Friday, October 09, 2015

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Recent studies of the history of water on Mars indicate that the planet has a much wetter past than previously thought.

The latest study, reported October 8 in the journal Science, describes a system of deltas and lakes that dominated the Martian landscape more than 3 billion years ago. This builds on news NASA released a week earlier that water flows on the red planet today.

John Grotzinger, professor of geology at the California Institute of Technology, is the lead author of the study, which is based on image data sent from Curiosity, the rover working on Mars since 2012.  He wrote, “Curiosity provides the capability to test hypothesizes about Mars' past climate.”

The robot geologist explored Gale Crater, a 140-kilometer-wide impact crater, with a 5-kilometer-high mountain at its center.   

Marjorie Chan, a geology professor at the University of Utah, reviewed the Science article in a piece accompanying the research. She wrote, “Deciphering this geology is built on detective work, searching for clues and signs to tell us about past conditions, environments and places where water could have harbored life-forms.”

Gale Crater is of particular interest because of the piles of layered rock formed by deposits of sediment, laid down over eons. “Generally when we have these nice layers, those are often laid down by water,” Chan said. “So we knew that there was a potential that this could show the history of water on Mars' past surface.”.................


No comments:

Post a Comment

Only News

EL News

Blog Widget by LinkWithin