In summer 1965, the first close-up pictures from Mars showed a cratered desert with no signs of water. However, over the decades, as more parts of the planet were imaged with better cameras on more sophisticated satellites, Mars showed evidence of past river valleys, lakes, and ice in glaciers and in the ground. It was discovered that the climate of Mars displays huge changes over geologic time because its axis is not stabilized by a large moon, as Earth's is. Also, some researchers maintain that water could exist for periods of time due to geothermal effects or asteroid impacts.

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dbo:abstract
  • In summer 1965, the first close-up pictures from Mars showed a cratered desert with no signs of water. However, over the decades, as more parts of the planet were imaged with better cameras on more sophisticated satellites, Mars showed evidence of past river valleys, lakes, and ice in glaciers and in the ground. It was discovered that the climate of Mars displays huge changes over geologic time because its axis is not stabilized by a large moon, as Earth's is. Also, some researchers maintain that water could exist for periods of time due to geothermal effects or asteroid impacts. Besides seeing features that were signs of past water, researchers found other types of evidence for past water. Minerals detected in many locations needed water to form. An instrument in the Mars Odyssey, an orbiting spacecraft, mapped the distribution of water in the near surface. When the Phoenix spacecraft fired its rockets to land in the far north, ice was exposed. When water enters a large body of water, such as a lake, a delta may form. Many craters and other depressions on Mars show deltas that resemble those on Earth. In addition, if a lake lies in a depression, channels entering it will all stop at the same altitude. Such an arrangement is visible around places on Mars that are supposed to have contained large bodies of water—including around a possible ocean in the North. Lake formation has been proposed by various researchers for quite some time. One study found 205 possible closed-basin lakes in craters on Mars. The basins have an inlet valley that cuts the crater rim and flows into the basin, but they have no visible outlet valley. The total volume of the basins is equivalent to a depth of 1.2 meters spread evenly over the Martian surface. However, this amount is a small fraction of the current water ice stores on Mars. Another study found 210 open-basin lakes. These were lakes with both an inlet and an outlet; hence water must have entered the basin, and reached the height of the outlet. Some of these lakes had volumes similar to Earth's Caspian Sea, Black Sea, and Lake Baikal. Moreover, some basins on Mars form part of long chains of lakes. The Naktong/Scamander/Mamers Valles lake-chain system is about 4500 km (2800 miles) long, with a drainage area similar to that of the Missouri-Mississippi rivers. Another, the Samara/Himera Vallis system, is 1800 km long. Many of the long chains of lakes are found in the Margaritifer Sinus quadrangle. Some of the lakes appear to have had a high volume as compared to their drainage area; hence, it is believed that some of the water was groundwater. Further evidence is the existence of knobby material on the basin floors. These knobs can be formed when large amounts of water left the ground. This article describes some of the places that could have held large lakes. (en)
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dbp:caption
  • "Link" rock outcrop on Mars - compared with a terrestrial fluvial conglomerate - suggesting water "vigorously" flowing in a stream.
  • Peace Vallis and related alluvial fan near the Curiosity landing ellipse and landing site .
  • "Hottah" rock outcrop on Mars - an ancient streambed viewed by Curiosity .
  • Map of Coprates quadrangle from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data. The highest elevations are red and the lowest are blue.
  • Clay mineral structure of mudstone.
  • Hole () drilled into "John Klein" mudstone.
  • Spectral Analysis (SAM) of "Cumberland" mudstone.
  • Columbus crater based on THEMIS day-time image
dbp:direction
  • horizontal
  • vertical
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dbp:eponym
  • Christopher Columbus, Italian explorer
dbp:footer
  • Curiosity on the way to Glenelg .
  • The Curiosity rover examines mudstone near Yellowknife Bay on Mars .
dbp:header
  • Evidence of water on Mars in Gale crater
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  • PIA17599-MarsCuriosityRover-CumberlandRock-Spectra-20121209.jpg
  • PIA16189 fig1-Curiosity Rover-Rock Outcrops-Mars and Earth.jpg
  • PIA16158-Mars Curiosity Rover-Water-AlluvialFan.jpg
  • PIA16156-Mars Curiosity Rover-Water-AncientStreambed.jpg
  • PIA17598-MarsCuriosityRover-Mudstone-ClayMineralStructure-20131209.jpg
  • PIA17594-MarsCuriosityRover-JohKleinMudstoneDrillHole-20130510.jpg
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  • In summer 1965, the first close-up pictures from Mars showed a cratered desert with no signs of water. However, over the decades, as more parts of the planet were imaged with better cameras on more sophisticated satellites, Mars showed evidence of past river valleys, lakes, and ice in glaciers and in the ground. It was discovered that the climate of Mars displays huge changes over geologic time because its axis is not stabilized by a large moon, as Earth's is. Also, some researchers maintain that water could exist for periods of time due to geothermal effects or asteroid impacts. (en)
rdfs:label
  • Lakes on Mars (en)
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  • Holden (en)
  • Jezero crater (en)
  • Columbus Crater (en)
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