Mars Global Surveyor Provides Evidence of Ancient Martian Oceans

Using data obtained by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, an instrument aboard the unmanned spacecraft Mars Global Surveyor, researchers at Brown University and NASA have assembled a collection of evidence that points to possible remnants of an ancient ocean on Mars. These findings are reported in the 10 December 1999 issue of Science Magazine

According to a Brown University press release: "the team has found four types of quantitative evidence that points to the possible ancient ocean: the elevation of a particular contact (the border between two geological units, such as where one type of surface meets another) is nearly a level surface, which might indicate an ancient shoreline; the topography is smoother below this possible ancient shoreline than above it, consistent with smoothing by sedimentation; the volume of the area below this possible shoreline is within the range of previous estimates of water on Mars; and a series of terraces exists parallel to the possible shoreline, consistent with the possibility of receding shorelines."

° Press release from the Brown University research team
° Martian Geology and Climate, The Whole Mars Catalog
° Further news stories, The Whole Mars Catalog


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