Mars Probe Aids Research on Life Giving Worlds

NASA has released images from its rovers that illustrate a part of Mars where ancient lava behaved like liquid water. This site has been named, the Niagara Falls of Mars. These photos were sent back by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or MRO that was launched from earth in 2005 and has been sending images back to the surface of the planet soon after.

Image Details Reveal Red Planet’s Dynamic Past

The images are of the northern rim of a 30-kilometer sized crater within the western part of the Tharsis volcanic province. It implies lava surrounded the rim of the crater and even breached it at four locations to create lava waterfalls. One of these was in the northwest while the rest were situated in the north.

The lava falls left behind rough deposits along the walls of the crater that were juxtaposed by the smoother type of rock which formed the older features of the crater. At the same time, younger darker deposits of lava can be found at the bottom of the 30-kilometre crater; however, the lava falls did not flow so as to fill the base of the crater.


NASA claims that closer images detail the lava was able to breach the wall of the crater through a small hole which allowed the lava to flow through and form some of the stunning images which were eventually sent back to earth.

This is an interesting find considering water has been the focus of NASA as pertains the Martian missions since it holds similarities to our own planet and could be viable for colonization. Similarly, it was once a watery world though it also featured a lot of magmatic activity.

As such, the new pictures provide proof the planet itself was at one time far more live than it is at the present considering the molten lava which is spread across the surface.

Mars Probe Aids Research on Life Giving Worlds

Though, it is not the first evidence of volcanic activity on Mars. Experts have always theorized there was at one time, channels of lava on the red planet and even lava tubes within the subsurface that had a hand in shaping the geology of Mars.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been able to take thousands of photos over the years giving evidence of obscure features on the surface of the planet that were not available in the past. The orbiter even provided photos of other probes which were sent on prior and later missions conducting separate analyses on the planet below.

NASA, along with other space agencies, is especially interested in the study of Mars as it could hold their best chance of getting signs of life which existed in the past potentially within the solar system, outside of how it developed on earth.

Through the study of the Mars and its past, researchers may be able to learn more about the place of earth in the cosmos.

The study may also provide valuable material or guide processes on what to look for in the future when NASA places probes on planets outside of our solar system.

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