There is water on Mars! Well, there used to be. A new discovery by NASA’s Curiosity Rover may prove that water once flowed in large volumes across the red planet.
Space.com reports that the discovery came after the Curiosity took several pictures of martian stones. Some of the stones have rounded edges which, according to NASA, indicates that they were transported long distances by a martian river.
Curiosity science co-investigator Rebecca Williams said:
“The shapes tell you they were transported and the sizes tell you they couldn’t be transported by wind. They were transported by water flow.”
The researchers said that the water flow may have been similar to a flash flood in a desert region on earth.
Curiosity co-investigator William Dietrich, said that scientists have found possible evidence of water on mars before but the new discovery gives them information about how fast and how deep the water was on the red planet.
“From the size of gravels it carried, we can interpret the water was moving about 3 feet per second, with a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep. Plenty of papers have been written about channels on Mars with many different hypotheses about the flows in them. This is the first time we’re actually seeing water-transported gravel on Mars. This is a transition from speculation about the size of streambed material to direct observation of it.”
NASA posted a photo of the Martian riverbed next to a photo of a riverbed on earth on Facebook. The Curiosity Rover, via NASA, writes: “A River Ran Through It. I found evidence of an ancient streambed on Mars, similar to some on Earth.”
Here’s a video about the new Mars discovery.