The discussion in the community of geologists has been going on for
for some time, with a chain of defenders that the northernmost lands in
Mars has solid mud. Now, a group of researchers from the Academy
of Sciences in the Czech Republic concluded that mud mixtures on the surface of
Mars would drain like lava flows on Earth, though for
different geological reasons, which makes them admit that there are reservoirs of
water in that region of the ‘red’ planet.
The challenge for scientists is to see now whether
images being sent by probes in orbit around Mars are
portray solidified lava flows resulting from volcanic eruptions, or if
in fact, these are areas with mud, also in solid state. This last one
hypothesis, if confirmed, would indicate the existence of water.
The team led by Petr Brož resorted
to a chamber of the UK Open University, which replicates the conditions of
pressure on the surface of Mars and conducted several experiments to conclude that
it is possible for mud to flow on that planet, similar to what happens in
Earth, but for different reasons. In one of the tests, the team cooled a bed
of sand and prepared a system to ‘inject’ water and particles over the replica
from the surface of Mars. In that environment, the mud boiled and, on cooling,
ended up freezing the crust. The liquid interior gradually broke free,
forming small paths as it went down and ending up in formations that
resemble what we see in Hawaii's volcanoes, explains the Popular Science.
and the team’s scientists concluded that mud is possible in
Mars and that shapes that resemble Earth's lava on Mars can mean
something completely different. Dorothy Oehler, Institute of Planetary Sciences
of Arizona, corroborates the discovery and admits that this work could open a
new line of research, as what was believed to be lava
on Mars it may, after all, have a completely different origin.
A geologist on the surface of Mars can get
distinguish what is rock formed by lava from what will be solidified mud,
but, in the near future, there is no possibility of this happening, so the
investigators will have to rely on the photos sent by the probes.