Researchers have observed what is accepted to be the youngest lake on Mars, testing our past knowledge of the Red Planet, and displaying the best place yet to scan for ancient alien life.
It’s a long held conviction by researchers that in spite of its infertile surface today, Mars used to be submerged under vast seas billions of years ago. At that point, at what researchers assessment to be 3.7 to 3.8 billion years prior, the planet’s environment was cleared up into space, bringing with it all the remaining bodies of liquid water.
Be that as it may, another research study published in the journal Geology revealed a basin that may have housed a waterway 36 million years ago — an entire 200 million years after researchers think there was the last drop of liquid water on Mars.
Since water is the essential element forever, the new finding not just challenges already held assumptions about the Red Planet, but also gives another reason to search for confirmation of life.
The discoveries originated from an investigation of salt deposits in a 18-square-mile region close to the Martian equator, around 100 miles from NASA’s Opportunity rover landing site.
“Much the same as on Earth, when salts left some place, that likely implies that water was there,” said Brian Hynek, lead author of the study “So these are pointers that water was there in some structure.”
With a specific end goal to make sense of how long ago body of water had been there, and how quite a bit of it was there, the researchers needed to explore the age and source of the salt deposits next. To do so, they needed to tally the quantity of impact cavities and measure their size over the area.
With pictures taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the planet since 2006, the research group utilized computerized terrain mapping and mineralogical investigation of the ranges encompassing the basin to find its age. The confirmation presented in the investigation proposed that the lake moving through the basin developed sufficiently vast to flood it, and later made channels.
As they followed these channels, the group observed that they streamed over volcanic fields assessed to be 3.6 billion years of age, in this way demonstrating that the lakes themselves must be younger.
“Having a later phase of water on Mars is likely to be something good for the potential for life on that planet in light of the fact that it gave life more opportunity to be considered,” Hykes pointed, clarifying the essentialness of their discoveries. “Life on Earth had begun when this lake was active so by that similarity, we can say potential Mars had microbial life and this was a good spot where it could have dwelled.”
All the more essentially, the researchers believe that these most recent discoveries will make the basin an imminent touchdown site for the NASA Mars rover that is planned to launch in 2020.
Hynek believes that the site’s presence brings up a few key issues that could possibly shape the future quest for ancient life on Mars.
“That is a very important question. Did Mars ever have life?” he said. “In the event that it did, would it say it was similar to Earth’s life or it was a different life structure? At least, every life on Earth requires water. This is one of the key necessities and here is a spot quite late-stage in Mars’ history where there was water around”.