Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

River water persisted on Mars much later than thought

Ancient Mars rivers were twice as wide as those on earth, study indicates “The Source a Mystery” –Ancient Rivers Ran Through Mars
Sandra Phillips | 29 March, 2019, 21:29

Scientists have previously used electromagnetic echoes sent from radar-probing spacecraft orbiting Mars to search for water beneath the surface of the Red Planet.

Intense flow may have occurred in the river channels between 3.6 and 1 billion years ago, and even after that, researchers found. "Indeed, even on ancient Mars, when it was wet enough for rivers some of the time, the rest of the data looks like Mars was extremely cold and dry most of the time", Kite said. Climate Of Ancient Mars Still A Mystery While the team unlocked new knowledge on the existence of rivers on Mars, the revelation made it more hard for scientists to figure out the climate on the Red Planet billions of years ago. For instance, the width and steepness of the riverbeds and the size of the gravel tell scientists regarding the force of the water stream, and the amount of the gravel constrains the volume of water coming through. The age of surrounding terrain also helped them date the riverbeds.

Mars' rivers flowed intensely and may have persisted as recently as one billion years ago, reveals a survey that found that the red planet's rivers were wider than those on Earth today.

The rivers also apparently ran strong until the very end, when Mars dried out for good.

Kite said that this work implies that something in the current science of planets and the early solar system is wrong, because everything scientists know suggests that the rivers on Mars should have been small and temporary, if they existed at all.

Wall reports that the longevity of the rivers suggests that the history of the Martian climate is more complex than we realize.

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The researchers aren't the first to suggest that Mars had multiple wet periods.

Heggy and Abotalib hypothesize that a deeper and more extensive groundwater systems stretches far beyond Mars' south pole.

However, this theory poses a problem as the Sun is considered to be 20 to 30 percent weaker compared to today so it couldn't generate the much-needed heat to trigger condensation in the planet.

If the rivers had been brief or flowed only part of the time, it still would have been challenging to explain their existence.

It's a puzzle why ancient Mars had liquid water. "However, this challenge is not met by most existing models of Mars' planetary climate evolution", the study said. It helps us to understand the similarities to our own planet and if we are going through the same climate evolution and the same path that Mars is going.

The 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) aircraft, a technology demonstration that will launch with NASA's next Mars rover in July 2020, aced its first-ever test flight under Red Planet conditions, agency officials announced Thursday (March 28). There were hundreds of these runoffs across the planet, particularly since Martian rivers are known to be much bigger than the ones on Earth.

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