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

Martian fluids

Ian Miller

November 26, 2013

Martian fluids

The first images that really excited me were of the Hellas impact basin, with the great outflow channels (Dao and Harmarkis) together with, to the east, the Reull Vallis. Important because Hellas is such a large crater that if any impact would remove atmosphere, Hellas would. The huge fluid flows together with what looked like massive alluvial deposits had to post-date impact, as the alluvial deposit had to be into the already formed crater. The question then was, how could water flow when the temperatures had to be significantly below zero? As a chemist, there was only one answer: the water had to contain ammonia. Where did that come from? Well, answering that led to my alternative theory of planetary formation, which, I must confess is generally ignored. The alternative is based on the requirement that initial accretion depends on chemistry, not gravity, because only chemical interactions are strong enough to hold the intermediate objects together. So, why is this image so important? Because the walls of the valley show a form of erosion expected from leaching, and the pools at the bottom are exactly what this concept expects. Perhaps this is an imaging fluke/error, but if nothing else, the provision of what is predicted always cheers up a theoretician!


Leave a Comment:

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

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.



Beyond The Horizon, There's More To Explore!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

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!