Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
December 11, 1997
Explanation: Look closely. In this Mars Global Surveyor image of the Martian surface just south of Schiaparelli crater, dark lines appear to criss-cross light colored depressions. One tantalizing possibility is simply that the feature near the center is similar to a dried-up lake bed on planet Earth, where light colored mineral deposits are left as water evaporates and cracks are produced as the ground dries. This potential Martian lake bed is roughly 3/4 miles across and may provide further evidence that Mars once possessed surface water. Recently announced results from the Mars Pathfinder mission also point to a Martian past which included a denser atmosphere and surface water - conditions which could have supported life.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.