Researchers studying the Martian surface have found further evidence that the Red Planet once had flowing water, due to winding channels and gullies carved in the planet's surface.
Researchers are using images captured by the Mars Odyssey THEMIS VIS camera, Viking Orbiter cameras, and Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera to analyze images of select regions of Mars.
Specifically, researchers from the Planetary Science Institute of Arizona studied the Arabia Terra region, located in the northern hemisphere, and more than 100 areas in the Hellas Basin, which is in the southern hemisphere.
Tongue-shaped deposits similar to rock glaciers on Earth were found in 30 different images captured of the Lellas Basin, and it's possible the ice is still flowing in that section of Mars. Furthermore, an in-depth analysis of the craters found channels ranging from around 3 to 7 feet across that were narrow and branched down the walls.
"If you look at all of these (features) individually, it's not necessarily strong evidence that there was ice and/or water flowing on the surface," lead researcher Daniel Berman from the Planetary Science Institute of Arizona said. "But if you look at this suite of features you see throughout these regions, what you have is a story of the deposition of a fair quantity of ice most likely during this period of high obliquity, several million years ago, which has subsequently begun to melt and flow down the crater walls and across their floors."
There has been growing evidence of past water and water ice on the Red Planet, with researchers making numerous breakthroughs over the past 10 years. The interest in Mars has continually grown as space nations begin to talk about numerous missions that could take place to the planet in the next 25 years.
The likelihood of life on the planet has also increased lately, though there is still much research left to be done.