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Mars rover Curiosity finds 'jackpot,' AKA traces of water

The Mars rover Curiosity has stumbled on veins that indicate the presence of water in the red planet's Yellowknife Bay.

Curiosity mars rover riverbedEnlarge
This set of images compares the Link outcrop of rocks on Mars (left) with similar rocks seen on Earth (right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and PSI, from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Facebook page/Facebook)

The Mars rover Curiosity has found potential traces of water in the red planet's Yellowknife Bay, which NASA researchers are calling "a jackpot unit." 

The rover has found fissures in the rock in Gale Crater, the strongest evidence yet that Mars was much once warmer and wetter. The rocks also have large white rounded grains within them, which may indicate water dulled their edges, ABC News reported

“[It] turns out to be kind of the ‘jackpot’ unit,” said John Grotzinger, the mission’s chief scientist, Science Recorder reported. “It is literally shot through with these fractures and vein fills.”

“The scientists have been let into the candy store,”said Richard Cook, the project manager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), of the rocks. 

Curiosity will carry out the first drilling into a Martian rock "percolated" with water within the next two weeks, and will analyze the sample with its' internal chemistry labs, according to Universe Today

The Mars rover has been exploring the planet since it landed in August, with the goal of finding signs that it was (or is?) hospitable for simple life forms, according to ABC News. 

More from GlobalPost: Nom, nom: Curiosity Mars Rover ingests first soil sample

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/130120/mars-rover-curiosity-jackpot-traces-water