The potential presence of water on Mars has fascinated scientists and citizens since we first began exploring its surface. Now, researchers have discovered new evidence that rivers once flowed on the red planet.
In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers outlined how they used high-resolution imagery from the HiRISE camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to discover sediment deposits about 200 meters (656 feet) high on the planet’s surface. These deposits, which are twice as high as the White Cliffs of Dover and 1.5 kilometers wide, indicating that large volumes of water flowed on Mars billions of years ago.
Lead author, Francesco Salese, from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, explains that while we do not have the ability to physically climb and analyze these deposits, their striking resemblance to sedimentary rocks on Earth suggest that these rivers flowed for thousands of years.
On Earth, geologists study sedimentary rocks for insights into the composition of the planet millions of years ago. The presence of similar deposits on Mars offers exciting potential to discover more about the history of the red planet.