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

Grotzinger, J. P. and Sumner, D. Y. and Kah, L. C. and Stack, K. and Gupta, S. and Edgar, L. and Rubin, D. and Lewis, K. and Schieber, J. and Mangold, N. and Milliken, R. and Conrad, P. G. and Des Marais, D. and Farmer, J. and Siebach, K. and Calef, F. and Hurowitz, J. and McLennan, S. M. and Ming, D. and Vaniman, D. and Crisp, J. and Vasavada, A. and Edgett, K. S. and Malin, M. and Blake, D. and Gellert, R. and Mahaffy, P. and Wiens, R. C. and Maurice, S. and Grant, J. A. and Wilson, S. and Anderson, R. A. and Beegle, L. and Arvidson, R. and Hallet, B. and Sletten, R. S. and Rice, M. and Bell, J., III and Griffes, J. and Ehlmann, B. and Anderson, R. B. and Bristow, T. F. and Dietrich, W. E. and Dromart, G. and Eigenbrode, J. and Fraeman, A. and Hardgrove, C. and Herkenhoff, K. and Jandura, L. and Kocurek, G. and Lee, S. and Leshin, L. A. and Léveillé, R. and Limonadi, D. and Maki, J. and McCloskey, S. and Meyer, M. and Minitti, M. and Newsom, H. and Oehler, D. and Okon, A. and Palucis, M. and Parker, T. and Rowland, S. and Schmidt, M. and Squyres, S. and Steele, A. and Stolper, E. M. and Summons, R. and Treiman, A. and Williams, R. and Yingst, A. (2014) A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars. Science, 343 (6169). Art. no. 1242777. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.1242777.

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The Curiosity rover discovered fine-grained sedimentary rocks, inferred to represent an ancient lake, 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. C, H, O, S, N, and P were measured directly as key biogenic elements, and by inference N and P are assumed to have been available. The environment likely 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.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription PDF Abstract PDF Article material ItemArchived data in NASA Planetary Data System’s Planetary Plasma Interactions Node
Grotzinger, J. P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Sumner, D. Y.0000-0002-7343-2061
Kah, L. C.0000-0001-7172-2033
Stack, K.0000-0003-3444-6695
Lewis, K.0000-0003-3412-803X
Mangold, N.0000-0002-0022-0631
Siebach, K.0000-0002-6628-6297
McLennan, S. M.0000-0003-4259-7178
Ming, D.0000-0003-0567-8876
Vaniman, D.0000-0001-7661-2626
Crisp, J.0000-0002-3202-4416
Vasavada, A.0000-0003-2665-286X
Edgett, K. S.0000-0001-7197-5751
Gellert, R.0000-0001-7928-834X
Mahaffy, P.0000-0003-1896-1726
Wiens, R. C.0000-0002-3409-7344
Grant, J. A.0000-0001-8276-1281
Beegle, L.0000-0002-4944-4353
Arvidson, R.0000-0002-2854-0362
Rice, M.0000-0002-8370-4139
Bell, J., III0000-0002-2006-4074
Ehlmann, B.0000-0002-2745-3240
Anderson, R. B.0000-0003-4465-2871
Bristow, T. F.0000-0001-6725-0555
Eigenbrode, J.0000-0003-3089-1986
Fraeman, A.0000-0003-4017-5158
Hardgrove, C.0000-0002-8556-6630
Herkenhoff, K.0000-0002-3153-6663
Minitti, M.0000-0003-4715-4544
Newsom, H.0000-0002-4358-8161
Stolper, E. M.0000-0001-8008-8804
Summons, R.0000-0002-7144-8537
Alternate Title:Exploring Martian Habitability
Additional Information:Copyright 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Submitted Manuscript: 29 October 2013. Received for publication 4 July 2013. Accepted for publication 6 November 2013. Published Online December 9 2013. The authors are indebted to the Mars Science Laboratory Project engineering and management teams, for their exceptionally skilled and diligent efforts in making the mission as effective as possible and enhancing science operations. We are also grateful to all those MSL team members who participated in tactical and strategic operations. Without the support of both the engineering and science teams, the data presented here could not have been collected. Some of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Data presented in this paper are archived in the Planetary Data System (
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Yellowknife Bay ; Gale Crater ; Mars ; Mars Science Laboratory ; Curiosity
Non-Subject Keywords:Mars Science Laboratory ; Curiosity ; NASA
Issue or Number:6169
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131122-092901138
Persistent URL:
Official Citation: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. 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 III, 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, and MSL Science Team Science 24 January 2014: 343 (6169), 1242777Published online 9 December 2013 [DOI:10.1126/science.1242777]
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42644
Deposited By: Katherine Johnson
Deposited On:09 Dec 2013 21:42
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:26

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