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Evidence of Water Flows on Mars:

A recent image taken from the Mars Global Surveyor indicates a new gully in an unnamed crater in the Terra Sirenum region on Mars. This image fuels the speculation that water does currently exist on Mars, but would most likely be underground as any surface water would either freeze or evaporate away.

New Gully

Images taken throughout the day rule out the possibility of this being a lighter toned gully deposit. Additionally, the bottom of the new gully indicates a "digitate" appearance which is indicative of water flow.

The reason the gully has appeared recently is unclear, but it is suspected that water exists in the form of ice under the surface. Given the right climate conditions, this water-ice would melt and flow to the surface. Craters and valleys are ideal for surface flows like this one as the valley or impact crater would intersect any groundwater (or ice) channels. It is also suggested that dry mass movements or land slides could also provide the conditions for these surface flows.

Only one other such gully has been discovered - this one from a crater in the Centauri Montes region.

New Gully 2

Do these images prove the existence of water on Mars? Not at all, but this discovery does add to the "compelling evidence" list. The next step is to survey other craters and valleys in order to detect additional areas of "light-toned deposits" in relation to nearby geologic activities.

It is believed that water is essential for life, and this new evidence offers hope to detect microbial life on Mars.

 

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