New research at UBC suggests that the vast number of valleys scaring the Martian surface was carved by water flowing underneath the ice sheet. They were inspired by the Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, which looks dry and frigid. Researchers noted that the valleys on Mars resemble the appearance of the subglacial channels in Devon Island.
The research theorizes that if the valleys on Mars work the same way they do on Earth-in particular, those in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago-they would have been formed by water melting beneath glacial ice.
"For the very last 40 years, considering the fact that Mars's valleys ended up 1st learned, the assumption was that rivers after flowed on Mars, eroding and originating all of these valleys", claimed direct creator Anna Grau Galofre in a statement produced by the University of British Columbia.
"Imagine ice sheets that are kilometres thick, really, seriously thick", she explained. "And this landscape is constituted of several distinctive channels, expanded pathways like the plumbing of the ice". Scientists have analyzed more than 10,000 segments of valleys on Mars.
"It is like a time evolution of the weather that we're on the lookout at right here". There were the warm and wet periods that talked about the oceans. "And there had been the chilly and icy periods". "Climate modelling predicts that Mars' ancient climate was much cooler during the time of valley network formation", says Grau Galofre, now a SESE Exploration Post-doctoral Fellow at Arizona State University.
The study in Character Geoscience, which comes amid a flurry of new Mars missions making an attempt to uncover if the now-barren world ever hosted daily life, casts doubt on a dominant theory that the earth at the time experienced a heat, moist local climate with considerable liquid water that sculpted the landscape.
"That's basically not a bad factor in conditions of an natural environment to sustain lifetime".
Lake Vostok on Antarctica is covered by a thick sheet of ice but has plenty of life, such as bacteria, she said. "These results are the first evidence for extensive subglacial erosion driven by channelized meltwater drainage beneath an ancient ice sheet on Mars", says co-author Mark Jellinek, professor in UBC's department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences. This one has flown on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft and has studied Mars for a few years.
Mars is the first and obvious place to start looking for life because it still has northern and southern ice caps, as well as a small fraction of water in the atmosphere, Grau Galofre said.
"That's a big step in terms of trying to answer this question - where are we coming from and are we alone in the universe", Grau Galofre said.
"I assume by discovering existence somewhere else in the universe we can also respond to a whole lot about what is existence and what are we performing right here".