NASA Curiosity rover spots signs of ‘unimaginable’ Mars megafloods


This image is a composite false-color view of Mount Sharp in the Gale Crater on Mars. The blue sky is rendered to resemble Earth to help highlight the stratification layers in the landscape.


NASA Curiosity rover’s home-away-from-home in the Gale Crater on Mars seems like a fairly chill place. It’s a bit windy and dusty, but it’s dry and the rocky landscape is settled and calm. It wasn’t always like that. Scientists have found evidence of brutal megafloods from deep in the crater’s past.

Mars’ wet history has been coming into greater focus in recent years. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports this month gives us our first identification of megafloods thanks to on-the-ground observations made by Curiosity. 

“Deposits left behind by megafloods had not been previously identified with orbiter data,” said co-author and astrobiologist Alberto G. Fairén in a Cornell University statement last week.

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