Image of the Day: The Lost Crystal Ice Caves - A Biological Mystery Beneath the Earth
NASA Mission to Probe for Mars Lost Atmosphere & Clues to Life

Image of the Day: Water Found in Mars Megacanyon


Melas Chasma, a huge canyon forming part of the 4000-kilometer Valles Marineris rift valley on Mars, plunges 9 kilometers below the surrounding plains in this image, which was taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, making it one of the deepest depressions on Mars.

The image also shows evidence that water once flowed and lakes once stood on the Martian surface.  White lines are channels cut by water and lighter-coloured regions indicate deposits of sulphate components.   Rock formations display evidence of flow textures, indicating that they were once deposited by liquid water, water ice or mud. 

Image credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)/Released by the German Aerospace Center



Kind of a misleading title...

Amazing! Interesting there is no information about the plains above. On Earth, such features can indicate the land was under water at some point, so it's impressive to see flat plains on Mars at that higher elevation above the cliff.

So what's the discovery? We've known that Mars had erosion-formations for years

How can we be so sure that it was water that made those formations? I'm not so convinced there ever was water on Mars...

There are many other chemical substances (other than h2o) which in liquid form mimic the properties of water. Super-heated rock (magma) could've produced those features just as easily...Mars was (is?) a very volcanically active world. With no plate tectonics, magma pours out from fissures and moves over the crust producing all kinds of lava shoots, braided trails, etc.

If you take Saturn's moon titan, erosion from liquid methane (produced by cryovolcanoes) produces similar erosional features seen on Earth.

I'm willing to bet that that's a lava flow and not a water flow pattern. It's nothing like a river or glacial flow here on Earth, the channel is too wide and the elevation of the mountain range would freeze the water at the source.

"Mars was (is?) a very volcanically active world."

Hi Matt,

"Was" is correct. Today, and volcanically speaking, it's dead, Jim. Even the iron core is frozen solid. Regarding Titan, don't forget that it has methane rain as well as cryovolcanism. Are we looking at (high temp) volcanic rock, here? And where's the fissure that spouted the magma?

On the other hand, we know that deposits of calcium sulfate dihydrate (better known as gypsum) exist on Mars, confirming that liquid water existed on its surface for some time.


Colonize Planet Mars For What?

12/06/06, Scientists are elated because there are,
Signs of water flowing freely on the Planet Mars,
And this according to their community is by far,
The most exciting thing since the forming of stars.

However, don’t get on your high horse too soon,
First mankind has to spend time on the Moon,
Then again, here’s my opinion for what it’s worth,
We should be more concerned about life on Earth.

War in a foreign land that many are calling lost,
Way too many limbs, lives, with billions as the cost,
Looks like not just the soldiers are coming home blind,
Mars is front-page news, what’s going on in the mind?

MS, autism, cancer, Alzheimer’s, AIDS but first it’s HIV,
Not just confined to monkeys but humans in every country,
No cure, arm and a leg for medicine only to slow it down,
Poorest nations can’t dig graves fast enough & bury underground.

I dare not talk about crime because that’s a sermon on it’s own,
Finally, in Ohio an investigation into fraudulent mortgage loans,
Cleveland Clinic makes billions but yearly taxes that do not pay,
Something about being a non-profit organization, or so they say.

Certainly tops in medical research and they are health care pioneers,
Money making staffers reside outside the city because crime they fear,
Then no one worth anything wants their child enrolled in public schools,
Guess the powers that be, in city hall are just robots without any clues.

CEO’s in salary, bonuses and buyouts are paid in dollars & stocks billions,
Workers laid off, lost pensions, no health care benefits, number in the millions,
Reverend Rodgers and Deacon Anderson are two at Good Hope Baptist Church,
Working over 75 years collectively losing everything, who cares if they were hurt?

Where is the President, Congress, The Senate or members of The House?
Snubbing their noses like great big elephants while being effective as a mouse,
They promised if we’d vote for them, these politicians would have our back,
And this was long before anyone had ever heard of a desert called Iraq.

On this side of the, “free world” we’ve spent billions to bail out banks,
While in, “less friendly” nations we’ll spend billions on guns and tanks,
To close the economic gap for them as ours widens don’t you think?
Our domestic beer vs. Cuban cigars & imported Cognac they drink.

Congressional approval signed by the President they pass a bill to rob,
Real hard working Americans like janitors protesting loss of their jobs,
We complain to our leaders but they have nepotism from Uncle Sam,
Do our votes really mean anything, is this just another political scam?

October 2010, again we cry water on a plant distant as the stars,
But did they find equal housing, education and happy hour bars?
Cure for cancer, MS, racism, hatred, an end to domestic abuse?
So if it has the same old stuff here on earth then what’s the use?

I wonder how or what will be said in the upper echelon conversation,
Most can only imagine the steps necessary in making a reservation,
“Oh you should have been there, we danced graciously amid the stars,
As we dined on starship shrimp & lobster, at the Hilton on Planet Mars.”

By Luke Easter

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