Ancient Martian Lakes! Snowmelt-fed streams and lakes on Mars formed much later than previously thought possible, according to new findings using data primarily from our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The recently discovered lakes and streams appeared roughly a billion years after a well-documented, earlier era of wet conditions on ancient Mars. These results provide insight into the climate history of the Red Planet and suggest the surface conditions at this later time may also have been suitable for microbial life. The chain of lakes and valleys that are part of the Heart Lake valley system extends about 90 miles (about 150 kilometers). Researchers calculate Heart Lake held about 670 cubic miles of water (2,790 cubic kilometers), more than in Lake Ontario of North America’s Great Lakes.
This map presents color-coded topographical information overlaid onto a photo mosaic. Lower elevations are indicated with white and purple; higher elevations, yellow.
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