Traces of three ancient reservoirs were discovered by scientists on the surface of Mars in the area of Hellas Planitia (plain of Hellas), formed as a result of a large celestial body falling onto the surface of the planet. According to the Internet portal Space.com, citing a study published in the journal Astrobiology, the diameter of the largest of the dried-up lakes reached 77 km.
According to one of the participants in the study, a geologist from the SETI Institute of Virginia Galik, “the surface of Hellas Planitia, covered with lava and volcanic ash, cut through channels hundreds of meters wide.” According to the hypothesis of the researchers, one of the reservoirs was formed as a result of precipitation, the second – collected groundwater, and the third, probably, the river flowed.
The researchers noticed that the traces of water on Mars look about the same as the dry lakes on Earth. In particular, they found similarities between them and the lake in the territory of Washington State, which was formed as a result of flooding, and then dried up. The areas along the Mississippi River, which for centuries were flooded during floods, as well as lakes with a high degree of salinity in the Andes, where cold, dry weather constantly remains, have a similar geological structure.
The authors of the study do not exclude the possibility that some living organisms could inhabit the lakes if the water was warm enough.
Mars is the fourth largest planet of the Solar System in distance from the Sun, named after the Roman god of war Mars for a slightly reddish color of the surface caused by a high content of iron oxide.