"Tintina" rock broken apart by Curiosity's wheels, showing a bright white interior. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
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The above image of the rock named “Tintina” exposes “Yellowknife Bay” vein material. The image of this broken rock fragment in the wheel track of the Curiosity was taken by the rover’s mast camera.
When Curiosity drove over Tintina, the rock broke apart, exposing a fresh, bright white surface that may be the same as the bright material filling pale veins in the nearby bedrock of the “Yellowknife Bay” area. It was discovered that the bay area may have been submerged in flowing water at one time.
The rock’s color suggests the presence of hydrated minerals, similar to those found on Earth, and implies the presence of water on Mars in ancient times and the possibility that the Red Planet was once capable of supporting life.
The Curiosity will continue its search for hard evidence that life once existed on Mars.
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory project is using Curiosity and the rover's 10 science instruments to investigate environmental history within Gale Crater, a location where the project has found that conditions were long ago favorable for microbial life. The search began when it landed on the Red Planet in the early morning on August 6, 2012.