.
In addition, during this drill and analysis, Curiosity uses a black and white navigation camera to capture clouds drifting on May 7 and May 12. These clouds may be ice clouds (containing water), about 31km from the Martian surface.