ESA Identified Ancient Martian Rivers, Boosting The Theories That Mars Housed Life Once

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New images from ESA’s Mars Express orbiter revealed irrefutable evidence that, during its early history, liquid water flowed on the Red Planet. More specifically, ESA identified ancient Martian rivers, something that boosted the theories that Mars housed life once.

“We see Mars as a cold, dry world, but plenty of evidence suggests that this was not always the case. Research in past years instead increasingly indicates that the planet once had a thicker, denser atmosphere that was able to lock in far greater amounts of warmth, and therefore facilitate and support the flow of liquid water on the surface below,” ESA wrote.

As ESA said, while we see Mars a dead planet, nowadays, about 4 billion years ago, the Red Planet seems to have had rivers with liquid water. That would also suggest that there could’ve been life on Mars. But that’s not a novelty in particular since previous orbiters, and Mars rovers also observed and river canals.

Have Mars Housed Life? Possibly, As ESA Identified New Ancient Martian Rivers

“The valley system appears to branch out significantly, forming a pattern a little like tree branches stemming from a central trunk. This kind of morphology is known as ‘dendritic’ – the term is derived from the Greek word for tree (dendron), and it is easy to see why. Various channels split off from the central valley, forming little tributaries that often split again on their journey outwards,” ESA wrote.

The same systems of dendritic structures are visible on Earth, too, in our planet’s drainage systems. “In the case of this image of Mars, these branching channels were likely formed by surface water runoff from a once-strong river flow, combined with extensive rainfall,” the European Space Agency added.

In 2020, ESA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, will launch the so-called ExoMars mission. The rover would have the goal of drilling into the Mars surface in search for signs of life, be it past or present.

Vadim Ioan Caraiman

Vadim is a passionate writer on various topics but especially on stuff related to health, technology, and science. Therefore, for Great Lakes Ledger, Vadim will cover health and Sci&Tech news.