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Mars Science

Ancient Flood Channels Cut Deep Into Mars 46

Posted by samzenpus
from the high-water-mark dept.
astroengine writes "Relatively recently, water blasted out from an underground aquifer on Mars, carving out deep flood channels in the surface that were later buried by lava flows, radar images complied from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter probe shows. The channels are at least twice as deep as previous estimates for Marte Vallis, an expanse of plains just north of the Martian equator that is the youngest volcanic region on the planet. "We see similar channels elsewhere on Mars and they are not filled with lava so it's important to be able to compare different channel systems, and also similar systems on Earth, to give us clues about how they formed," lead researcher Gareth Morgan, with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, told Discovery News."
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Ancient Flood Channels Cut Deep Into Mars

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  • Re:Bored with Mars (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wonda (457426) on Friday March 08, 2013 @08:18AM (#43114489)

    mars is nice dirt, you can dig in it etc, the icemoons are.. ice, so it's much harder to dig and there's nothing much to see on the surface, so they might just think it's too hard for now, even if you find a hole in the ice that just means you lost your robot :).

  • Re:Relative Time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @08:46AM (#43114585)

    They aren't talking relative to human history. They are talking about the geological history of Mars, which has several distinct periods that cover billions of years. And for that 500 million years is fairly recent.

    If you don't like this phrasing, I strongly recommend you don't talk with geologists, planetary scientists, or astronomers. All of them would consider something that happened within the last 500 million years to be fairly recent.

  • Re:Bored with Mars (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Friday March 08, 2013 @09:09AM (#43114675)

    If Mars had life and is now a 'dead dustball' then maybe something went wrong that would be useful for us neighbours to know about?

    The lesson is to never lose your protective magnetic field. That would be..., 'bad'.

  • Mars Express (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @10:07AM (#43115147)

    What saddens me is that Mars Express was sent by the ESA and is orbiting Mars as we speak carrying RADAR for just this kind of thing (MARSIS). How many times have we seen their results in the news? I expect the next time there's a good idea for a Mars mission it'll struggle for funding because non-one remembers anything good coming from Mars Express. I'm sure there's plenty of really good science going on, but we never hear about it.

    We just can't get our PR act together over here.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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