Although Mars is now a sandy planet that doesn’t seem to have any life, we know from images of the surface of Mars that mars has also been crisscrossed by lakes, with a lot of flowing water. Dutch scientists have found the first evidence of a river that has been on Mars for more than 100,000 years, New Scientist reported On the 5th.
Francesco Sailor of the University of Utrecht and his colleagues found a high rock cliff on the northwest edge of the Hellas basin on Mars, which appeared to be slowly formed by the flow of an ancient river.
The researchers note that as rivers continue to flow, sediments accumulate layer by layer. The newly discovered “outcrop” of the rock exposed to the ground is 200 meters high and 1.5 kilometers wide. To form an outcrop of this size, a river that has been active for at least 100,000 Years of Earth will need to flow and deposition continuously.
The team discovered the outcrop using satellite data from the ultra-high-resolution imaging science experiment camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which captures images of Mars at a resolution of 25 cm per pixel.
‘Mars satellite imagery is usually limited to bird’s eye view, so we can only get a snapshot of the top layer of the sediment, ‘ Mr. Sailor said. “But this time we were lucky because the cliff showed its true face in the right way. In this way, we can analyze the hidden rock formations, and then we have 3D reconstruction of the area. “
“To form these 200-meter-thick sediments, you need to be able to maintain an environment with a lot of liquid water,” Sailor explains. “This means that water will flow day and night throughout the year, suggesting that Mars once had a similar precipitation-driven water cycle to Earth.
Located in the southern hemisphere of Mars, the Hellas Basin once had a large lake and a series of rivers and deltas. “These geological regions are critical to our search for evidence of ancient life on Mars, ” Saysler said. “
He added that NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is scheduled to fly to Mars in July or August, will investigate similar rock deposits in other parts of the planet.