The European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft has captured impressive images of the Holden Basin on Mars, part of a key area of the ongoing search for life on the Red Planet. Images and further investigations of the area could help reveal how water once flowed across the surface of Mars.
Close-up image of the Holden Basin, taken on April 24, 2022, by Mars ExpressThe High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) shows the geological features of a former water reservoir near the 95-mile (150-kilometre) wide Holden Crater.
The Holden Basin forms part of the series of channels and basins that make up the Uzboi-Ladon-Morava (ULM) outflow system in the Southern Hemisphere. Mars. This system has become an important target for Mars orbiters like Mars Express because scientists believe it could have drained up to 9% of the Red Planet’s water.
Before Mars lost its water Almost 4 billion years ago, probably because Mars atmosphere Stripped of the harsh solar radiation that allowed water vapor to “leak” into space, liquid water would have flowed through channels draining into Argyre Planitia.
From this 1,100-mile (1,770 km) wide plain that dips as deep as 3.2 miles (5.2 km) deep, water would have flowed through the valley called ‘Uzboy Falls’ past the area now marked by Holden Crater. – which were created later in the history of the planet.
The water was then collected in the Holden Basin before flowing through the Ladon Vales – an ancient river valley system that leads into the 274-mile (440 km) wide Ladon Basin.
The new image reveals a distinct crater south of the basin, the walls of the basin descending gently to a depth of about 5,000 feet (about 1,500 meters) below the surrounding surface of Mars.
Meanwhile, the northeast side of the Holden Basin shows where water from this reservoir could have flowed into Ladon Valles. Scars and rough terrain appear in the image, likely caused by melting water ice beneath the surface of Mars.
Where there is water there is a chance for life
The European Space Agency (ESA) said: in the current situation (Opens in a new tab) This experience with our planet shows that water and life go hand in hand. Scientists are keen to see if the same was true of Mars billions of years ago.
Soils at Ladon Valles and Holden Basin contain phyllosilicate, a type of mineral that includes clay produced by the interaction of rocks and water that has been linked to the origins of life on Earth. a land. Phyllosilicates in these areas are found in layered sediments that can serve as a reaction center for organic molecules, the building blocks of terrestrial life. That is why scientists are interested in this area.
It’s possible that Holden Crater formed an ancient dimension asteroid It struck when the material expelled by the impact fell back onto the planet’s surface and filled the oldest Holden Basin, which formed from an impact earlier in the planet’s history.
Since Holden Crater shows no evidence of water flowing through it in the past, scientists believe it must have formed after the ULM system dried up.
Due to its geological importance and potential for harboring evidence of ancient life, Holden Crater has been shortlisted as a landing site for both Curiosity of And the perseverance Rovers, but lost Gale Crater And the Jezero Crater Straight.
Mars Express, which has been photographing the Martian surface and atmosphere from the planet’s orbit since 2003, is working to ensure the area is well examined.
Previous images of Holden Basin have revealed ridges and canyons carved by Martian winds, ancient craters and rivers, as well as petrified lava pools and volcanoes.
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