Scientists who study Mars and Earth selected Gale Crater over other promising landing sites.Gale beckoned because it had a lot of different geological settings that would be accessible to the rover. But the scientists had no idea how lucky they would be to find so rich a variety around Gale Crater!
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Curiosity found many diverse signs of a watery past near its Gale Crater landing site. Water-transported sand dunes and water-cemented gravel were among the sites to wow scientists as Curiosity explored the area.
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At Yellowknife Bay, Curiosity rolled up to rocks streaked with white or gray mineral veins. These standout features are telltale signs that some time in the past, water seeped into cracks in the rocks. When the water dried up, its mineral content was left behind.
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Landing Right in an Old Streambed
When Curiosity's landing jets fired, they uncovered these rocks called Goulburn Scour. They are made up of a sandy conglomerate that formed in a stream bed long ago. If part of your mission is to find rocks that point to water, it doesn't get much better than this!
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Layers of Martian History
Here is the base of Mount Sharp, Curiosity's ultimate destination. Layer upon layer of geological history stands waiting, ready to tell stories about the past habitability of Mars.