Aeolis Palus is a plain between the northern wall of Gale Crater and the northern foothills of Aeolis Mons on planet Mars and is centered at .〔
The NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission delivered a rover to the crater plain in August 2012 to begin an extended mission of exploration and planetary science. , the rover, named ''Curiosity'', is currently exploring ''Aeolis Palus'' as part of its planned two-year science mission.
On August 5, 2012, at 10:32 p.m. PDT/mission time (August 6, 2012 at 5:32 UTC), mission control at JPL received a signal from the NASA ''Curiosity'' rover that it had successfully landed in "Yellowknife" ''Quad 51'' of ''Aeolis Palus''. The rover's mission is to explore the surface area of Gale Crater focusing first near its landing site on ''Aeolis Palus'' and then venturing into the nearby foothills of Aeolis Mons (unofficially, "Mount Sharp") to investigate its geological features and strata.〔〔〔
On September 26, 2013, NASA scientists reported the Mars Curiosity rover detected "abundant, easily accessible" water (1.5 to 3 weight percent) in soil samples at the Rocknest region of ''Aeolis Palus'' in Gale Crater. In addition, NASA reported the rover found two principal soil types: a fine-grained mafic type and a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type.〔〔 The mafic type, similar to other martian soils and martian dust, was associated with hydration of the amorphous phases of the soil.〔 Also, perchlorates, the presence of which may make detection of life-related organic molecules difficult, were found at the Curiosity rover landing site (and earlier at the more polar site of the Phoenix lander) suggesting a "global distribution of these salts".〔 NASA also reported that Jake M rock, a rock encountered by ''Curiosity'' on the way to Glenelg, was a mugearite and very similar to terrestrial mugearite rocks.
On December 9, 2013, NASA reported that, based on evidence from ''Curiosity'' studying Aeolis Palus, Gale Crater contained an ancient freshwater lake which could have been a hospitable environment for microbial life.
On December 16, 2014, NASA reported detecting, based on measurements by the ''Curiosity'' rover, an unusual increase, then decrease, in the amounts of methane in the atmosphere of the planet Mars; in addition, organic chemicals were detected in powder drilled from a rock by the ''Curiosity'' rover. Also, based on deuterium to hydrogen ratio studies, much of the water at Gale Crater on Mars was found to have been lost during ancient times, before the lakebed in the crater was formed; afterwards, large amounts of water continued to be lost.
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