Ancient martian flood channels revealed in 3D

Ancient martian water channels revealed in 3D by the SHARAD instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Sapienza University of Rome/Smithsonian Institution/USGS]

Ancient martian water channels buried beneath the volcanic region, Elysium Planitia, are revealed in 3D by the SHARAD radar instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Sapienza University of Rome/Smithsonian Institution/USGS]


A team of scientists has used data from the SHARAD radar instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft to create 3D maps of buried water channels on Mars, and in the process discovered that the channels are twice as deep as previously thought. The channels were carved out billions of years ago by an ancient megaflood, but have since been covered by lava from volcanic activity. Radar allows scientists to penetrate the layers of lava to obtain information about the depth of the channels underneath. More details about this discovery at the Smithsonian blog.

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