Water flowed on Mars around 2 billion years ago: Study
New Delhi : A new study has revealed that there was water on Mars around 2 billion years ago, which much later than the expected time by the researchers.
Scientists have discovered the existence of chloride salt deposits which is left behind by flowing water; the findings are based on years of data collected from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that has been taking rounds of the planet since 2006.
After studying several images of salt deposits taken from the orbiter’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), the scientists interpreted a younger age for the salt deposits using a method dubbed ‘crater counting’ - basically, if a region is younger, it has fewer craters in - along with adjustments for other parameters like the atmosphere of the planet, to help scientists better gauge its age.
Earlier it was believed that the water existed on Mars around three billion years ago, but the new study suggests that it may have been there around 2 billion years ago.
Leslie Tamppari, MRO's deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains, "Part of the value of MRO is that our view of the planet keeps getting more detailed over time. The more of the planet we map with our instruments, the better we can understand its history."
Salt minerals were first discovered by Mars Odyssey around 14 years ago, but MRO, with its higher resolution hardware, offers a more in-depth look.