Categories: esaMars

Mars Express Delivers Views Of Martian Lake


In the southern highlands of Mars, Eberswalde crater to be exact, ESA’s Mars Express exploration has pinpointed an area which once held a lake. Although it may have been some 4 billion years ago, the geologic remains – called a delta – are still evident in the new images. This region of dark sediments are a shadowed reminder that Mars once had water.

Formed by an asteroid strike, Eberswalde crater has nearly eroded away with time. After it formed, it was partially obliterated by another impact which shaped 140 km diameter crater Holden. Although this second strike buried Eberswalde with ejecta, 115 square kilometers of delta area and feeder channels survived. These channels once were the arteries that pumped water along the surface to pool in the crater’s interior, forming a lake. As they carried water, they also carried sediments and – just as on Earth – left their mark. With time, the water dried up and even more sediments were carried along by the wind, exposing the area in vivid relief.

NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft spied the delta in earlier missions, giving even further solidification that Mars was once a wet world. While Eberswalde crater and Holden crater were once a part of a list of possible landing sites for the Mars Science Laboratory, Gale crater was selected as the Curiosity’s landing site, given its high mineral and structural diversity related to water. But don’t count this wonderful, wet confession of a lake out forever. Thanks to high mineral diversity and suggestive structure, we’re sure to visit the delta of Eberswalde and Holden again, from orbit or with another landing mission.

Original Story Source: ESA News.

Tammy Plotner

Tammy was a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status. (Tammy passed away in early 2015... she will be missed)

Recent Posts

InSight is Losing Power, it Probably Will be Shut Down in a Few Months

The InSight Mars lander will cease science operations sometime in the next few months due…

13 hours ago

Maybe We Don’t Hear From Aliens Because They Choose To Go Silent

How will humanity meet its end? That's only a depressing question if you think that…

13 hours ago

Ceres Probably Formed Farther out in the Solar System and Migrated Inward

When Sicilian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi spotted Ceres in 1801, he thought it was a planet.…

14 hours ago

China has a new Human Lunar Space Program, With Plans for Landers, Orbiters, Rovers, and a Lunar Base

In a recent interview, an engineer associated with the Chinese space agency confirmed that China…

17 hours ago

No, This Isn’t a Doorway on Mars

A Mastcam image from the Mars Curiosity rover captures what looks like a doorway into…

1 day ago

Congressional UFO Hearing Brings a Few Answers and More Questions

For the first time in more than half a century, Congress conducted a public hearing…

1 day ago