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This image shows evidence for running water on the surface of Mars.
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Image from: NASA

Martian Water

Mars doesn't seem to have very much water. If Mars had lots of water life could survive there.

There seems to be *some* water because clouds, fog, and icy polar caps are seen on Mars today. There are also dry river beds, which is evidence that in the past, water was running on the surface of Mars. So where has the water gone?

Scientists think that there is a lot of water on Mars frozen within the ground. The water flows when Mars experiences a warming change in weather. Future exploration of Mars will answer questions about exactly what has happened to the Martian water. Answers to these questions will help scientists better understand the history of Mars.

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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Martian Clouds

Unlike the Earth, where clouds are found around the entire globe, on Mars, clouds seem only to be found near the equator, as shown in this Hubble telescope image. This may be because water of Mars may...more

The Climate of Mars

Mars is not quite right for life as we know it on Earth. On a cold planet like Mars, water can become frozen into the ground. This water can only be turned into running water when the weather is warm enough....more

Martian Outflow Channels

On Mars there are the remains of many tear-drop shaped lakes such as the one shown in this image. Most of these are found near the Martian volcanoes. They are really channels where water once gushed forth....more

Rock weathering on Mars

The rocks explored by the Mars Pathfinder's Rover are classified into two groups according to how they eroded. Rocks put in place as a result of an impact which forms a crater are usually much less eroded...more

MER Spirit landing site - Gusev Crater

Two robot rovers landed on Mars in January 2004. The first robot is named Spirit. Spirit landed inside a big crater called Gusev Crater. Gusev Crater may have been filled with water long ago. It may have...more

A place on Mars called Gusev Crater

Gusev Crater is an impact crater on Mars that looks as though a lake may have once filled it in the distant past. One of the two Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) will explore Gusev Crater beginning in January...more

Where did Opportunity land? Meridiani Planum!

Two robot rovers landed on Mars in January 2004. They are called the Mars Exploration Rover mission. One rover is named Spirit. The other is called Opportunity. Opportunity landed at a place called Meridiani...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA