General, Research, Technology

Ancient flood traces found on Mars

Today Mars is a desert planet wherewater can be only under its surface. But billions of years ago, streams flowed through its expanses and whole oceans were formed. Scientists come to such conclusions while studying the data they receive from rovers on a distant planet. Recently, employees of the NASA aerospace agency and several universities found out that Once upon a time there was a strong flood on Mars... This is at least evidenced bydata sent by the Curiosity Science Laboratory. At the moment, the rover is in Gale Crater, and there it found clear signs that powerful streams of water were flowing across the surface of Mars. But what exactly did the device find and what could cause a flood?

Curiosity spacecraft in Gale Crater

Ancient flood on Mars

An ancient flood on Mars was told inscientific publication New Atlas. The Curiosity rover was sent to a distant planet in 2011. He immediately landed on Gale Crater and began to move up the high ground known as Mount Sharp. During this trip, the device found ample evidence that the crater was an ancient lake for tens of billions of years. Moreover, from time to time it was filled with water, then it became completely dry.

Perhaps billions of years ago Mars looked like this

Since the Curiosity rover has manysensors, researchers have the ability to study the structure of soil that was once saturated with water. Recently, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and researchers from the American Universities of Hawaii and New York learned that 4 billion years ago, Mars experienced a massive flood... This is evidenced by the fact that Gale crater formed channel ridge... This is the name of sedimentary formations that arise under very rapidly flowing water.

Channel ridge on Earth

The cause of the flooding on Mars

Outwardly, these formations look like ridges on the surface of Mars. Having measured the distance between them, scientists came to the conclusion that water flowed at a speed of over 10 meters per second... At the same time, the water depth was not less than 24 meters... According to researchers, the flood could becaused by the fall of a large asteroid. If we assume that before this catastrophe the planet was covered with ice, a space object could melt it - that's a flood. At the same time, a large amount of water vapor and other substances could be thrown into the air that could change the climate of an entire planet. After the flood, Mars could become a warm and humid planet on which life could well originate.

There is an assumption that Mars was once covered with an ice sheet

According to one of the authors of the scientific workAlberto Fairen, billions of years ago Mars was a very active planet from a geological point of view. Almost all the conditions for the presence of liquid water, which is very important for the existence of life, were held on it. But signs of life on a distant planet have not yet been found. Perhaps they will be found thanks to the work of the Perseverance rover.

See also: What sounds were recorded by NASA's first rover with a microphone?

Does life exist on Mars?

Perseverance was launched at the end of July2020 and will reach Mars in February 2021. He will land on the Jezero crater where, according to scientists, there was once also water. There is a possibility that it is in this crater that the device will find the remains of ancient microbes. It is unlikely that they survived, but there is also hope for that. The fact is that recently scientists have put forward the assumption that there may be moist soil at a depth of 30 centimeters from the surface of Mars. This means that bacteria still live in it. And this is even though such soil on a distant planet may contain large amounts of salt. You can learn about what bacteria in theory can live on Mars in this material.

Perseverance rover

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Finally, I would like to remind you that recently mycolleague Lyubov Sokovikova wrote an article about the possible reaction of humanity to the discovery of alien life. It seems that the material has aroused great interest, because it is very actively discussed. Indeed, really - imagine that one morning you pick up a smartphone and read that scientists have finally met aliens. How would you react to this? Read Lyuba's article and also share what thoughts you might have with such news.