In a new study, scientists are now suggesting that widespread deep groundwater exists on Mars, and is the cause of the recurring slope lineae seen on many Martian slopes.
Previous theories for the cause of lineae proposed both dry and wet processes, all related to either near surface or atmospheric phenomenon. This new hypothesis is different, as it proposes deep groundwater as the source.
“We propose an alternative hypothesis that they originate from a deep pressurized groundwater source which comes to the surface moving upward along ground cracks,” Heggy says. “The experience we gained from our research in desert hydrology was the cornerstone in reaching this conclusion. We have seen the same mechanisms in the North African Sahara and in the Arabian Peninsula, and it helped us explore the same mechanism on Mars,” said Abotalib Z. Abotalib, the paper’s first author.
The two scientists concluded that fractures within some of Mars’ craters, enabled water springs to rise up to the surface as a result of pressure deep below. These springs leaked onto the surface, generating the sharp and distinct linear features found on the walls of these craters. The scientists also provide an explanation on how these water features fluctuate with seasonality on Mars.
This conclusion is most intriguing, but it is far from certain. Scientists have found a lot of lineae. For all of them to come from deep groundwater rising under pressure through fractures seems unlikely.
Nonetheless, this research indicates the growing belief among Mars researchers that water exists everywhere on Mars, and is accessible.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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