River Ran on the Mars 3.5 Billion Years Ago: European Space Agency

Jan 19, 2013 14:09 IST

The European Space Agency released surprising pictures of the remains of huge river which ran across the Red Planet, Mars at some point of time, on 17 January 2013. The images which were captured by the ESA’s Mars Express showed Reull Vallis, the river-like structure, which is believed to have formed when water ran from the surface of Mars in distant past.

The Reull Vallis, cut a steep-sided channel through Promethei Terra Highlands and then ran towards the floor of huge Hellas basin. The structure which surprised the astronomers stretches for around 900 miles or 1500 km across the Martian surface and also shows various tributaries. One of the tributaries was seen cutting the main valley towards the upper side in the north.

Experts from ESA opined that these images displayed a resemblance with the morphology which is found in various areas affected by glaciation on Earth. Planetary scientists, in the meanwhile opined that images represented the presence of high water or the glacial levels on Mars, before the water or ice evaporated.

ESA described that the sides of Reull Vallis were mainly sharp as well as steep in the images captures by the Mars Express. The parallel longitudinal features covered floor of the channel. The structures like these were believed to be formed due to passage of loose ice or debris during Amazonian period because of the glacial flow along the channel. These structures, it is believed, were formed somewhere around 3.5 billion years ago.

The lineated structures like these, which were rich in ice, were also found in the surrounding craters. Such images were useful because they provided the scientists and astronomers a glimpse into the past of the Red Planet.

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Read more Current Affairs on: Red Planet , European Space Agency , Mars

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