Evidence of A Wet Martian Past
A shallow trench made by Spirit's dragging right front wheel uncovered some of the best evidence Spirit has found for ancient water-rich environments in Gusev Crater -- bright patches of almost pure, fine-grained silica (SiO2). On ancient Earth, warm, evaporating coastal waters deposited fine silica in shallow sediments. In Yellowstone National Park, hot, mineral-laden waters deposit fine-grained silica around geysers and hot springs. The discovery of silica-rich deposits on Mars adds compelling new evidence of ancient environments that might have been favorable for life.
Spirit acquired this false-color view of the remarkable, light-colored soil patch with the panoramic camera on the rover's 1,198th sol, or Martian day of exploration (May 17, 2007), more than three years after landing on Mars.