Ancient Martian streambed reveals similarities with those on Earth

Posted by er134 at May 31, 2013 11:30 AM |
Leicester scientist contributed to a new report showing how rocks examined by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity reveal details of an ancient Martian stream
Ancient Martian streambed reveals similarities with those on Earth

Remnants of Ancient Streambed on Mars (White-Balanced View) Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Dr John Bridges, of the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre within the Department of Physics and Astronomy has helped reveal the first ever rocks found on Mars that contain streambed gravels.

Researchers were able to calculate the depth and speed of the water that once flowed at this location from the sizes and shapes of the gravels found embedded in conglomerate rocks uncovered by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover.

Dr Bridges is one of two UK Participating Scientists on the mission, and leads a team from the University of Leicester, the Open University and CNRS France.

He gathered data from images to characterise the size and shape of the rock fragments in the conglomerate - which provided data allowing the wider team to accurately compare the samples with examples on Earth.

A report about their findings was published in the journal Science this week.