A habitable fluvio-lacustrine environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

J.P. Grotzinger*, D.Y. Sumner, L.C. Kah, K. Stack, S. Gupta, L. Edgar, D. Rubin, K. Lewis, J. Schieber, N. Mangold, R. Milliken, P.G. Conrad, D. DesMarais, J. Farmer, K. Siebach, F. Calef III, J. Hurowitz, S.M. McLennan, D. Ming, D. VanimanJ. Crisp, A. Vasavada, K.S. Edgett, M. Malin, D. Blake, R. Gellert, P. Mahaffy, R.C. Wiens, S. Maurice, J.A. Grant, S Wilson, R. C. Anderson, L. Beegle, R. Arvidson, Bernard Hallet, Ronald Sletten, M. Rice, J.F. Bell III, J. Griffes, B. Ehlmann, R.B. Anderson, T.F. Bristow, W. E. Dietrich, G. Dromart, J. Eigenbrode, A. Fraeman, C. Hardgrove, Ken Herkenhoff, L. Jandura, MSL Science Team

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The Curiosity rover discovered fine-grained sedimentary rocks, which are inferred to represent an ancient lake and preserve evidence of an environment that would have been suited to support a martian biosphere founded on chemolithoautotrophy. This aqueous environment was characterized by neutral pH, low salinity, and variable redox states of both iron and sulfur species. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus were measured directly as key biogenic elements; by inference, phosphorus is assumed to have been available. The environment probably had a minimum duration of hundreds to tens of thousands of years. These results highlight the biological viability of fluvial-lacustrine environments in the post-Noachian history of Mars.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1242777
Number of pages15
JournalScience
Volume343
Issue number6169
Early online date9 Dec 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2014

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    Grotzinger, J. P., Sumner, D. Y., Kah, L. C., Stack, K., Gupta, S., Edgar, L., Rubin, D., Lewis, K., Schieber, J., Mangold, N., Milliken, R., Conrad, P. G., DesMarais, D., Farmer, J., Siebach, K., III, F. C., Hurowitz, J., McLennan, S. M., Ming, D., ... MSL Science Team (2014). A habitable fluvio-lacustrine environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars. Science, 343(6169), [1242777]. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1242777