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NASA finds new gully on Mars

NASA recently released an image taken by a spacecraft of a large new gully on Mars.  The picture was taken by the HiRISE camera located on NASA’s MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter).  The new gully is located on a crater wall slope in Mars’ mid-southern latitudes and actually photographed on May 25, 2013.

The new gully, which is very similar to a river channel here on Earth, appears to have been formed in the last three years.  NASA officials reported that the new gully wasn’t present in HiRISE photos of that area taken on Nov. 5, 2010.  A NASA release states: “The dates of the images are more than a full Martian year apart, so the observations did not pin down the Martian season of the activity at this site.”

new gully

Mars Gully

NASA officials note that the new gully was probably “not carved out by flowing water.”  They stated that “before-and-after HiRISE pairs of similar activity at other sites demonstrate that this type of activity generally occurs in winter, at temperatures so cold that carbon dioxide, rather than water, is likely to play the key role.”

Despite this NASA scientists seem to be keeping an open mind to other possibilities.  After all, they have previously reported that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has captured images of other Martian features that do appear to be associated with liquid water such as RSL (recurring slope lineae) or “dark slopes”.

In fact, the recurring slope lineae creep down crater walls and similar slopes during warm weather on Mars.  Some of the research team believes the dark slopes are caused by a specific kind of briny water that includes some sort of iron-based antifreeze.  Additionally, NASA’s Curiosity rover found an old lake-and-stream system close to its landing site on Mars that researchers believe could very well have “supported microbial life billions of years ago.”

At this time, however, there is no direct or conclusive evidence of any water at these dark slope sites.  Scientists continue the elusive search, however, because if water does indeed flow anywhere on the surface of the present-day Red Planet it would indicate that Mars would be much more likely to host life.  After all, life on Earth is present anywhere one finds liquid water.

 (Image courtesy Sott/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

 

 

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.
  • Winterbourne

    Looks like it was carved by wind.

    • Will Phoenix

      Hi Winterbourne,
      I don’t know. They didn’t mention the wind as a possibility. Stay tuned though . . . who knows? Thanks for reading my stuff!

  • John Pombrio

    The MRO circles Mars and is not on it.

    • Will Phoenix

      Hi John!
      I wrote this very late last night/early this morning. I have written about the MRO before lol Sorry to confuse you and thanks for reading my stuff! Read the lead again. Where were you 10 hours ago? Thanks again!

  • 2star

    Note the color differences from the two pics.

    Just wonder, is this new gully caused by a burst from a huge underground water pipe. :)

    • Will Phoenix

      Hi 2star,
      The color differences could just be from the posting and reposting I have no idea. if they DO have plumbing there already then we are in trouble because some scientists want us to move there someday and they are hoping that “people” are not already there. We get enough crap about the Indians here in the US lol Thanks for reading my stuff!


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