Martian Mudcracks Confirmed

Mudcracks copy

In a new paper out in Geology, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team members have confirmed the polygonal features noted on the Old Soak slab of the Murray formation exposed in Gale Crater to indeed be desiccation cracks. After careful examination of the slab using Curiosity’s Mastcam, Mars Hand Lens Imager, and ChemCam Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer, the team has confirmed the origin of the features. Careful examination of the polygonal cracks revealed that they are limited to single sedimentary layers and are infilled with sediments. Mudcracks formed in the strata of Gale Crater show that lakes in the ancient Martian past experienced cycles of drying and re-sedimentation similar to lakes on Earth today. READ MORE »