July 4, 2022

Flash Floods on Mars Detected by NASA

NASA’s Perseverance rover has captured photos of ancient flash floods on Mars, according to a new study. The last time such an event occurred was some 3 billion years ago and scientists can’t be certain if they were caused by liquid water or ice.

Perseverance is studying a crater on the Red Planet named Marte Vallis and according to a new study in Nature Geoscience , it could be home to evidence of ancient flash floods. The study authors, led by geologist Jeffrey J. Plaut from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, studied images taken by the rover and found channels carved into bedrock.

On Earth, similar features are created by liquid water but there’s no sign of ancient or modern water at Marte Vallis . Therefore, the authors conclude that the event which caused the floodwaters to flow must have been a landslide or other non-water trigger. Retreating glaciers could have caused a flood, but it’s more likely that the phenomenon was triggered by a meteorite impact.

In other words, Martian floods have been found and this is not good news for future human colonists on Mars . If the past is any indication of what to expect from Marte Vallis , flash floods could be even bigger than what we’ve come to expect from our own planet.

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence of ancient flash floods on Mars, which could have been powerful enough to move rocks the size of cars around. The last time such an event occurred was some 3 billion years ago and scientists can’t be certain if they were caused by liquid water or ice. Perseverance is studying a crater on the Red Planet named Marte Vallis and according to a new study in Nature Geoscience , it could be home to evidence of ancient flash floods. The study authors, led by geologist Jeffrey J. Plaut from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, studied images taken by the rover and found channels carved into bedrock. Water, not ice On Earth, similar features are created by liquid water but there’s no sign of ancient or modern water at Marte Vallis . Therefore, the authors conclude that the event which caused the floodwaters to flow must have been a landslide or other non-water trigger. Retreating glaciers could have caused a flood, but it’s more likely that the phenomenon was triggered by a meteorite impact. In other words, Martian floods have been found and this is not good news for future human colonists on Mars . If the past is any indication of what to expect from Marte Vallis , flash floods could be even bigger than what we’ve come to expect from our own planet.