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First evidence of a global groundwater system found on Mars

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Twenty years ago, the question arose whether Mars was English: emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art…2934 & lang = en There was still plenty of room for water reserves today shifting the discussion to an assessment of the nature and size of these reserves, where they existed and what this means for the effort for life (or the remnants of it) on the Red Planet. Scientists with the European Space The agency has published the results of Mars Express's observation of 24 deep, enclosed craters in the northern hemisphere of Mars.

"Early Mars was a watery world, but as the planet's climate changed, this water retreated beneath the surface pools and" groundwater, "says lead author Francesco Sales of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. "We have traced this water in our study because its scale and role are controversial and we have found the first geological evidence for a planetary groundwater system on Mars."

The bottom of the impact crater had characteristics that would have formed only in the presence of water at depths between 4,000 and 4,500 meters. The different depths show that the water level has changed over time and declined.


/ Images: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS; Chart adapted by F. Salese et al.

The water level in the craters agrees well with the proposed water level in the Mars-Ocean hypothesis, which states that a global ocean in the Vastitas Borealis (picture above) has once covered the northern third of Mars that has at least two global ones Oceans existed in various places on Mars – one during the earliest days of the planet is immeasurable and persistent, and a smaller, shallower and less stubborn ocean (or a system of r rivers and lakes) that may have existed temporarily when in large quantities Volcanism or other geothermal activities that heated underground ice.

The existence of a groundwater system on Mars is compatible with these hypotheses. Crater lakes were linked by the same groundwater systems we see on Earth. Such similarities are a major reason why we believe that Mars has been supporting significant amounts of liquid water for a long time. We have found rocks whose formation on Earth depends on the presence of liquid water and large-scale features of the terrain, suggesting that erosion by water played a significant role in the weathering of the Martian landscape.

The frequency of such activity is decreasing After the transitions from the Mars Noahian period to the Hesperian, things start to get hot, although it is assumed that Mars has become much drier. The Amazonian era following the Noachian is characterized by the cold, dry Martian conditions that still dominate the planet today.

It is known that considerable amounts of ice still exist at the north pole of the planet, and it is believed that one more lake remains below the south polar icecap, much like the liquid lakes in the Antarctic on Earth. Liquid water still on Mars could be better described at this point than in Mars, given the depths it would be in. Occasionally there are traces of liquid on the surface, but no significant amount of free-flowing water has ever been observed.

The same team also discovered five specific craters where minerals were known to exist on Earth, including various clays, carbonates and silicates. Such basins could be ideal locations for the search for life that may have existed on Mars.

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