• July 22, 2024

Mars Has An Intriguing Terrain—Observations By ESA

Mars has a form of chaotic terrain, something that is found nowhere on Earth. Named Aurorae Chaos, this feature is situated in equatorial and ancient Margartifier Terra location in Mars. This location here is quite cratered and has many fascinating features. These are considered to be related to previous water activity in the past. Aurorae Chaos’ south part, upon observation, shows eroded craters, jumbled cliffs, scarps, flat-topped mesas, mismatched peaks, and fractured rock. These features also sweep the surface, connected to outflow channels. These channels are part of the Valles Marineris, which is a big valley system that spans over 1000 km.

The canyon’s size is huge. It is 10x longer, 20x wider and about 4.5x deeper than the Grand Canyon on Earth. It was formed due to running water & fluvial erosion. Aurorae Chaos has a network of depression sitting 4 km below surrounding plains, hosting chaotic terrains. This current chaotic terrain reveals how water interacted with its planetary surface and was stored, released and transported.

Chaotic terrains are formed when martian surface chunks collapsed during dramatic events, due to materials heating, which contained water or ice containing minerals. This was caused by comet or asteroid impact, or volcanic or climatic heat source, releasing water and causing this terrain to subside.

This led to water being drained, this leaving broken and messy patterns behind, seen in areas like Aurorae Chaos that were formed 3.5 bn years ago. Apart from this evidence, Margaritifier Terra contains clay deposits and sulfates which indicate water outflows and evaporative processes.

Some may even need standing water, which means, water bodies existed here in the past. Mars Express had taken images of Mars’ chaos terrains including Ariadnes Colles and Iani Chaos using HRSC cams and will continue its study. ESA’s Roscosmos rover called Rosalind Frankin& a science platform will arrive in 2021, enhancing knowledge about the planet. Along with ExoMars TGO, it will continue to explore Mars.

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