Discovered new ancient lakes on Mars

Analyzing the images of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists found several previously unknown lakes in the northern region of Mars, known as Arabia Terra. Studies showed that they did not appear and disappeared instantly, but existed for millions of years.

An ancient lake (left) found on Mars. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona

Arabia Terra

The researchers used a number of scientific instruments located on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in order to find new traces of the existence of ancient lakes on the surface of the red planet. To do this, they used the CTX context camera, the HiRISE high-resolution imaging science experiment, and the THEMIS infrared camera.

Their target was approximately 22,000 km2 in an area in the northern hemisphere of Mars known as Terra Arabia. It occupies an intermediate position between the highlands located to the south of it and the huge northern depression in which the ocean once existed.

The peculiarity of Arabia Terra is that it is one of the oldest regions of Mars, here you can find rocks formed more than 3.7 billion years ago. Scientists decided to look for signs of ancient lakes in this area to find out if there was liquid water on Mars in those ancient times. The results are published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Ancient lakes

In the valleys of the high-altitude region located south of Arabia Terra, traces of lakes are common. However, they have not yet been found in the region itself. However, using data from MRO, scientists were able to identify as many as seven lakes.

Interestingly, all open reservoirs have an irregular shape. This is very different from the lakes that once existed in the high-altitude valleys of Mars. Those were mostly round in shape. In addition, lakes on Arabia Terra had streams that flowed in and out of them, they were part of a more complex hydrological system.

After studying them in more detail, scientists found indications of repeated changes in the water level, removal cones and catchment basins. All this indicates that the lakes did not arise once and did not disappear immediately after that.

They were part of a system that existed for a significant period of Martian history, known as the Noachian. The first signs of life appeared on earth at this time. It is quite possible that it will also be found in the ancient lakes of Arabia Terra.

According to phys.org

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