Ghost dunes may hint life of microbes on Mars, say scientists
New Delhi : Mars has been the planet of mystery for scientists since ages. In an attempt to understand the Red planet, scientists now feel that the ancient formations on Mars may lead to life of microbes. The crescent shaped strange ‘ghost dunes’ appearing on the surface of the planet could certainly reveal hints on the possibility of ancient microbial life.
The lowest point marks the location where huge sand dunes, hundreds of feet high, stood billions of years ago. Experts keep on updating about Mars’ past climate and changing wind patterns and now they say the impressions could be helpful to chase the existence for ancient life, as they might have sheltered microbes from cruel radiation.
Scientists believe that ‘Ghost dunes’ are impressions left behind after lava or sediments carried by water buried the sand structures and preserved their contours. The phenomenon has been explained by researchers in the new study published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
Though wind may have blown sand off the bare tops and carved parts away, the solid mould is left behind.
Ghost dunes have been seen in the satellite images of Mars, in the Hellas basin and Noctis Labyrinthus. The team found more than 480 potential structure at Noctis Labyrinthus, and more than 300 in eastern Hellas Planita.
The average dune stood roughly 130 feet and 246 feet tall.
“Any one of these pits is not enough to tell you that it is a dune, or from an ancient dune field, but when you put them all together, they have so many aspects common with dunes on Mars and Earth that you have to employ some kind of fantastic explanation to explain them as anything else,” said Mackenzie Day, a planetary geomorphologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. “One of the cool things about the ghost dunes is that they tell us, for sure, that the wind on Mars was different in the ancient past, when they formed.”