A region of Mars formed by water - Mars Exploration Rover

United States - According to the latest discoveries of the expedition to Mars NASA, Mars Exploration Rover, ancient sand dunes concealed a network of groundwater.

In 2004, the robot explorer Opportunity has identified minerals and rocks showing the presence of old groundwater in the Endurance crater. The robot has now found evidence similar to water in the Victoria Crater, 6 km away. Opportunity has also observed a unique layers of rock on the slopes of Victoria Crater, which appear to be solidified remnants of ancient sand dunes.

According to the project leader Steven Squyres of Cornell University in New York State, the findings confirm the assumption that water would have largely shaped the Martian landscape. "Given that we observed the same thing in places very distant from each other, it is reasonable to assume that this process has affected the whole region" he says.

It was about to send Opportunity into Victoria Crater since 2006, but the decision was not easy. Indeed, the steep slopes leading to the crater could damage the steering system or the wheels of the robot. The directors of the mission were afraid qu'Opportunity can never emerge from the crater.

But it was worth it because the robot was hoisted out of the crater in August and headed to Endeavor, a larger crater located at 13.5 km. "We could never have learned all this without going into the Victoria crater," Squyres said.

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