An Indian scientist, part of the NASA team which had identified the landing site of the ‘Curiosity’ rover on Mars, on Monday described the spot as “very exciting” and holding “great promise.”
Scientist Amitabh Ghosh, part of the Science Operations Working Group at NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission, was a member of the team that zeroed in on the Gale crater location where the car-sized rover successfully landed.
“We were very concerned. This is a very tough sequence to do. Imagine you are trying to land on the earth and are testing a bunch of technologies which together you have never tested and you know very little about the atmosphere,” an overwhelmed Mr. Ghosh said.
“This is a very big deal. This is the moment which comes down to thousands of people working over five to six years. If this crashes, there is nothing after that,” he told NDTV.
Gale crater location, 24,78,38,976 km from home was chosen after observations from orbit identified clay and sulfate minerals in the lower layers, indicating a wet history.
“Clay minerals occur in water related environment, and also we see layering in this crater. On earth, sedimentary rocks show layering and that is again an evidence of water rich environment,” he said.
“There is a central uplift in the crater, which is like a mountain, which has layering on top of it. Scientifically, it is very interesting as each layer can potentially be a window into the martial environment at a specific point of time and that is what we want,” Mr. Ghosh added.