Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Proof of Water on Mars

There has been previous evidence of water found on Mars by the rovers, but recently the best evidence found so far has been announced by NASA.   There are currently two rovers and three orbiters studying our sister planet.  Recently NASA announced that they may have evidence that water may still exist underground in the crevices inside the McLaughlin Crater. 

The McLaughlin Crater is 57 miles across and 1.4 miles deep (2.2 km). A combination of clues suggests this deep crater once held a lake fed by groundwater. That’s deep enough to have allowed water to remain hidden and is also in the right geographical location for underground water to pool. The crater sits at the low end of a regional slope several hundreds of miles long on the western side of the Arabia Terra region,  The crater is marked by small channels as well as evidence that there may have at one time been a small lake.  For the first time NASA has been able to measure the age of deposits in the crater.  The analysis using measurements of the rock's potassium and argon content by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover yielded an estimate that it is 3.86 billion to 4.56 billion years old.

Scientists also found evidence that the layered rocks at the bottom of the crater contain traces of carbonates and clay minerals. On Earth, the only way these rocks only form in the presence of water.   Also, if there is or was water buried underground on Mars, it is possible that life did evolve on Mars at some point in the past.  On Earth, simple microbes living up to three miles underground account for a significant percentage of the entire planet's living matter. These underground life forms are largely primitive microbes, but life is life.   If simple life evolved on the primitive planet Earth, it is possible that similar microbes at one point evolved on Mars as well.
In addition, the Curiosity rover has found gravel deposits with rounded pebbles that could have only been eroded round by the movement of flowing water.
Below is a close up of the same picture shown side by side with a similar photo from Earth.
More stream flow evidence is shown in the sedimentary rock deposits shown in the photo below.


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