The Mars reconnaissance Orbiter has picked up evidence that an ancient megaflood may have occurred on the surface of Mars millions of years ago. This evidence is based on the fact that a certain part of Mars surface is lined with several channels, indicating possible flooding. A team of scientists used the photos from the Orbiter to create a three-dimensional map of the region and the channels that run underneath its plains.
The channels are hidden beneath the surface because the region used to be volcanically active, and therefore the lava from the volcanoes filled in the channels. These channels are much deeper than was previously thought, leading scientists to believe that the flooding was much more intense than expected. One possible theory of the cause of the flood is that the water came from deep reservoir and was unleashed by a volcanic explosion.
I think this is a significant discovery because it further supports the idea that there used to be water on Mars, and therefore possibly life as well. There are still many questions to be answered, such as why all of the water eventually dried up, but this discovery is definitely a step in the right direction. Being able to look not only at the surface of Mars, but below the surface as well will be critical in finding more evidence of the planet’s past.
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