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Martian Lakes

January 20, 2010

Scientists find evidence of ancient lakes on Mars.

Transcript

Ancient Martian lakes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Four billion years ago, the planet Mars was warm and wet—much like Earth at the time. Then, unlike Earth, its atmosphere thinned out and the planet got cold and dry. But research associate Nicholas Warner at Imperial College London and his colleagues examined new high-resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and found evidence of lakes and rivers from the period.

WARNER (Imperial College London):
And they look almost identical to what we see right now forming in the permafrost terrains in Alaska and in Siberia in the polar regions. So our understanding of that morphology and the fact that we have the channel features suggests is that these were actual lakebeds that actually formed interconnected networks.

HIRSHON:

The researchers say that the discovery of lakes and rivers during this desolate period on Mars increases the chances that life could have arisen there. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.