Fast and furious floods shaped Martian surface

US scientists have discovered that overflowing lakes on Mars caused floods that carved out a quarter of the planet’s river valleys, creating deep chasms and shifting vast amounts of sediment. Today, the Red Planet is a cold and dry desert, but in its early days it had an active water cycle. Before about 3.5 billion … Continue reading Fast and furious floods shaped Martian surface

When Mars was like Canada

Ancient river channels on Mars may have formed beneath thick ice sheets, scientists say. It’s an important find, because many have long wondered why Mars is covered with tens of thousands of ancient river valleys, even though climate models have a hard time explaining how it could have been warm enough for flowing water. “It’s … Continue reading When Mars was like Canada

That’s not lava, it’s mud

Lava-like flows on Mars are more likely caused by mud than lava, according to a new study. A European team used the Mars Chamber at the Open University in the UK to recreate the surface temperature and atmospheric pressure on Mars and compare them with a simulation of conditions on Earth. They observed that the … Continue reading That’s not lava, it’s mud

Mars rovers tested in Flinders Ranges

A UNSW astrobiologist has put the technology of NASA’s soon-to-be-launched Perseverance Rover to the test to find out how it will fare detecting signs of life on Mars. And in a paper published in respected journal Astrobiology recently, UNSW Sydney’s Bonnie Teece says the technology hits the mark. Teece, along with scientists from Macquarie University … Continue reading Mars rovers tested in Flinders Ranges

The Martian weather cake

The Martian ice cap is like a cake; every layer tells a story. In this case, the story is one of climate change on Mars. This image of an exposed section of the north polar layered deposits (NPLD) looks much like a slice of layered tiramisu. The NPLD is made up of water-ice and dust particles … Continue reading The Martian weather cake

Pilbara rocks hold clues to life on Mars

NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) scientists have spent a week in the remote outback of Australia for specialist training in identifying signs of life in ancient rocks. The trip served as preparation for NASA’s and ESA’s Mars 2020 missions, which are designed specifically to search for past life in rocks that are as old … Continue reading Pilbara rocks hold clues to life on Mars