New Gully Appears On Mars, But It’s Likely Not Due To Water

by Elizabeth Howell on March 19, 2014

At right, a new gully appears in pictures of the same region of Terra Sirenum on Mars. The picture at left was taken in November 2010, and the right in May 2013. Pictures obtained from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

At right, a new gully appears in pictures of the same region of Terra Sirenum on Mars. The picture at left was taken in November 2010, and the right in May 2013. Pictures obtained from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Check out the groove! In the blink of a geological lifetime, a new gully has appeared on the planet Mars. These images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show a new channel in the southern hemisphere region of Terra Siernum that appeared between November 2010 and May 2013.

While there’s a lot of chatter about water on Mars, this particular feature is likely¬†not¬†due to that liquid, the agency added.

“Gully or ravine landforms are common on Mars, particularly in the southern highlands. This pair of images shows that material flowing down from an alcove at the head of a gully broke out of an older route and eroded a new channel,” NASA stated.

It’s unclear in what season the activity occurred because the observations took place more than a Martian year apart, NASA added. These ravines tend to happen in the southern highlands and other mid-latitude regions on Mars.

“Before-and-after HiRISE pairs of similar activity at other sites demonstrate that this type of activity generally occurs in winter, at temperatures so cold that carbon dioxide, rather than water, is likely to play the key role,” the agency said.

Last week, the agency also announced that MRO recovered from an unplanned computer swap that put the spacecraft into safe mode. Incidents of this nature have happened four times before, the agency noted.

Source: NASA

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: