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This image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows the first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover's drill.
First Curiosity Drilling Sample in the Scoop

#1 A Suitable Home for Life: The Curiosity rover finds ancient Mars could have the right chemistry to have supported living microbes. Curiosity finds sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon-- key ingredients necessary for life--in the powder sample drilled from "John Klein." The sample also reveals clay minerals and not too much salt, which suggests fresh, possibly drinkable water once flowed there.

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This discovery helps meets the following goals and objectives:

Mars Exploration Program: Goal 1, 2 & 3

Mission Objectives: 2, 4 & 5




NASA's Curiosity rover found evidence for an ancient, flowing stream on Mars at a few sites, including the rock outcrop pictured here, which the science team has named
Remnants of Ancient Streambed on Mars

#2 Curiosity Finds Evidence of An Ancient Streambed: The rocks found by Curiosity are smooth and rounded and likely rolled downstream for at least a few miles. They look like a broken sidewalk, but they are actually exposed bedrock made of smaller fragments cemented together, or what geologists call a sedimentary conglomerate. They tell a story of a steady stream of flowing water about knee deep.

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This discovery helps meets the following goals and objectives:

Mars Exploration Program: Goal 1, 2 & 3

Mission Objectives: 2, 4 & 5

References: Williams, R.M.E. et al., Martian fluvial conglomerates at Gale Crater, Science, 340(6136):1068-1072, doi:10.1126/science.1237317, 2013.



This image shows a backward-looking view of an astronaut in a white spacesuit hiking over reddish sand and rocks on Mars. A gray plume of smoke rises from a fumarole behind the astronaut.
Prepare for human exploration

#3 Radiation Could Pose Health Risks for Humans: During her trip to Mars, Curiosity experienced radiation levels exceeding NASA's career limit for astronauts. Two forms of radiation pose potential health risks to astronauts in deep space. One is galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), particles caused by supernova explosions and other high-energy events outside the solar system. The other is solar energetic particles (SEPs) associated with solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun. NASA will use Curiosity's data to design missions to be safe for human explorers.

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This discovery helps meets the following goals and objectives:

Mars Exploration Program: Goal 4

Mission Objectives: 8

References: Zeitlin, C., et al., Measurements of Energetic Particle Radiation in Transit to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory, Science, 340(6136):1080-1084, doi:10.1126/science.1235989, 2013.



This image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows the first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover's drill.
First Curiosity Drilling Sample in the Scoop

#4 The Lack of Methane So Far: Since touching down on Mars, Curiosity has been looking to find out what happened to the thin Martian atmosphere. Curiosity sniffed the Martian air and found no methane present. Given that living organism produce methane, scientists were keen to see if they could find this on Mars but the search continues!

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This discovery helps meets the following goals and objectives:

Mars Exploration Program: Goal 1, 2 & 3

Mission Objectives: 2, 4 & 5




This panorama is a mosaic of images taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on the NASA Mars rover Curiosity while the rover was working at a site called
Panoramic View From 'Rocknest' Position of Curiosity Mars Rover

#5 The Diversity of Environments Near the Landing Area: Scientists did not expect the richness and diversity of soil and rock types at Gale Crater. Curiosity has found gravels, streambed deposits, a possible volcanic rock, water-transported sand dunes, mudstones, and cracks willed with mineral veins. All of these are clues to Mars' watery past.

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This discovery helps meets the following goals and objectives:

Mars Exploration Program: Goal 1, 2 & 3

Mission Objectives: 2, 4 & 5

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