December 29th, 2014 16:21 EST
Is Mount Sharp The Link that Proves Water Did or Does Exist on Mars?
"The existence of water or the possibility of the existence of water on Mars has been a challenge for Scientists to prove; the premise of this challenge has become the same principal as playing a school yard game of Hide and Seek." (Anselm, R.)
Scientists would probably rather play a game of Hide and Seek with a room full of kids at daycare than to try to dissect every possibility of trying to prove that water did once actually exist on the Red Planet. The challenge of forming an accurate hypothesis about the existence of water on Mars to scientists is probably the same feeling has trying to watch your favorite sitcoms or Soap Operas on television but someone else has the remote control and they keep switching channels. You really don`t have control and you are at the mercy of some other source to get you what you want. In this case the clues to prove water did actually exist on Mars.
NASA`S Curiosity Rover recently discovered many clues of how water helped shape the Martian landscape. One of the main landmarks on the Martian landscape known as Mount Sharp is proven to have been built on many sediment deposits in a large lake bed over many millions of years. This discovery also proves to scientists that the climate on Mars was favorable for producing long-lasting lakes in around many locations on Mars landscape.
Ashwin Vasavada who is Curiosity`s Deputy Project scientist commented, "If our hypothesis for Mount Sharp holds up, it challenges the notion that warm and wet conditions were transient, local, or only underground on Mars. A more radical explanation is that Mars` ancient, thicker atmosphere raised temperatures above freezing globally, but so far we don`t know how the atmosphere did that." (Vasavada, A.)
One of the main mysteries that researchers are trying to answer is why this large and very layered mountain sits in a crater. Project scientist, John Grotzinger commented on this, "We are making headway in solving the mystery of Mount Sharp. Where there`s now a mountain, there may have once been a series of lakes." (Grotzinger, J.)
If scientists prove that Mount Sharp does actually sit on a spot where there once was a series of lakes then this will prove that water did actually exist or may even still exist on Mars. The reason in my opinion the research is so hot and heavy on proving water did or does exist on Mars is I believe that scientist are trying to find another planet that we (humans) could adapt to and live on in the future if need be and the planet would have to have the same adaptability as Earth for us to be able to survive on. If there is the existence of water then the existence of many biological elements and other needed beings will also exist and would make that planet livable for us.
Grotzinger went on to say, "The great thing about a lake that occurs repeatedly, over and over, is that each time it comes back it is another experiment to tell you how the environment works. As Curiosity climbs higher on Mount Sharp, we will have a series of experiments to show patterns in how the atmosphere and the water and the sediments interact. We may see how the chemistry changed in the lakes over time. This is a hypothesis supported by what we have observed so far, providing a framework for testing in the coming year." (Grotzinger, J.)
Scientists are studying the events of how Mount Sharp was formed over millions of years and have speculated that after the crater that Mount Sharp currently sit in filled with water a few hundred feet deep or so that at that time; the sediments hardened into rock and the accumulations of sediments were sculpted over time into a mountainous shape by wind erosion that carved away the material between the crater perimeter and what is now the edge of the mountain.
Sanjeev Gupta of Imperial College in London commented on this, "We found sedimentary rocks suggestive of small, ancient deltas stacked on top of one another. Curiosity crossed a boundary from an environment dominated by rivers to an environment dominated by lakes." (Gupta, S.)
So, over time the mountain was formed and shaped one layer at a time. The study and ongoing research about the mystery of Mount Sharp should prove to give scientists a vital clue about the possibility, past and present of the existence of water on the Red Planet.
NASA`s Curiosity Rover Finds Clues to How Water Helped Shape Martian Landscape, (http://www.nasa.gov/msl). Retrieved 2014.
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