The NASA Curiosity rover has discovered proof indicating that Mars was previously a planet covered in flowing rivers.

admin October 26, 2023
Updated 2023/10/26 at 8:52 AM

Researchers at NASA’s curiosity rover recently analyzed the data collected and discovered significant evidence suggesting the presence of life on Mars during its ancient era.

Their findings, which have been published in Geophysical Research Letters, indicate that the planet was once home to an extensive network of rivers that provided a nurturing water source.

This fascinating discovery adds further momentum to the notion of a thriving “planet of rivers” on Mars in the past.

“We have discovered compelling evidence that Mars was likely a planet characterized by rivers,” Benjamin Cardenas, a geoscientist at Penn State University and lead author of the research, stated.

Cardenas and his team arrived at this hypothesis by examining a combination of images from the Curiosity rover, sedimentary rock scans from beneath the Gulf of Mexico, and various computer simulations.

Through these analyses, the team was able to identify remnants of ancient rivers in multiple craters on Mars that have been eroded over time.

Using the data gathered, the Curiosity rover was able to pinpoint specific landforms referred to as bench-and-nose features, where steep and shallow slopes are known as “benches” and shortened ridges are called “noses”.

Why is this significant?
Rivers play a crucial role on Earth by facilitating chemical, nutrient, and sediment cycles that are essential for life. This recent finding reveals additional evidence of ancient rivers on Mars, enhancing humanity’s quest to identify signs of life on the planet.

According to Cardenas, this research suggests that Mars may have had a greater number of rivers than previously thought, presenting a more hopeful outlook on the possibility of ancient life on the planet.

This discovery presents a glimpse of Mars as a place where favorable conditions for life were widespread in the past.

Does the information about rivers on Mars come as a recent discovery? No, it does not. The existence of Martian rivers has been known since 1971 when the Mariner 9 spacecraft provided images of dried-up river channels and floodplains on the planet’s surface.

Furthermore, subsequent missions have identified ridges that were likely formed by sediment in ancient river channels, and Mars rovers have discovered mineral evidence like sulfur-containing compounds that form in water.

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