Wednesday, March 6, 2019

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Groundwater on Mars}

Groundwater is everywhere! Last month, scientists used a trio of instruments -  the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) aboard the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, NASA's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), and the Context Camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – to explore several craters in Mars’ northern hemisphere.

Scientists had long predicted that early Mars was covered in water. As the climate changed, the water was suspected to have seeped underground to become groundwater.

The pictures that were taken of the craters showed features suggesting that there used to pools of water that flowed and receded over time, marking the first geological evidence of a planet-wide groundwater system.

Scientists were even able to estimate water levels from the past and showed that they matched up with the predicted shorelines of an ocean that many believe used to exist on Mars around 3.5 billion years ago.  The ocean and system of underground lakes were previously only predicted through advanced computer models.

Since water is an important indicator of life, this finding could help researchers find locations on Mars that most likely would contain evidence extraterrestrial life.

Frannie is very excited to follow this story as it develops and hopes you’ll join her explore more water in space.

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