Water flows on Mars, before our very eyes - space - 06 December 2006 - New Scientist Space: "Liquid water has flowed on the surface of Mars within the past five years, suggest images by the now lost Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). The results appear to boost the chances that Mars could harbour life.
In 1999, MGS spotted gullies carved on the sides of Martian slopes. Thousands of gullies have been imaged since then, most recently by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) (see Stunning snaps from the best camera ever sent to Mars).
Many scientists believe the gullies were carved by liquid water, although others have argued they are due to avalanches of carbon dioxide gas or rivers of dust.
The gullies appear to have formed sometime in the past several hundred thousand years, since impact craters have not accumulated on top of them. But exactly how long ago material flowed through them has not been clear.
Now, new flows have appeared in two of the gullies monitored by MGS, showing that they have been active within the past several years. The research was led by Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California, US. That company operates the Mars Orbiter Camera on MGS, which acquired the images.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Posted by Charlie Martin at 1:12 PM