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PSI Newsmakers: A Long History of Flowing Water Recorded in Clay-Bearing Sediments on Mars

A region on Mars may have been repeatedly habitable until relatively late in Martian history, says a new paper by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Catherine Weitz. Some of the most extensively preserved landforms on Mars created by running water on its surface are found within the Margaritifer Terra region where deposits of clay-bearing sediments have been identified. “The presence of clays indicates an environment favorable for life because clays form and remain stable under neutral pH conditions where water persists long-term that minimizes evaporation to form other minerals like sulfates,” Weitz said. “We found that the Ladon basin region within Margaritifer Terra records a long history of flowing water beginning relatively early in Mars history around 3.8 billion years ago that continued until up to 2.5 billion years ago, which is considered relatively recent.” said Weitz, lead author of “Clay Sediments Derived from Fluvial Activity in and around Ladon basin, Mars” that appears in the journal Icarus. Data from NASA’s High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), Context Camera (CTX), and Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometers for Mars (CRISM) onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft were used in the study. Full press release: https://www.psi.edu/news/press-releases ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Planetary Science Institute is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to Solar System exploration. It is headquartered in Tucson, AZ, where it was founded in 1972. In 2016 PSI established a second office in Lakewood, CO (near Denver). PSI scientists and educators are involved in numerous NASA and international missions, the study of Mars, Earth, and other planets, the Moon, asteroids, comets, interplanetary dust, impact physics, the origin of the solar system, extrasolar planet formation, dynamics, the rise of life, and other areas of research. They conduct fieldwork on all continents of the Earth to understand our planet and others. They are also actively involved around the world in science education and public outreach through school programs, children's books, popular science books, podcasts, and art. To support our education and outreach activities, please donate here: https://psi.edu/support For the latest in planetary science news and content from PSI, come find us on all our media sites: - Twitter: https://twitter.com/planetarysci - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/planetarysci - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/planetary.sci/ - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/planetary-science-institute/ Please like, subscribe, and ring the bell for notifications! #mars #wateronmars #science

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