Curiosity registers Mars temperatures above 0 °C

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The temperature in the Martian crater Gale, where the robot Curiosity NASA made a successful landing on August 5 and has a landscape “similar to Arizona,” exceeded 0 ° C, said on Friday the head mission.John Grotzinger, chief scientific mission of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena (California), that scientists have celebrated again, thanks to Curiosity, a weather station on Mars.

“I can say that yesterday’s maximum temperature on the surface of Mars near the robot was superior” to 0 degrees Celsius, Grotzinger said at a news conference, saying the exact measurement was “276 degrees Kelvin” or 2.85 ° C.“This is a very important reference for science, because the last long-term weather station on Mars goes back exactly 30 years”, when the Viking Lander 1 ceased communicating with Earth in 1982, he said.Grotzinger also introduced four new pictures in which one can clearly see the different rock layers of colored clay hills at the foot of Monte Sharp, the robot should go up during his two-year mission.

“The rim of the crater (Gale) looks a bit like the Mojave Desert (California) and now see what is similar to the Four Corners region (cross formed by the four corners of Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico ), or Sedona, Arizona, where these hills and plateaus are also seen, “said the scientist.

“There must be hydrated minerals in all these layers,” he added. Scientists believe the crater area Gale had water in the past and ancient geological formations of Mount Sharp may have retained traces of past life.

Grotzinger said the robot could put to the test “next week” his first movements.He also announced that the first destination of the robot is likely to be a region called Glenelg, “the union of three interesting geological sites.” This area is in the opposite direction to Mount Sharp, who remains “our real objective,” he said Grotzinger.

If the robot go directly to Glenelg, should arrive in “two or three weeks.” But the scientist does not rule out the idea of stopping on the way if samples are found interesting.In the long term, “near the end of 2012,” I think the goal should be to Monte Sharp, which new and more accurate picture should be available “in a week or two,” he said.The robot Curiosity, a mission of U.S. $ 2.5 billion, is the most advanced robot sent to Mars by NASA now.

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