PUBLISHED: 08:42, Tue, Nov 24, 2020 | UPDATED: 08:48, Tue, Nov 24, 2020
Ferocious floods on an inconceivable scale are now known to have once filled Gale Crater on the Red Planet’s equator 4 billion years ago, NASA has announced. The update comes after the Curiosity Rover discovered parts of the Red Planet were once swamped by an ancient ‘megaflood’. This adds to the accumulating evidence alien life really may have once thrived on this once-wet planet.
The landmark new study was derived from the latest data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover.
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Researchers now believe the rampaging megaflood was probably triggered by the heat from an apocalyptic asteroid impact, which unleashed vast quantities of ice stored on the Martian surface.
Dr Alberto Fairén, a College of Arts and Sciences astrobiologist, thinks evidence for this occurrence is found in gigantic ripples that are tell-tale evidence of similar geologic structures here on Earth.
He said: “We identified megafloods for the first time using detailed sedimentological data observed by the rover Curiosity.
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Mount Sharp inside Gale crater on Mars shows geologists a changing planetary environment (Image: NASA/Cornall)
Floods on an inconceivable scale are now known to have once filled Gale Crater (Image: Getty)
“Deposits left behind by megafloods had not been previously identified with orbiter data.”
Such geological features including the work of water and wind have been frozen in time on Mars in the same way as on Earth.
These features are strongly associated with processes responsible for shaping the surface of both planets in the past.
This includes the occurrence of huge wave-shaped features in sedimentary layers of the