The picture above shows the newly discovered dry lakes in the highlands of Mars. The deep canyon is located above the lakes and once flowed to the North. The area that was once full of liquid is colored black in this photograph.
Click on image for full size
R. P. Irwin III and G. A. Franz, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Newly Discovered Martian Lakes and Canyon!
News story originally written on July 2, 2002
Lakes and a river have been found in the highlands of Mars. They wouldn't be good places for a swim because there isn't any water in them! But the scientists know that there was probably water there a long time ago. Even though Mars is a cold and dry place now, it was probably once very different.
The scientists found a big dry lake that once filled several craters. The lake is very large (1400 miles long). Two other dry lakes were found in the area as well. They are much smaller.
The scientists also found a canyon that leads away from the giant lake. It is called Ma'adim Vallis. This canyon is very large and deep. It has carved more deeply into the Martian rock than the Grand Canyon has carved into rocks on Earth.
These new discoveries may mean that Mars was once a warmer and wetter place than it is now, with water in lakes and rivers. If life did exist on Mars before it became colder and drier, the scientists think that the best place to look for fossils of past life would be at the bottom of the dry lakes.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
This page is the start of the tour which explores water on Mars. Use the navigation button at the top of the page to move through the tour. To go to the next page, just press the forward link on the navigation...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more
Trees and plants are a very important part of this Earth. Trees and plants are nature's air conditioning because they help keep our Earth cool. On a summer day, walking bare-foot on the sidewalk burns,...more