Red Planet Riviera: Ancient Mars Ocean Found?
With the help of rover Curiosity, we now know that ancient Mars had large quantities of liquid water flowing across its surface. However, evidence for large bodies of water — i.e. oceans — has been hard to come by. But using high-resolution orbital data, Caltech scientists now think they’ve found a long-dry river delta that once flowed into a very large body of water. Welcome to the Aeolis Riviera — the strongest evidence yet for a Martian coastline.
Aeolis Dorsa is a vast plain about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of Gale Crater, where NASA’s rover Curiosity is currently exploring. Using high-resolution observations from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, the Caltech team spotted what appears to be a river delta leading to a large depression, a candidate for the basin of an ancient ocean.