Mars has long lost its atmosphere and almost all the water that exists on the Red Planet today in the form of dry ice. Today, the planet is 1000 times drier than the driest desert on Earth. But once upon a time deep and full-flowing rivers flowed through the ancient Martian landscape.Earlier this year, NASA’s Perseverance rover, the size of a car, found evidence of the existence of a rushing and fast river. The waterway, which evaporated billions of years ago, left traces of pebble-rich detrital material that was once brought here by a powerful stream.
Recently, the Space Agency’s rover, exploring the Jezero crater on Mars, found evidence that there was much more water in the past. As shown in the image below, Perseverance took pictures of a large field scattered with boulders. These large rocks were once moved by the rushing flow of the river, similar to how such rocks move on the Earth.
The photo also shows the traces of the rover left. After the autonomous laboratory crossed the boulder field.
NASA planetary researchers are now assessing the appearance of these rivers in the past. They knew that the waterways were rushing and powerful. “Scientists are discussing the river that flowed in this place: similar to the Mississippi, which snakes through the landscape, or rivers like the Platte in Nebraska, forming small islands of sediment, which are called sandbanks,” NASA explained earlier.
Rock nerds rejoice! From big boulders to tiny pebbles, the ancient riverbed I’m exploring right now has it all. Washed in from upstream, these fragments can help my team uncover the river’s past and its potential for supporting ancient life. Read more: https://t.co/s0hgK7rOKp pic.twitter.com/FDnzZz4eF3
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) July 19, 2023
Quite a lot of evidence has already been collected about the fact that Mars was once an extremely wet place. Dried-up lakes, dried-up streams and even evidence of ancient waves have already been found. The question that confronts us is whether any primitive life has managed to develop in the waterways and humid environment of Mars.
One of the main goals of Perseverance is to search for signs of ancient microbial life, according to NASA. So far, no evidence of life on Mars has been found. But the secret of its existence can be revealed by the next Mars Sample Return mission, which aims to collect samples left by the rover on the surface of the Red Planet.
Earlier we reported how the speed of rivers on Titan turned out to be very similar to Earth’s.
According to NASA
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