Mars had an ancient lake “favorable for life” that existed for billions of years

The region of Marscalled Ladon Valles, could have been habitable repeatedly throughout the history of the red planet thanks to the discovery of a lake that existed for billions of years. This is pointed out in an article by Catherine Weitz of the Planetary Science Institute.

Would Mars be favorable for life?

Some of the best preserved landforms in Mars created by running water on its surface are found within the Margaritifer Terra region, where deposits of clayey sediments have been identified.

“The presence of clays indicates a favorable environment for life because clays form and remain stable in neutral pH conditions where water persists long-term, minimizing evaporation to form other minerals such as sulfates”

Catherine Weitz

An ancient lake on the red planet

According to the author of the article published in the journal Icarus, “the Ladon Basin region within Margaritifer Terra records a long history of water flow that began relatively early in the history of Mars around 3 billion years ago and continued until 2.5 billion years ago, which is considered relatively recent.

The environment of lake of low energy and the presence of clays support an environment that would have been favorable for life at that time”. The clays initially formed in older mountainous terrain around the Ladon Basin and then subsequently water eroded through these upland clay materials to produce the channel of Ladon Valleys and later deposited sediment downstream in a lake within the basin and the north of the region.

How were traces of life found on Mars?

The study used data from NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), Context Camera (CTX), and Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometers to Mars (CRISM) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

“Using orbital images, we identified clay-bearing sediments in northern Ladon Valleys, the southern Ladon Basin and the southwestern highlands around the Ladon Basin,” Weitz said. In addition, light-toned layered sediments showing relatively shallow bed dips and containing clays over a distance of 200 kilometers are evidence of the existence of a lake.

There is life in Mars? A lake of 1.3 billion years could indicate that yes | Photo: Planetary Science Institute

The flow of Water The most recent and youngest in the highlands is found along the southwestern Ladon Basin, where clays were deposited within blocked valleys and small topographical basins that are similar in age but smaller in scale relative to the deposition of the Eberswalde delta located south of the region of this study.

“Our results indicate that the clay sediments deposited by the Water stream at Eberswalde were not unusual during this more recent time because we see many examples of similar young valleys depositing clays in the Eberswalde region. MarsWeitz said.

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