A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

Research areas:
Year:
2014
Authors:
  • J. P. Grotzinger
  • D. Y. Sumner
  • L. C. Kah
  • K. Stack
  • S. Gupta
  • L. Edgar
  • D. Rubin
  • K. Lewis
  • J. Schieber
  • Nicolas Mangold
  • R. Milliken
  • P. G. Conrad
  • D. DesMarais
  • J. Farmer
  • K. Siebach
  • F. Calef
  • J. Hurowitz
  • S. M. McLennan
  • D. Ming
  • D. Vaniman
  • J. 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
  • B. Hallet
  • R. S. Sletten
  • M. Rice
  • J. Bell
  • J. Griffes
  • B. Ehlmann
  • R. B. Anderson
  • T. F. Bristow
  • W. E. Dietrich
  • G. Dromart
  • J. Eigenbrode
  • A. Fraeman
  • C. Hardgrove
  • K. Herkenhoff
  • L. Jandura
  • G. Kocurek
  • S. Lee
  • L. A. Leshin
  • R. Leveille
  • D. Limonadi
  • J. Maki
  • S. McCloskey
  • M. Meyer
  • M. Minitti
  • H. Newsom
  • D. Oehler
  • A. Okon
  • M. Palucis
  • T. Parker
  • S. Rowland
  • M. Schmidt
  • S. Squyres
  • A. Steele
  • E. Stolper
  • R. Summons
  • A. Treiman
  • R. Williams
  • A. Yingst
  • MSL Sci Team
Journal:
SCIENCE
Volume:
343
Number:
6169
Month:
JAN 24
ISSN:
0036-8075
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.