Ancient river systems on Mars seen in unparalleled detail
Researchers have spent decades looking for evidence of ancient water on Mars. As technology has progressed, more evidence has come to light that rivers, lakes and even oceans were once abundant on the red planet.
Modern Mars is icy and dusty and unlikely to have much liquid water on the surface, if any at all. But billions of years ago, Mars was warmer and could have had enough liquid water to support life. In fact, experts think Mars is one of the most likely places we will find evidence of extraterrestrial life.
A high-resolution satellite has captured detailed images of a rocky Martian cliff face revealing that it was formed by rivers more than 3.7 billion years ago. That is roughly the same time that life was starting to begin on Earth.
It’s the first time that scientists have been able to examine these kinds of rocks up close.
Geologists Dr. Francesco Salese and William McMahon from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, were supported by an international team including Dr. Matt Balme at the Open University and Dr. Joel Davis, a postdoctoral researcher at the Museum. Their findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.
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