Water on Mars? Nasa scientists think so. Maybe not now, but they found evidence that much of the Martian surface was covered by a huge ocean, billions of years ago. They came to this conclusion after analyzing data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which is in orbit around the planet.
One of the authors of the report. Mike Lamb, assistant professor of geology at the California Institute of Technology said: “Scientists have long hypothesized that the northern lowlands of Mars are a dried-up ocean bottom, but no one yet has found the smoking gun.” However, there is no definitive proof of this theory as yet.
The information they do have comes from the high resolution camera mounted in the orbiter. They concentrated on a relatively small area of 35 square miles inside a region known as Aeolis Dorsa. This area Is around 600 miles from the landing point of the NASA probe ‘Curiosity’, which landed almost a year ago.
The inverted channels and ridges which cover the area are an indication that there may once have been water on Mars. How much water is what the scientists are trying to work out. They calculate that It would have covered about 38,600 square miles, and it might even be the global ocean, which some scientists believe covered a third of the planet.
Roman DiBiase, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech, said:”This is probably one of the most convincing pieces of evidence of a delta in an unconfined region — and a delta points to the existence of a large body of water in the northern hemisphere of Mars.”
Mike Lamb said: “In our work and in the work of others, scientists are finding a rich sedimentary record on Mars that is revealing its past environments, which include rain, flowing water, rivers, deltas and potentially oceans.”
Whether it will ever be possible to prove absolutely that there was once water on Mars, remains to be seen. How much that knowledge will impact our daily lives is another matter. And, whether there was once water on Mars – or not -, do you care? Comments below please!
Photo Credit mars.nasa.gov