A channel in an ancient Martian “riverbed” wasn’t carved by liquid water but was built by molten lava, according to a new study of surface features on Mars.
Pictures of the red planet have long revealed features such as valleys and alluvial fans reminiscent of those seen around water bodies on Earth. (Related:“Huge Mars Region Shaped by Water, Rover Mission Finds.”)
Water is a prerequisite for life as we know it, so these formerly wet landscapes have been touted as some of the best places on Mars to look for traces of past life.
But new high-resolution images of a peculiar 168-mile-long (270-kilometer-long) channel near the Ascraeus Mons volcano aren’t likely to have been made by water after all.