Connect with us

Science

Mars' surface shaped by fast and furious floods from overflowing craters – Phys.org

Published

 on


A colored topographical image showing river valleys on Mars. The outlet canyon Loire Vallis (white line) formed from the overflow of a lake in Parana Basin (outlined in white). Black lines indicate other river valleys formed by processes other than lake overflows. Background is colored Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter-derived topography over a Thermal Emission Imaging System image mosaic. Image is approximately 650 kilometers across. Credit: NASA/GSFC/ JPL ASU

On Earth, river erosion is usually a slow-going process. But on Mars, massive floods from overflowing crater lakes had an outsized role in shaping the Martian surface, carving deep chasms and moving vast amounts of sediment, according to a new study led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

The study, published Sept. 29 in Nature, found that the floods, which probably lasted mere weeks, eroded more than enough sediment to completely fill Lake Superior and Lake Ontario.

“If we think about how sediment was being moved across the landscape on ancient Mars, breach floods were a really important process globally,” said lead author Tim Goudge, an assistant professor at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences. “And this is a bit of a surprising result because they’ve been thought of as one-off anomalies for so long.”

Crater lakes were common on Mars billions of years ago when the Red Planet had on its surface. Some craters could hold a small sea’s worth of water. But when the water became too much to hold, it would breach the edge of the , causing catastrophic flooding that carved river valleys in its wake. A 2019 study led by Goudge determined that these events happened rapidly.

Remote sensing images taken by satellites orbiting Mars have allowed scientists to study the remains of breached Martian crater lakes. However, the and their river valleys have mostly been studied on an individual basis, Goudge said. This is the first study to investigate how the 262 breached lakes across the Red Planet shaped the Martian surface as a whole.

Mars’ surface shaped by fast and furious floods from overflowing craters
The remains of a former crater lake on Mars surrounded by other smaller craters. The large outlet canyon in the upper left formed during a crater breach event. Credit: Goudge et al.

The research entailed reviewing a preexisting catalog of river valleys on Mars and classifying the valleys into two categories: valleys that got their start at a crater’s edge, which indicates they formed during a lake breach flood, and valleys that formed elsewhere on the landscape, which suggests a more gradual formation over time.

From there, the scientists compared the depth, length and volume of the different valley types and found that river valleys formed by crater lake breaches punch far above their weight, eroding away nearly a quarter of the Red Planet’s river valley volume despite making up only 3% of total valley length.

“This discrepancy is accounted for by the fact that outlet canyons are significantly deeper than other valleys,” said study co-author Alexander Morgan, a research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.

At 559 feet (170.5 meters), the median depth of a breach river valley is more than twice that of other river valleys created more gradually over time, which have a median depth of about 254 feet (77.5 meters).

Mars’ surface shaped by fast and furious floods from overflowing craters
A global map of Mars showing river valleys around the Red Planet. River valleys formed by crater lake breaches are in white. River valleys that formed gradually over time are in black. Credit: Goudge et al.

In addition, although the chasms appeared in a geologic instant, they may have had a lasting effect on the surrounding landscape. The study suggests that the breaches scoured canyons so deep they may have influenced the formation of other nearby river valleys. The authors said this is a potential alternative explanation for unique Martian river valley topography that is usually attributed to climate.

The study demonstrates that lake breach played an important role in shaping the Martian surface, but Goudge said it’s also a lesson in expectations. The Earth’s geology has wiped away most craters and makes a slow and steady process in most cases. But that doesn’t mean it will work that way on other worlds.

“When you fill [the craters] with water, it’s a lot of stored energy there to be released,” Goudge said. “It makes sense that Mars might tip, in this case, toward being shaped by catastrophism more than the Earth.”


Explore further

Sustained planetwide storms may have filled lakes, rivers on ancient Mars


More information:
The importance of lake breach floods for valley incision on early Mars, Nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03860-1 , www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03860-1

Citation:
Mars’ surface shaped by fast and furious floods from overflowing craters (2021, September 29)
retrieved 29 September 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-mars-surface-fast-furious-craters.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Russian crew returns from shooting the first feature film on the ISS – Yahoo Movies Canada

Published

 on


Shooting for the first feature-length movie in space has wrapped. Space.com reports Russian actress Yulia Pereslid, producer Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy have returned to Earth after the first two spent 12 days filming their movie The Challenge aboard the International Space Station. The three left the ISS in a Soyuz spacecraft at 9:14PM Eastern on October 16th and landed in Kazakhstan just a few hours later, at 12:35AM.

Pereslid and Shipenko arrived on October 5th through an agreement between the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the TV network Channel One and the production studio Yellow, Black and White. Novitskiy had been there since April 9th as part of his regular duties, although he also played a key role — the movie has Pereslid play a surgeon who makes an emergency visit to the ISS to operate on the cosmonaut.

The filming required significant sacrifices for some of the ISS crew. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov were originally slated to return aboard the Soyuz capsule, but both have had their stays extended by six months to accommodate the film producers. Vande Hei will set a record for the longest spaceflight by a US astronaut as a result, spending exactly one year in orbit. Pereslid also broke ground as the first professional actor to visit space, beating William Shatner by roughly a week.

It will be a while before The Challenge is ready to watch, and it’s safe to say the production is aimed primarily at a Russian audience. It’s a major milestone for private uses of space, though, and hints at a future when Tom Cruise and other stars are frequently blasting off to produce shows in orbit.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Russian actor, director arrive back on earth from ISS – Euronews

Published

 on


A Soyuz space capsule carrying a cosmonaut and two Russian filmmakers has returned to Earth after leaving the International Space Station (ISS) earlier on Sunday.

The capsule landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan carrying Russian actor Yulia Peresild and film director Klim Shipenko, who returned to Earth after filming scenes for the world’s first movie in orbit – a project the Kremlin said would help burnish the nation’s space glory.

Peresild and Shipenko rocketed into orbit in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on October 5 for a 12-day stint on the station to film segments of the movie titled “Challenge,” in which a surgeon played by Peresild rushes to the space station to save a crew member who needs an urgent operation in orbit.

The pair returned to Earth on Sunday with another Russian cosmonaut, Oleg Novitskiy, who also stars as the ailing cosmonaut in the movie.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

VIDEO: NASA’s asteroid hunter Lucy soars into sky with diamonds – Abbotsford News

Published

 on


A NASA spacecraft named Lucy rocketed into the sky with diamonds Saturday morning on a 12-year quest to explore eight asteroids.

Seven of the mysterious space rocks are among swarms of asteroids sharing Jupiter’s orbit, thought to be the pristine leftovers of planetary formation.

An Atlas V rocket blasted off before dawn, sending Lucy on a roundabout journey spanning nearly 4 billion miles (6.3 billion kilometers). Researchers grew emotional describing the successful launch — lead scientist Hal Levison said it was like witnessing the birth of a child. “Go Lucy!” he urged.

Lucy is named after the 3.2 million-year-old skeletal remains of a human ancestor found in Ethiopia nearly a half-century ago. That discovery got its name from the 1967 Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” prompting NASA to send the spacecraft soaring with band members’ lyrics and other luminaries’ words of wisdom imprinted on a plaque. The spacecraft also carried a disc made of lab-grown diamonds for one of its science instruments.

In a prerecorded video for NASA, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr paid tribute to his late colleague John Lennon, credited for writing the song that inspired all this.

“I’m so excited — Lucy is going back in the sky with diamonds. Johnny will love that,” Starr said. “Anyway, if you meet anyone up there, Lucy, give them peace and love from me.”

The paleoanthropologist behind the fossil Lucy discovery, Donald Johanson, had goose bumps watching Lucy soar — “I will never look at Jupiter the same … absolutely mind-expanding.” He said he was filled with wonder about this “intersection of our past, our present and our future.”

“That a human ancestor who lived so long ago stimulated a mission which promises to add valuable information about the formation of our solar system is incredibly exciting,” said Johanson, of Arizona State University, who traveled to Cape Canaveral for his first rocket launch.

Lucy’s $981 million mission is the first to aim for Jupiter’s so-called Trojan entourage: thousands — if not millions — of asteroids that share the gas giant’s expansive orbit around the sun. Some of the Trojan asteroids precede Jupiter in its orbit, while others trail it.

Despite their orbits, the Trojans are far from the planet and mostly scattered far from each other. So there’s essentially zero chance of Lucy getting clobbered by one as it swoops past its targets, said Levison of Southwest Research Institute, the mission’s principal scientist.

Lucy will swing past Earth next October and again in 2024 to get enough gravitational oomph to make it all the way out to Jupiter’s orbit. On the way there, the spacecraft will zip past asteroid Donaldjohanson between Mars and Jupiter. The aptly named rock will serve as a 2025 warm-up act for the science instruments.

Drawing power from two huge circular solar wings, Lucy will chase down five asteroids in the leading pack of Trojans in the late 2020s. The spacecraft will then zoom back toward Earth for another gravity assist in 2030. That will send Lucy back out to the trailing Trojan cluster, where it will zip past the final two targets in 2033 for a record-setting eight asteroids visited in a single mission.

It’s a complicated, circuitous path that had NASA’s science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, shaking his head at first. “You’ve got to be kidding. This is possible?” he recalled asking.

Lucy will pass within 600 miles (965 kilometers) of each target; the biggest one is about 70 miles (113 kilometers) across.

“Are there mountains? Valleys? Pits? Mesas? Who knows? I’m sure we’re going to be surprised,” said Johns Hopkins University’s Hal Weaver, who’s in charge of Lucy’s black-and-white camera. “But we can hardly wait to see what … images will reveal about these fossils from the formation of the solar system.”

NASA plans to launch another mission next month to test whether humans might be able to alter an asteroid’s orbit — practice in case Earth ever has a killer rock headed this way.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

NASASpace

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending