Gullies on Martian surface are not end-product of flowing liquid water: Study

Gullies on Martian surface are not end-product of flowing liquid water: Study

Researchers are one step closer to understand how Martian gullies have formed, as they have canceled out the option of flowing liquid water is responsible for the gullies. Study researchers have used data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to study the gullies on modern Mars.

In the new study, the researchers have focused on gullies and their formation process. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland have assessed high resolution compositional data from over 100 gully sites throughout Mars.

The data gathered from the orbiter's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), was correlated with images from the same spacecraft’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera and Context Camera (CTX).

From the assessment, the researchers did not come to know of any evidence of liquid water or its by-products. The researchers then considered of other mechanisms like freeze and thaw of carbon dioxide frost.

On the Martian surface, gullies are commonly present. On earth, similar gullies are formed by flowing liquid water. Study’s lead researcher Jorge Núñez of APL said that many phenomenons have been suggested for the creation of Mars gullies.

“What HiRISE and other imagers were not able to determine on their own was the composition of the material in gullies, because they are optical cameras”, affirmed Núñez. Therefore, they then used CRISM to look at minerals present in the gullies.

Taking advantage of a new CRISM data product called Map-projected Targeted Reduced Data Records the researchers carried out their analysis and compared the same with HiRISE imagery. The researchers have not found hydrated minerals, but where the researchers have, they were erosional debris from ancient rocks.


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