Mars once had water. Scientists have long been analysing the data pertaining to the red planet. The current pictures show Mars marked by endless red desert plains.
Though, it was not always like that. A new research by NASA says, water existed and flowed on its surface longer than previously estimated.
The Red Planet, Mars, rippled with rivers and ponds just like Earth and it was billions of years ago.
These insights from Mars provide a potential habitat for microbial life. But that water evaporated as Mar’s atmosphere thinned over time.
Earlier, it was believed that the water evaporated about three billion years ago. But now, two scientists, after studying the data taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found evidence which has suddenly changed the timeline significantly.
The new NASA research reveals that there was liquid water on Mars as recently as 2–2.5 billion years ago.
Water flowed on Mars until very recently
What does it mean? That water flowed on Mars a billion years more than previous estimates. For reaching a reliable conclusion, the scientists relied on the chloride salt deposits left behind by the evaporating icy meltwater.
They found that certain valley networks on Mars suggested water flowed there until very recently, but there was no conclusive evidence.
However, the presence of liquid water is confirmed by the salt deposits, which are the first mineral evidence.
Sunset From Mars | Here’s How it Looks
These findings were published in the open-access AGU Advances journal. Humans may now be more interested in knowing about how long microbial life could have survived on Mars.
The study’s lead authors were Ellen Leask and Caltech professor Bethany Ehlmann. They used data from an MRO instrument called Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars. Researchers mapped the chloride salts across Mars’ southern hemisphere.
NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter was launched in 2001. It detected salt crystals for the first time 14 years ago. MRO, on the other hand, has higher-resolution instruments than Odyssey. It has also been studying the salts on the red planet.
ALSO READ | Climate Change May Cause Floods Over East Asia’s Mountain Region