Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Melt water on Mars could sustain life

16.11.2012
Near surface water has shaped the landscape of Mars. Areas of the planet’s northern and southern hemispheres have alternately thawed and frozen in recent geologic history and comprise striking similarities to the landscape of Svalbard.

This suggests that water has played a more extensive role than previously envisioned, and that environments capable of sustaining life could exist, according to new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Mars is a changing planet, and in recent geological time repeated freeze and thaw cycles has played a greater role than expected in terms of shaping the landscape. In an attempt to be able to make more reliable interpretations of the landscapes on Mars, researchers have developed new models for analysing images from the planet.

The process of analysing satellite images from Mars has been combined with similar studies of an arctic environment in Svalbard. Despite the fact that Svalbard is considerably warmer than Mars, the arctic landscape shows a number of striking similarities to certain parts of Mars.

One important common feature is the presence of permafrost and frozen subsurface water.

“In my thesis work, I have compared aerial images from Svalbard with the same resolution as satellite images from Mars, and combined with field-work we increase the ground resolution even further” explains Dr Andreas Johnsson from the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Earth Sciences, who has worked together with planetary researchers from Germany.

Having studied hundreds of gullies on Mars and compared these with Svalbard, the researchers found evidence that the gullies on Mars were likely formed by melting snow and water erosion. Field work has supplemented the interpretation of aerial images.

“The ability to get a first-hand experience with landforms that have been studied using aerial images is a unique feeling. One important insight we have gained is that, despite the high image resolution for both Svalbard and Mars, the camera can’t capture everything. What appears to be fine-grained sediment on an aerial image of Svalbard can actually turn out to be a very rocky area which has implications for certain types of landforms. It’s important to bear this in mind when studying images of Mars.”

Since Mars has a cyclical climate, the same conditions could recur in the future.

The existence of liquid water is a vital component if life on Mars is to be possible.

“Research on Earth has shown that organisms can survive in extreme cold environments with limited access to liquid water,” continues Dr Johnsson. “Studying various areas on Mars therefore enables us to investigate whether there could be environments with conditions capable of supporting life.”

Contact:

Andreas Johnsson, Doctor of Physical Geography, Department of Earth Sciences
University of Gothenburg,
tel.: +46 (0)31 786 2943, mobile: +46 (0)70 54 82 763
E-mail: andreasj@gvc.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Fjords are 'hotspots' in global carbon cycling
05.05.2015 | University of Otago

nachricht Ocean currents disturb methane-eating bacteria
05.05.2015 | CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Superzyklen am Plattenrand

Wenn Erdplatten untereinander abtauchen oder kollidieren, bebt die Erde wie jüngst in Nepal. Forscher der ETH Zürich liefern neue Erklärungsansätze für die Entstehung von Superbeben entlang von Subduktionszonen am Beispiel der Küste Japans.

Am 11. März 2011 entlud sich vor der Küste Japans die Spannung zweier verkeilter Erdplatten unter dem Meeresboden und löste einen gewaltigen Tsunami aus.

Im Focus: The random raman laser: A new light source for the microcosmos

Texas A&M University researchers demonstrate how a narrow-band strobe light source for speckle-free imaging has the potential to reveal microscopic forms of life

In modern microscope imaging techniques, lasers are used as light sources because they can deliver fast pulsed and extremely high-intensity radiation to a...

Im Focus: Radiowellen aus dem Weltraum genauer empfangen

Geodäsie ist die Wissenschaft von der Ausmessung und Abbildung der Erdoberfläche. Eine Messmethode nutzt Radiowellen von weit entfernten astronomischen Objekten, um etwa die Bewegung der Erdplatten zu ermitteln. Ein neuer rauscharmer Hochfrequenzverstärker verspricht die dafür nötigen Radioteleskope leistungsfähiger zu machen.

Forscher des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF in Freiburg entwickelten zusammen mit spanischen Projektpartnern – dem Instituto...

Im Focus: Pulsar with widest orbit ever detected

Discovered by high school research team

A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the National Science Foundation's...

Im Focus: HOBOS, das Bienenforschungsprojekt auf der Expo

„Den Planeten ernähren, Energie für das Leben“: So lautet das Motto der diesjährigen Expo in Mailand. Wenn es um Ernährung geht, spielen Bienen eine wichtige Rolle. Deshalb ist auch HOBOS, das Bienenforschungsprojekt der Uni Würzburg auf der Weltausstellung vertreten.

Etwa 20 Millionen Besucher erwarten die Organisatoren der diesjährigen Weltausstellung Expo in Mailand. Technologie, Innovation, Kultur, Tradition und...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Green Summit 2015: Der Gipfel der Essenz

05.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Lebensretter: Extrakorporale Herz-Lungen-Unterstützung

05.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Center for Metropolitan Studies mit Projekt auf MS Wissenschaft

04.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Ribosomen-Entstehung als attraktives Ziel für neuartige antibakterielle Wirkstoffe

05.05.2015 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Wirbelsäulen-Operationen mit höchster Präzision

05.05.2015 | Medizintechnik

Neonikotinoide: vorbeugender Einsatz von Pflanzenschutzmitteln gefährdet Bienen und andere Insekten

05.05.2015 | Ökologie Umwelt- Naturschutz