Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Ryan Anderson

Plumbing on Mars: HiRISE Reveals Groundwater Cracks

Posted by Ryan Anderson

26-09-2008 19:35 CDT

Topics: Mars

This article originally appeared on Ryan Anderson's "The Martian Chronicles" blog and is reposted here with permission.

This image from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows cracks in the rocks on Mars that once formed the underground plumbing through which groundwater traveled.

HiRISE image of possible former groundwater paths

NASA / JPL-Caltech / U. Arizona / Chris H. Okubo

HiRISE image of possible former groundwater paths

Groundwater flow on Mars has been speculated for a long time, but it takes powerful cameras like HiRISE to actually find the evidence. These cracks resisted erosion because they were filled with minerals deposited by groundwater, so now we can see them as positive relief.

From the press release:

"This study provides a picture of not just surface water erosion, but true groundwater effects widely distributed over the planet," said Suzanne Smrekar, deputy project scientist for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Groundwater movement has important implications for how the temperature and chemistry of the crust have changed over time, which in turn affects the potential for habitats for past life."

Too bad we didn't find these a year ago so they could be considered as an MSL landing site...

See other posts from September 2008


Or read more blog entries about: Mars


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Essential Advocacy

Our Advocacy Program provides each Society member a voice in the process.

Funding is critical. The more we have, the more effective we can be, translating into more missions, more science, and more exploration.


Featured Images

Schiaparelli crash site from HiRISE, October 25, 2016
Color map of Pluto
Comparison of Schiaparelli and Opportunity landing locations
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera image of Curiosity landing site
More Images

Featured Video

The Planetary Post - Star Trek 50th Anniversary

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!