Mars had a system of stormy rivers, scientists say
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  • 14:59 26 February 2019

Mars had a system of stormy rivers, scientists say

The Orbital Station Mars Express found evidence that in the past the Red Planet had an extensive system of stormy rivers whose dead beds could still be seen in the Martian valleys, ONA reports citing BBC.

Photographs made by the interplanetary station of the European Space Agency clearly show deep wrinkles on the surface of Mars, indicating that this planet was not always a rocky desert burned by the sun.

More and more studies have come to the conclusion that in the past the Martian atmosphere was much thicker and denser. This allowed the planet to hold heat from the sun and provide conditions to maintain steady water flows on the surface.

Last March, the same Mars-Express opened a red-hot lake on the Red Planet. The distance is about 20 km, located on the south pole and hidden under a thick ice cap.

Pictures of the watered rivers were made in the southern part of Mars, east of the Huygens' huge crater and to the north of the plain of Ellada.

This mountain chain, dotted with impact craters, was formed 3.5 to 4 billion years ago – and here you can find plenty of evidence of ever-turbulent water activity.

The European Space Agency publishes a topographic map of the area, helping to see the river – to understand the magnitude and direction of the watercourses.

Mountain areas are marked in red, where water flows, washing the valleys (green) up to two kilometers wide and about 200 meters deep. They are clearly visible to this day, despite the considerable erosion this area has suffered for millions and billions of years.

On the Earth, such a network of rivers is called a tree because of the numerous tributaries, some of which diverge along the road to the valley, but then flow together.

Scientists note the similarity of this part of the Martian topography with the Brahmaputra source in Tibet and suggest that not only mighty river flows but heavy torrential rains have influenced the shape of the valleys.

This leaves open the question of where the water originates: rainfall, underground sources or melting ice caps. In any case, this shows that in the distant past the climate of Mars is much warmer and wetter than it is now.

Faig Mahmudov

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