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Rewriting the geologic history of Mars one megaflood at a time

2 Apr 2021, 12:00 UTC
Rewriting the geologic history of Mars one megaflood at a time
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Title: Deposits from giant floods in Gale crater and their implications for the climate of early Mars (Nature, open access)Authors: E. Heydari, J. F. Schroeder, F. J. Calef, J. Van Beek, S. K. Rowland, T. J. Parker & A. G. FairénFirst author affiliation: Department of Physics, Atmospheric Sciences, and Geoscience, Jackson State UniversityThanks to the 8-year trek of NASA’s intrepid Curiosity Rover (Fig. 1), Gale Crater is arguably the best-studied place on Mars. The crater has had a tumultuous history – it’s been filled to the brim with rock, then hollowed out again by wind to form a hill at its center, known as Mt. Sharp. It has housed small lakes and had parts of its rim destroyed by rivers. However, to fully understand Gale’s place in Mars’ potentially habitable past, these snapshots aren’t enough. Rover images show tantalizing hints of ancient water inside Gale crater perhaps a billion years before the most recent lakes, and where there was liquid water, there might have been promise for life. But life doesn’t just appear on a planet overnight! For an environment to go from habitable to inhabited takes time. So, how long did wet conditions last in Gale? So far there’s ...

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