Megafloods in Mars

A research recently published in the ‘Scientific Reports’ journal, which assessed data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover, discovered about Megafloods of Mars.

Key Points

  • As per the study, ‘Gigantic flash floods’ (also called as Megafloods) washed through Gale Crater on the equator of Mars.
  • The geological features comprising of wind and the work of water have been frozen in time on Mars for about four billion years.
  • This is similar to features formed by melting of ice on Earth around 2 million years ago.
  • The most likely reasons behind the Mars flooding was the melting of ice from heat generated by a large impact, which released carbon dioxide and methane from the planet’s frozen reservoirs.
  • The condensation of these gases may have formed water vapour clouds, which in turn created torrential rain. This water may have entered Gale Crater and produced gigantic flash floods along with the water coming down from Mount Sharp in Gale Crater.
  • This discovery concludes that Early Mars was an active planet geologically and had conditions to support the presence of liquid water. It hints at the possibility of existence of life.

Curiosity Rover

Curiosity Mars Rover is a car-sized rover or a motor vehicle that has been designed for exploring the Gale crater on Mars. It is a part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission of NASA. The rover was launched on November 26, 2011 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and it landed on 6th August 2012 on Aeolis Palus inside Gale on Mars. Aeolis Palus is a plain between the northern foothills of Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp) and the northern wall of Gale crater on Mars.

On 5th August 2017, the fifth anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing was celebrated by NASA. The National Aeronautic Association awarded the Curiosity Project Team/Mars Science Laboratory with the 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy.

Written by IAS POINT

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