Today's Image of Mars comes from Mars Science Laboratory and shows Mount Sharp, the 5.5km high central uplift of Gale Crater. MSL will be studying Mount Sharp as it attempts to determine whether Mars once did, or still does have the building blocks for life.
|Click to see the high res image from MSL Curiosity|
Mount Sharp's base is thought to be at least 2 billion years old and it is contains numerous layers of clays and sulfates, two materials that are only known to form in the presence of water. The layers directly on top of those are comprised primarily of sulfates, with very few clays, which implies that they were formed in an environment where Mars was becoming drier and water was evaporating.
By studying these layers scientists can verify that Gale Crater once contained a lake of water. They will also give us insight as to the time frame the water begin disappearing from the surface of Mars! There is so much that MSL will learn from examining Mount Sharp; what it will find only time will tell!