(ORDO NEWS) — The presence of subsurface water ice in these pits makes them suitable candidates for human settlement in the future.
Mars is the closest planet to Earth. While we have long believed that the red planet is a barren world and has been since its inception, exploration missions such as Curiosity, Opportunity, and now Perseverance say otherwise.
Billions of years ago, Mars was different.
In the distant past, when Earth was forming to become a paradise for life in the solar system, Mars was home to vast oceans, long river systems and lakes. In fact, at that time, Mars could have been very similar to the Earth we live on today.
But since then, everything has changed, and the red planet has lost its atmosphere and, accordingly, liquid water.
Life could even have originated on Mars, perhaps not intelligent, but some life could exist on its surface.
Today, scientists are inclined to believe that this is quite likely, but we still have not found definitive evidence that this was the case.
Perhaps we will find it in the near future, when new missions go to Mars and people finally set foot on a planet other than Earth.
And while we look forward to this historic moment, missions like the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are paving the way for humans on Mars.
It explores the surface of the red planet from orbit in incredible detail, taking thousands upon thousands of high-quality images of what is there.
To the west of the Elysium volcanic region are the plains of the Hebrus Valles. Multi-threaded (anastamosing) patterns are formed by channels with a width of several hundred meters to several kilometers.
The streamlined shapes separating the channels indicate the northern direction of the flow of the channels.
It seems that at the end of the channels there is an elongated pit about 1800 meters long and 1125 meters wide. Based on the shadow cast by the wall on the bottom of the pit, we can estimate the depth of the pit to be almost 500 meters.
The pit is covered by sedimentary rocks and reveals a boulder layer under the dusty surface mantle. The slopes descending into the pit are dotted with boulders several meters in diameter.
Given that such pits may retain subsurface water ice that could be used by future long-term human settlements, they are potential landing sites for human exploration.
These pits could be used to create settlements from which we could explore the Martian surface.
Such pits are excellent candidates for exploration through special missions, as they can provide future astronauts with the necessary elements, primarily water, to survive on the Red Planet.
But in addition to providing the most essential element for life as we know it, the pits could also offer natural shelter for surface settlements.
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