A detailed analysis of rocks in the shallow crater where the rover has been studying the Red Planet’s geology indicates the formations were shaped by gently flowing salt water, indicating the area was probably once the coastline of an ocean, scientists said.
“We think Opportunity is now parked on what was once the shoreline of a salty sea on Mars,” said Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., who is leading the scientific team studying Mars.
Further study will be needed to determine how long, and how long ago, the ocean existed, the researchers said. But the findings provide tantalizing new clues to whether Earth’s closest relative in the solar system may have once been hospitable to life.
Update : The Picture