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Mars rover finds evidence of 'vigorous' stream

Published on Sep 28, 2012 5:54 AM
A rock outcrop called Link pops out from a Martian surface in this National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) handout image taken by the 100mm Mast Camera on Nasa's Curiosity Mars rover Sept 2, 2012 and released on Sept 27, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (Nasa) Curiosity rover, on Mars since Aug 6, has discovered gravel once carried by the waters of an ancient stream that "ran vigorously" through the area, the United States space agency said on Thursday.

Scientists had previously found other evidence of the one-time presence of water on the Red Planet, but this is the first time stream bed gravels have been discovered.

The rocky outcrop, called Hottah, looks "like someone jack-hammered up a slab of city sidewalk, but it's really a tilted block of an ancient stream bed," project scientist John Grotzinger said in a statement.

Curiosity also investigated a second outcrop, called Link. The pictures transmitted by Curiosity show the pebbles have been cemented into layers of conglomerate rock at a site between the north rim of the Gale Crater and the base of Mount Sharp, where Curiosity is heading.

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