NASA’s Curiosity team made history by drilling into ancient rock beds on the planet Mars. This was the first time in human history that such a feat on another planet has ever happened. The Curiosity rover robotically manned by a team from earth chose a basin known as “Yellowknife Bay” to begin its first drilling. The goal for Curiosity will be to enter the basin, obtain a foreign sample of rock and analyze the rock sample. This sample will be chemically analyzed to identify what elements it was composed of and if any organic molecules are still present. This is critically important because the obtainment of this sample may shed light in regards to the existence of water on Mars.
The Curiosity rover itself will age date the rock in order to determine if water was ever present on mars, how many years ago water was in the basin, the age of the rocks. The first form of age dating involves identifying the age of the rock itself, and the second is how recently the rock has been exposed at the surface. The first type of age process represents how long ago that Mars had an earth-like climate, and the second type of age process refers to how long the rock may have been impacted by cratering environments and volcanic activity. In the past crater counting usually helped to determine the age of the surface of the mars. The more surface craters there were, the oldest the planet was thought to be.
The age of dating the surface of a planet by counting craters is outdated and instead an