The Journey To Mawrth Vallis, Where Water Was Present In Earlier Times On The Planet Mars (Video)

First Posted: Dec 10, 2016 03:30 AM EST

Mawrth Vallis is one of the oldest valleys on the planet Mars. It was discovered then that water once flowed in the past in this region. With this, it becomes the possible landing site for Mars 2020 rover that analyzes rock samples in a maximum depth of 2 meters.

Mawrth or Mars in Welsh is situated on the transition between the southern highland regions and the northern lowlands of Mars. It was covered by layered rock and is now being unearthed. Mawrth Vallis is an ancient water outflow channel that has light-colored clay-rich rocks. The region has visibility of phyllosilicate (clay) minerals that only form when water is available. This was first detected by the OMEGA spectrometer on the European Space Agency's Mars express orbiter. The clays that were discovered in the valley were kaolinite, montmorillonite and nontronite.

DLR reports that the Mawrth Vallis could have been capable of supporting life in the past. This is because it had the volume of hydrated (water-retaining) minerals identified by various Mars spacecraft in orbit. It is also found that clay minerals discovered in the region are certainly friendly to life. Researchers think that traces of life might still exist in the lower layers of the Mawrth Vallis.

A flyover animation was produced through images taken by the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft using a High-Resolution Stereo camera (HRSC). This was operated by the German Aerospace Center on board the ESA's spacecraft. Meanwhile, the scientists from the Freie Universität Berlin developed a simulated overflight animation on the course of the Mawrth Vallis from the digital terrain model estimated at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research. View the stunning Mawrth Vallis in the video below.

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