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Mars Valleys Could Have Been Sculpted By Ice Glaciers, Study Shows

MARS VALLEYS – A new research which was published on Monday suggests that many valleys on Mars might have been formed by ice glaciers.

MARS VALLEYS
Image from: EurekAlert

According to GMA News, a Nature Geoscience study, which came during a wave of new missions on the Red Planet, shows doubt that the planet once had a warm, wet climate with abundant liquid water which formed its valleys.

Canadian and American researchers studied more than 10,000 valleys in the planet and compared them to channels on Earth that were sculpted under glaciers.

“For the last 40 years, since Mars’s valleys were first discovered, the assumption was that rivers once flowed on Mars, eroding and originating all of these valleys,” 

This came from a statement, which was released by the University of British Columbia, by lead author Anna Grau Galofre.

However, Galofre said that they came in a huge variety, implying that there were many processes to carve these valleys.

Researchers also found similarities between some valleys of Mars and the subglacial channels of Devon Island, in the Canadian Arctic.

Devon Island is known as  “Mars on Earth” due to its barren, freezing conditions and as an area which hosted NASA space training missions.

Authors also said that their findings suggest that there are some Martian valleys that could have been formed at about 3.8 billion years ago by meltwater beneath ice sheets. They said that this would align with climate modelling, hinting that the Red Planet could have been much cooler.

“The findings demonstrate that only a fraction of valley networks match patterns typical of surface water erosion, which is in marked contrast to the conventional view,” 

Based on the report, Nature Geoscience said that understanding climate conditions “in the first billion years of Mars” history is vital in determining if the planet is habitable.

Authors also said that icy temperatures could in fact have better supported ancient life.

“A sheet of ice would lend more protection and stability of underlying water, as well as providing shelter from solar radiation in the absence of a magnetic field – something Mars once had, but which disappeared billions of years ago,”

What do you think of this report? How will you react to this? Let us know more about it in the comments below.

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