(ORDO NEWS) — In the distant past, small lakes constantly appeared and disappeared on a neighboring planet. Today, it is in their sedimentary rocks that we can find traces of possible Martian life.
Modern Mars is a cold, dry desert. But in the distant past, the planet on the planet had a lot of water, and the devices operating here find the remains of many ancient lakes.
Hundreds have already been found, but this is only a small fraction: geological analysis has shown that thousands of dried-up reservoirs can remain on Mars.
“We know about 500 ancient lakes of Mars, but almost all of them are gaining more than 100 square meters. km, – explains one of the authors of the work, Joseph Michalski (Joseph Michalski) from the University of Hong Kong.
On Earth, 70 percent of the lakes are much smaller, and appear in a rather cold environment, when the glaciers retreat.
It is much more difficult to spot such lakes on Mars using satellites, but they must exist. It looks like we still have about 70 percent of Martian lakes to discover.”
Michalski and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of past work on the remains of ancient reservoirs on the Red Planet.
These paleolakes existed in different periods of the past, but most of them date back to the period of 3.5-4 billion years ago, the Noachian era in the history of Mars.
Moreover, each individual lake existed for a relatively short time, for 10-100 thousand years. This indicates that in that era the planet was relatively cold, but experienced short periods of warming and ice melting.
Geologists also notice that due to weak gravity, as well as the relatively small size of the particles of the Martian soil, they settled rather slowly in the water.
Therefore, the ancient lakes of Mars, most likely, were very muddy, and light could not penetrate to the depths to ensure photosynthesis.
If any algae lived here, they had to stay close to the surface. However, even with this, they could receive less energy than on Earth, because Mars is farther from the Sun, and a few billion years ago the star was dimmer.
But if there was any life on Mars, then most likely it was in these bodies of water. Sedimentary rocks should preserve more detailed evidence of the climate of that time.
Therefore, scientists consider them the most interesting targets for future spacecraft research. Such works can also reveal a lot of interesting things about the past of our own planet: in the distant Archean, small, often drying up reservoirs could play an important role in the development of life on Earth.
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