NEWS: Two Mars Rovers Search for Clues to Life
Curiosity, which landed on Mars in August, also found evidence of pH-neutral water changing the chemistry of a piece of bedrock in its Gale Crater landing site. Analysis of powder drilled out from the inside of the rock also showed all the elements needed to support microbial life.
Results of a second rock sample are pending.
Curiosity is on the move as well, making its way toward Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high mound of rock rising from the crater's floor that also shows signs of clay minerals.
Scientists hope to have the solar-powered Opportunity in position by Aug. 1, before the start of Martian winter in the southern hemisphere. There are no guarantees it will make it, however.
As of Friday, the rover, which was designed to last 90 days, has spent 3,331 days on Mars.
"I don't think there's anyone on this planet that would have imagined this rover lasting this long when we started almost 10 years ago," said Opportunity project manager John Callas, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.