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Ancient Snowfall on Mars
Valleys on Mars image
Image of valley networks on Mars captured by the Mars Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA

A new study supported in part by NASA has identified a potential origin for ancient water on Mars that was responsible for carving valley networks that branch across the planet's surface. Scientists identified four water-carved valleys on Mars that were likely caused by runoff from 'orographic' precipitation. This type of precipitation occurs when moist, prevailing winds blow over mountains and are pushed upward, resulting in snow or rainfall. The research was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters

Studying the nature of liquid water that was present on the surface of ancient Mars is important to astrobiologists because it provides clues about whether or not the planet once supported environmental conditions that were suitable for life as we know it.

Source: [Brown University]

Last Updated: 30 August 2013

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Last Updated: 30 Aug 2013