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article image"Spirit" Unearths New Evidence of Past Water on Mars [edit]

By Thespian     May 22, 2007 in Technology
The deep track that the wheel leaves behind churned up patches of bright soil, which are extremely high in silica, meaning that Mars was once much wetter than it is at present,
Not a lot of detail in the original article I found, but thanks to DJ's keen eyes, I've updated the source to the more insightful NASA article.
This is exciting stuff. The "Spirit" rover on Mars (literally) turned up new evidence of water in Mars' past. One of the rover's wheels no longer turns, causing it to dig up dirt as it moves over the terrain. One such rut revealed bright, shiny dirt which turned out to be silica.
The silica find is the strongest evidence so far found of Mars' watery past. The processes that could have produced such a concentrated deposit of silica require the presence of water.
Part of the value of this news is the surprise factor. The rovers have been on Mars for 1200 days, and nobody knew this was there. the fact that we keep learning significant new things about the planet is astonishing.
There is so much more we could learn, if we only ask the right questions.
Spirit worked within about 50 yards or meters of the Gertrude Weise area for more than 18 months before the discovery was made. "This discovery has driven home to me the value of in-depth, careful exploration," Squyres said. "This is a target-rich environment, and it is a good thing we didn't go hurrying through it."
Thanks again to the DJ staff for pointing me at the source for my first-posted source. This one has much more information.
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