In a recent study published in National Science Review, a team of researchers led by the China University of Geosciences discuss direct evidence of an ancient ocean and its shoreline that existed in the northern hemisphere of Mars during the Hesperian Period, or more than 3 billion years ago. This finding is based on data collected by the China National Space Agency’s (CNSA) Zhurong rover in the Vastitas Borealis Formation (VBF), which lies within southern Utopia Planitia on Mars.Continue reading “China’s Rover Found Evidence of an Ancient Ocean on Mars”
Scientists Piece Together the Shoreline of an Ancient Ocean on Mars
Scientists have long suspected that Mars was once warm and wet in its ancient past. The Mars Ocean Hypothesis says that the planet was home to a large ocean around 4 billion years ago. The ocean filled the Vastitas Borealis basin in the planet’s northern hemisphere. The basin is 4–5 km (2.5–3 miles) below Mars’ mean elevation.
A new topographic map of Mars reinforces the hypothesis and adds more detail.Continue reading “Scientists Piece Together the Shoreline of an Ancient Ocean on Mars”
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Early Life on Mars Might Have Wiped Out Life on Mars
Life might have wiped itself out on early Mars. That’s not as absurd as it sounds; that’s sort of what happened on Earth.
But life on Earth evolved and persisted, while on Mars, it didn’t.Continue reading “Early Life on Mars Might Have Wiped Out Life on Mars”
There are Places Where Salty Water Could Emerge Onto the Surface of Mars
The existence of water on Mars is a contentious subject. We know there used to be water on the surface of the planet, though it’s long gone now. We know there’s frozen water underground in the world, and we know there’s water vapour in the air. But life needs liquid water.
Could there be liquid water on Mars?
A new study shows how salty water could emerge from the atmosphere onto Mars’ surface under the right conditions.Continue reading “There are Places Where Salty Water Could Emerge Onto the Surface of Mars”
The Scientific Debate Rages on: Is there Water Under Mars’ South Pole?
There’s no surface water on Mars now, but there was a long time ago. If you ask most people interested in Mars, what’s left of it is underground and probably frozen.
But some previous evidence shows there’s a lake of liquid water under the planet’s South Pole Layered Deposits (SPLD). Other evidence refutes it. So what’s going on?
Science, that’s what.Continue reading “The Scientific Debate Rages on: Is there Water Under Mars’ South Pole?”
Ice Peeks out of a Cliffside on Mars
The HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured another beauty. This time the image shows water ice peeking out from a cliffside on Mars. A layer of sediment obscures most of the ice, but fingers of it are visible.Continue reading “Ice Peeks out of a Cliffside on Mars”
Mars Was Too Small to Ever be Habitable
Mars and water. Those words can trigger an avalanche of speculation, evidence, hypotheses, and theories. Mars has some water now, but it’s frozen, and most of it’s buried. There’s only a tiny bit of water vapour in the atmosphere. Evidence shows that it was much wetter in the past. In its ancient past, the planet may have had a global ocean. But was it habitable at one time?
A new study says it wasn’t. Mars lost most of its water, and it’s all to do with the planet’s size.Continue reading “Mars Was Too Small to Ever be Habitable”
Dusty Snow on Mars Could be Melting Just Below the Surface
Dust on Mars gets everywhere – including on top of ice deposited during one of Mars’ previous ice ages. Just how that dust affects the ice is still up for some debate. Adding to that debate, a recent paper by researchers at Arizona State University and the University of Washington has laid out a map between the dust content of a glacier and the brightness of its ice.Continue reading “Dusty Snow on Mars Could be Melting Just Below the Surface”
Potentially More Subsurface Lakes Found on Mars
One of the hardest things to reconcile in science is when new data either complicates or refutes previously findings. It’s even more difficult when those findings were widely publicized and heralded around the community. But that is how science works – the theories must fit the data. So when a team from JPL analyzed data from Mars Express about the Martian South Pole, they realized the findings announced in 2018 about subsurface lakes on Mars might have been more fraught than they had originally thought.Continue reading “Potentially More Subsurface Lakes Found on Mars”
What’s Causing Those Landslides on Mars? Maybe Underground Salt and Melting Ice
Changes in Mar’s geography always attract significant scientific and even public attention. A hope for signs of liquid water (and therefore life) is likely one of the primary driving forces behind this interest. One particularly striking changing feature is the Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) originally found by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Now, scientists at the SETI Institute have a modified theory for where those RSLs might develop – a combination of water ice and salt just under the Martian surface.Continue reading “What’s Causing Those Landslides on Mars? Maybe Underground Salt and Melting Ice”