CM – Researchers discover water in a vast gorge on Mars

0

December 16 (UPI) – A European spacecraft orbiting Mars has identified a « water-rich area » the size of the Netherlands in the heart of a canyon system that dwarfs Earth’s Grand Canyon.
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced on Wednesday that its ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which the agency launched in 2016 together with Russia’s Roscosmos, had detected “significant amounts of water” in Mars’ extensive Valles Marineris canyon system. The researchers published the results in the journal Icarus.
Advertisement

December 16 (UPI) – A European spacecraft orbiting Mars has an « area of ​​water » the size of the Earth at the heart of a canyon system that dwarfs Earth’s Grand Canyon The Netherlands identified.

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced on Wednesday that its ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which the agency launched in 2016 together with Russia’s Roscosmos, has detected “significant amounts of water” in the vast Valles Marineris canyon system of Mars have. The researchers published the results in the journal Icarus.

Water exists as ice in the cold polar regions of the planet, but temperatures near the planet’s equators are not cold enough to keep exposed water stable, according to the European Space Agency.

Alexey Malakhov, a Researchers at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who co-authored a study on the results, said in a statement that the unexpected amount of water « is very similar to the Earth’s permafrost regions. » Water in these regions is stored in ice, which remains permanently beneath the dry soil due to the cold temperatures, he said.

The water could be in the form of ice or chemically bound to other minerals in the soil, according to the European Space Agency. Malakhov said that water likely exists in the form of ice because other observations show that minerals in this area of ​​Mars don’t typically contain much water.

« This finding is an amazing first step, but we need more observations to sure to know what form of water we are dealing with, ”said Håkan Svedhem, co-author of the study and researcher at the agency’s ESTEC in the Netherlands.

Together with a rover and a surface platform, the Trace Gas Orbiter is one of the two ExoMars missions aimed at determining if life ever existed on Mars.

Researchers cast doubts about the search in September, suggesting that the relatively small planet may not be big enough to hold enough water to sustain life.

NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance found that Mars’ Jezero crater once contained a lake and saw violent flooding that carried boulders into the crater, according to a study published in October.

Previous missions, such as the European Space Agency’s Mars Express, found only small amounts of water at lower latitudes on the planet’s surface, according to the agency.

« Knowing more about how and where water exists on Mars today is important in understanding what happened to the once abundant water on Mars and helps us find habitable environments, possible Evidence of past life and organic matter from the earliest days of Mars, « said Colin Wilson, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter project scientist for the agency.

The water hidden beneath the planet’s surface was discovered by the FREND instrument on the Trace Gas Orbiter which, according to the agency, mapped hydrogen in the top soil of the planet. The water-rich area intersects Candor Chaos Canyon in an area that was of particular interest during the search. It is part of the Valles Marineris canyon system, which is ten times longer and five times deeper than the Earth’s Grand Canyon.

The discovery makes the Valles Marineris a promising area for future human exploration, according to the agency.

« With TGO we can look up to a meter below this layer of dust and see what is really going on under the surface of Mars – and above all, locate water-rich ‘oases’ that could not be discovered with earlier instruments », Igor Mitrofanov , a researcher at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Keywords:

Mars,Valles Marineris,European Space Agency,ExoMars,Grand Canyon,Mars, Valles Marineris, European Space Agency, ExoMars, Grand Canyon,,,Mars,Space,European Space Agency,water,,

Donnez votre avis et abonnez-vous pour plus d’infos

[gs-fb-comments]

[comment]

[supsystic-newsletter-form id=4]

Vidéo du jour: