Go fishing! Scientists amazed by ancient river on Mars
River was 900 miles long and 1,000 feet deep.
Mars is still an amazing planet, but billions of years ago, it must have been something even more remarkable. The Mars Express spacecraft has produced a stunning new image of a massive riverbed that was once filled with water providing more evidence of the rich, and watery history of the Red Planet.
The second reason is to ask if Mars can support human colonization sometime in the future. If water still exists on Mars, then where can it be found and can it be extracted to support colonization? It is thought by scientists that at some point, the future of humanity lies amongst the stars. To prepare the way, pioneering work must be done. This is part of that work.
Incidentally, the search for life is more of a secondary quest, with the best hopes being that some form of microbial life once existed on the planet during its warmer, wetter past. However, the likelihood of such a discovery varies from virtually nil to almost certain depending on which scientists are asked and their perspective on the data. Nonetheless, this is not the primary focus on Mars.
The great "river-like structure" as scientists describe the canyon in the image, is Reull Vallis, a broad, dry river flanked by ancient bluffs. Measurements suggest the river would have been 4 miles wide and as much as 1,000 feet deep, meandering for 900 miles before empyting into the vast primeval Hellas basin.
The river, like any other on Earth, was fed by smaller tributaries, which also appear in the high-resolution photographs. They also say the region shows evidence that it was once covered with glaciers.
Water likely flowed though Reull Vallis somewhere around 3.5 to 1.8 billion years ago, before Mars finally became a dry planet. Mars didn't become dry all at once, but gradually lost its surface moisture and became cold over a long period spanning millions to billions of years. Why this happened remains a mystery.
For scientists, seeing that Mars had a more Earth-like climate than previously thought encourages them to redouble their research. Dedicated as ever, they hope to decipher to the silent testament of Mars's dry rivers and to learn what they have to say about Earth's future.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- Debate between scientists over details of evolution becomes heated
- DRAMATIC DEATH IN SPACE - Astronomers watch as an entire galaxy bleeds to death before their eyes
- Duck and Cover! Asteroid 2014 DX110 will buzz Earth today and you can watch it happen!
- 330-foot long aircraft hailed the largest in the world
- GIBBERISH! More than 100 articles in scientific journals found to balderdash
- New super pill could prolong human longevity
- Vintage cheese - found on the chests of 3,500-year-old mummies!
- Boeing producing 'BLACK' a super-spy phone worthy of James Bond
- Why the Kepler planet discovery changes ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?