Tomorrow is Here

NASA Spacecraft Shows Diverse, Wet Environments on Ancient Mars

by on Jul.16, 2008, under Around the Solar System, Newsflash

WASHINGTON

Two studies based on data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed that the Red Planet once hosted vast lakes, flowing rivers and a variety of other wet environments that had the potential to support life.

One study, published in the July 17 issue of Nature, shows that vast regions of the ancient highlands of Mars, which cover about half the planet, contain clay minerals, which can form only in the presence of water. Volcanic lavas buried the clay-rich regions during subsequent, drier periods of the planet’s history, but impact craters later exposed them at thousands of locations across Mars. The data for the study derives from images taken by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, or CRISM, and other instruments on the orbiter.

Read more on the NASA site…

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