The rover’s camera and its Russian-made neutron probe found more evidence for water in the so-called Yellowknife Bay area, where the rover is presently located, than at sites studied earlier in the mission.
“I see the difference between Yellowknife and the area which is just before Yellowknife ... showing the different distribution of water. This is a significant variation,” Maxim Litvak of the Space Research Institute in Moscow told reporters.
The rover is seven months into a planned two-year, $2.5 billion mission at Gale Crater, a giant impact basin located near the Martian equator. Scientists eventually want to explore a 3-mile (5-km) mountain of what appears to be layered sediments rising from the crater floor.