The first evidence for a planet-wide underground water system will help aid future missions in our hunt for life on Mars.
Mars wasn’t always a dusty, barren planet.
Previous modeling has demonstrated the planet was once overflowing with water that eventually retreated under the surface. But new research details the first direct geological evidence for a “planet-wide groundwater system” explaining Mars’ watery history and providing new sites for future missions to hunt for signs of life.
The revelations come via some plucky Mars geologists and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Orbiter. The spacecraft, launched in 2003, circles the planet and is fitted with a number of high-resolution cameras constantly snapping images of the Martian surface. Researchers at the University of Utrecht, led by Francesco Salese, pored over these images, intently studying 24 deep craters in Mars’ northern hemisphere looking for signs that water once flowed there.