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Water could have been on Mars more recently than we thought

Perhaps the greatest point in Mars research right currently is understanding the historical backdrop of water in the world. Researchers realize that there was once bountiful fluid water on its surface, however presently all that water has vanished and the planet is bone-dry. The last water on Mars’ surface today is as water ice close to its posts or in profound ravines. To get what befallen all the water which was available billions of years prior, scientists are attempting to sort out a land history of the planet.

Most scientists felt that the water on Mars dissipated around 3 billion years prior, however new examination is scrutinizing this figure. Late information from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) proposes that there might have been water on Mars as of late as 2 billion years prior, meaning we might need to re-design how we might interpret the planet’s set of experiences.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used its Context Camera to capture this image of Bosporos Planum, a location on Mars. The white specks are salt deposits found within a dry channel. The largest impact crater in the scene is nearly 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) across.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used its Context Camera to capture this image of Bosporos Planum, a location on Mars. The white specks are salt deposits found within a dry channel. The largest impact crater in the scene is nearly 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) across. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The researchers used data from the MRO to look at salt deposits that were left behind when water evaporated. They looked for these deposits in areas with impact craters caused by asteroid impacts, which can be used for dating as more craters generally mean older terrain. By combining information about the number of craters and the extent of salt deposits, they could estimate the date of water evaporation.

“What is amazing is that after more than a decade of providing high-resolution image, stereo, and infrared data, MRO has driven new discoveries about the nature and timing of these river-connected ancient salt ponds,” said Bethany Ehlmann, deputy principal investigator for MRO’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars instrument, in a statement.

MRO has been capturing high-resolution images of the Mars surface since it arrived at the planet in 2006, and it continues to provide more data to help understand the planet.

“Part of the value of MRO is that our view of the planet keeps getting more detailed over time,” said Leslie Tamppari, the mission’s deputy project scientist at JPL. “The more of the planet we map with our instruments, the better we can understand its history.”

The research is published in the journal AGU Advances.

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