Inspenet, October 23, 2023.
After an exhaustive search spanning three years, NASA finally managed to locate the object of its search, the Gediz Vallis Ridge on Mars . Ashwin Vasavada, a member of the science team operating the Curiosity rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, expressed his excitement at having successfully reached this rugged ridge after a long period of efforts.
NASA’s interest in the Gediz Vallis ridge
The ridge is of particular interest because it contains rocks that originated in elevated areas of Mount Sharp, places previously inaccessible to the rover in its previous state.
According to NASA, 3 billion years ago, during one of the last wet periods on Mars, a huge mountain experienced massive landslides that carried mud and rocks, generating a series of wind-eroded deposits that eventually transformed into the impressive ridge of Gediz Vallis.
After several unsuccessful attempts due to obstacles such as rocks and steep slopes, Curiosity finally managed to reach the Gediz Vallis ridge and make an impressive 360-degree panoramic mosaic that captured this formation. This achievement became one of the most difficult challenges of the entire mission.
Once on the ridge, the rover has the ability to use its 2-meter robotic arm to carry out a more detailed analysis. Additionally, during its journey around the base of Mount Sharp since 2014, the rover has discovered evidence of ancient lakes and streams along its path, offering new clues about the evolution of the local landscape.
Curiosity’s arrival at the Gediz Vallis Ridge also provides scientists with the opportunity to closely examine the eroded remains of a geological feature called a debris flow fan. As scientists continue to analyze the images and data collected on this long-awaited ridge, the rover is heading towards finding a route that will take it to the channel in Gediz Vallis, with the aim of acquiring more information about how and where the water flowed. water on Mount Sharp, which rises to an astonishing altitude of 5000 meters.