© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Stony Brook Scientists: NASA Data Reveal Ancient Lake On Mars

Courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
An artist's concept portrays a NASA Mars Exploration Rover on the surface of Mars.

A study led by a Stony Brook University professor finds evidence of an ancient lake on Mars that could have supported life.
Professor Joel Hurowitz and 21 other scientists used pictures and data from NASA’s Curiosity rover to find a lake that existed in Mars’ Gale Crater over three billion years ago.

Hurowitz says the ancient lake provided diverse environments with different chemical make-ups.

“And this chemical separation that we found is really similar to what we see in lakes on Earth.”

The lake’s discovery can help scientists understand what types of habitats existed on Mars, but there is still no evidence as to whether or not life existed on the planet.

The finding comes as a part of Curiosity’s mission to traverse Mount Sharp and study the sedimentary rock along the mountain.

“And the thinking was that if we landed there and drove up this mountain of layered rock that there would be a record of changes in Martian environment through time that we could effectively read.”

The data will allow scientists to better understand the various climates that existed on Mars and help them discover the types of environments that could have supported life.