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Mars Rover Finds Bed of Ancient Flowing Stream

posted Sep 28, 2012, 1:15 PM by M Stoltz   [ updated Sep 28, 2012, 1:15 PM ]
By Irene Klotz, Discovery News, 09.28.12

Scratch water off NASA's Mars rover Curiosity's list of things to find in a two-year quest to learn if the planet most like Earth in the solar system could have supported microbial life.

Less than two months after touching down inside a giant impact basin near the planet's equator, Curiosity has returned clear evidence of flowing water, scientists told reporters during a conference call Thursday.

The proof comes from analysis of pictures of a jagged slab of rock taken with a telephoto camera on the rover's mast.

The rock, which resembles a jackhammered chunk of broken sidewalk, is flecked with rounded pieces of gravel -- too big to have been carried by Martian winds.

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[Image: NASA/JPL]