New research claims that long after the water evaporated from Mars, the planet still presented signs of streams originated from melting snow. This sparked the question: Does life exists on Mars?
The new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, claims that long after the waters had frozen and all the atmosphere had vanished, the Red Planet still had water. The microbial life existed for a longer time on Mars than initially thought, as the conclusion of the study shows.
Scientists compared images taken from the Global Surveyor probe owned by NASA and the European Space Agency‘s Mars Express alongside data from the JPL’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The result showed evidence that Mars still had a significant amount of water two or three billion years ago.
Does life exists on Mars?
Judging from fresh shallow valleys revealed in the images received, the scientists had discovered that those valleys redirected water into some sort of lake basins. Several of those water basins overflowed and filled with water, evidence indicating that the amount of water that was occupying the surface at the time was considerable.
Still, scientists claim that even if the water was still present on the planet, the climate would have been a cold one. One of the recently discovered lakes was approximately the size of Lake Tahoe, a lake situated on the border of California and Nevada. It has a capacity of about 45 cubic miles of water.
This Martian red-like lake overflowed into a gargantuan basin that was able to hold around 670 cubic miles of water. By comparison, lake Ontario and Lake Erie hold 393 cubic miles and 116 cubic miles, respectively.
The team of researchers estimated the age of the lakes by looking at the valleys that were located in the lake streams sites. Specifically, researchers wanted to see if the valleys were carved into the debris created by over twenty impact craters in a location where the age of the craters was previously determined.
Researchers believe the majority of Mars’ atmosphere was lost to space shortly after that, cooling the planet down considerably. The new cold climate was the result of this process.
Scientists claim that it’s still unclear how that snow melted. One of the possibilities is a shift in the tilt of Mars’ axis, which made the poles be illuminated better.
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Image Source Wikipedia