Research shows raging rivers flowed on Mars for over a billion years

Shane McGlaun - Mar 28, 2019, 6:39am CDT
Research shows raging rivers flowed on Mars for over a billion years

The Mars we know today is a dry and desolate planet with little atmosphere and no life that we know of. Speculation suggests that early in the planets life when it had a thick atmosphere, the planet could have harbored life of some sort and scientists around the world are searching for proof of that. Recently researchers from the University of Chicago have found evidence of strong rivers flowing on Mars in the past.

Scientists from UChicago say that substantial runoff fed a vast river network on the planet for more than a billion years. However, the understanding of the ancient Martian climate billions of years ago remains out of reach. The new research has found that significant river runoff persisted on Mars later into its history than previously thought.

Researchers say that the runoff on Mars was intense and that rivers on the Red Planet were wider than those on Earth today and occurred at hundreds of locations around the planet. The river discovery makes it harder for scientists working on modeling Mars’ ancient atmosphere.

However, the team says that there are constraints that can window the many theories proposed for Mars’ climate. Those constraints include long dead river beds crisscrossing the planet and rounded stones that show signs of being subjected to water for vast amounts of time.

The confusion on climate modeling for the planet is in part because the planet wouldn’t have had enough light to keep water warm enough for a liquid state. The new findings make scientists wonder which of the theories is wrong- the climate models, the atmosphere evolution models, or the basic understanding of inner solar system chronology.

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