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This is an image of Mars.
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Image from: NASA

Theories about Martian water & Climate

  • 1.) Since warm weather is needed for the formation of the river channels & floods, episodes of warm climate caused floods, releasing water into the atmosphere and further contributing to the warmer climate via the greenhouse effect. The end result of this process is that *water is returned* to the aquifer by atmospheric condensatation at higher latitudes, and the cycle repeats itself in the next episode of warm climate.
  • 2.) flooding causes a *permanent* transfer of water to low areas.
These theories leave some questions unanswered. How do we verify which of these ideas is correct? Further exploration of Mars would help clarify the answers. For example, digging at low areas to find the thickness of ice deposits.

What are the implications of these theories for the possibility of life on Mars? We know there is water below the surface of Mars, and we also know that life survives in deep water systems.

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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