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Published:September 30th, 2012 10:42 EST
Did Flowing Water and Rocky Streams Once Exist on the Red Planet' Surface?

Did Flowing Water and Rocky Streams Once Exist on the Red Planet' Surface?

By Ron G Anselm

 

When I think of water that flows like a stream of traffic on the highway as rush hour breaks loose or when I think about rocky streams in general I think about sitting in the wilderness and being part of it in the Great Northwest (here on Earth) where this type of environment is right outside your backdoor. I don`t picture sitting in a dry and hot environment (as if I was sitting on Mars) filled with hydrogen gas looking at an old rocky stream bed that may have once flourished with water and who knows what else could have lived in it while the water flowed so fast it polished stones and paved the landscape into a wondrous lake that even if they were real.

This is the type of scenery the little green men living on Mars while casting their fishing poles in it trying to catch those little green fish could have appreciated. Believe it or not this scenario could have really once existed on the Surface of the Red Planet. Maybe not the little green men fishing for little green fish but water may have flowed vigorously in little rocky streams on the "Martian surface."

NASA once again has discovered another break through while studying the surface of Mars. The Curiosity Rover mission has found the possible evidence of a stream that may have once ran vigorously in the area where the Rover is currently studying and gathering data. Rover has found images of rocks that contain ancient gravel that is normally found in stream beds. This new evidence raises the eyebrows of NASA scientists and may satisfy the hypothesis of did water once exist on the surface of Mars? Yes, it more than likely did but more research is ongoing. This new find is the first of its kind.

NASA is currently studying images of stones that are embedded into the layers of conglomerate rock in and around the area of Rover. The sizes and the shapes of the stone images offer evidence that water did exist and there was possibly a long-ago stream that once flowed as smooth as watching a sheet of silk hanging on a clothes line and gently rippling in a summers breeze.

William Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley who is the co-science investigator on this commented by stating, "From the size of gravels it carried, we can interpret the water was moving about 3 feet per second, with a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep. Plenty of papers have been written about channels on Mars with many different hypotheses about the flows in them. This is the first time we`re actually seeing water-transported gravel on Mars. This is a transition from speculation about the size of streambed material to direct observation of it." (Dietrich, W.)

Yes, you may also question yourself by saying, Come on now, this is Mars not some fishing hole or lake in the Great Northwest and anything could have flowed in that Martian streambed other than water but as the old saying goes, and this is just a hypothetical way to put it; if it looks like a fish, smells like a fish and tastes like a fish it probably is a fish, the same goes for the Martian streambed. It suggests all the evidence of the flow of water that probably did once flow on the surface of Mars but as any possibility goes in science there are always a million avenues that have to be driven down and a ton of data that has to be sorted through before NASA can really say, Yes, water did for sure exist on Mars.

The Rover is currently near one of the main craters that house a small mountain inside it known as the North Rim of Gale Crater and the base of Mount Sharp. The images sent back to NASA reveal alluvial fan of material washed down from the rim, streaked by many apparent  channels, sitting uphill of the new finds. (nasa.com)

So, what this is basically saying in basic elementary terms, if any of you may be from Southern California or have driven down Malibu Canyon Road in Malibu after the rainy season then you have seen what the Southern California mudslides can do to the side of a mountain. They turn the once vegetated side of mountains into a landscape with streaks carved out of the side of the hills where water rushed down them and took out everything in its path; this is what the side of the mountain that the Rover is studying on Mars may more than likely look like. The polished stones in the channel of the side of that mountain on Mars and the streaks carved out of it do suggest that water flowed for a long period of time or even just a few years or so.

John Grotzinger who is the Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist commented on this, "Hottah looks like someone jack-hammered up a slab of city sidewalk but it`s really a tilted block of an ancient streambed. The shapes tell you they were transported and the sizes tell you they couldn`t be transported by wind. They were transported by water flow." (Grotzinger, J.,) When he refers to the term Hottah; Hottah is one of the outcrops the Rover is currently studying. The other outcrop is called Link. Both of these outcrops are the mark for Rover to collect as much data from as possible.

The focal point now is to study the size and shapes of the gravel in both of the outcrops. The size and shapes of most of the gavel being studies range in size from a grain of sand to the size of a golf ball. Some of the shapes are angular but most of the shapes are rounded.

Rebecca Williams of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona added, "The shapes tell you they were transported and the sizes tell you they couldn`t be transported by wind. They were transported by water flow." (Williams, R.)

The next step in the process of supporting the premise that water did at one time exist on the surface of Mars is to add another piece to the puzzle and study the elemental composition of the material holding the conglomerate rocks together. So, NASA will go from space study to Geology to try to link the material to flowing water together to complete the hypothesis.

The other element of proving water once existed on Mars would also prove the other study that NASA is in the (WIP) or Work in Process stages of proving and that is if there really was water on the Martian surface at one time then so life more than likely also existed on Mars at one time or maybe still does in some capacity. So, maybe those little green fishermen may be a thing of reality not the imagination and the thought could net be that far-fetched from the truth if you think about it in science terms. NASA is looking for clay and sulfite minerals which are good preservers of carbon-based organic chemicals thus are the main ingredients for life or proving life did once exist.

John Grotzinger when on to add, "A long-flowing stream can be a habitable environment. It is not our top choice as an environment for preservation of organics, though. We`re still going to Mount Sharp, but this is insurance that we have already found our first potentially habitable environment." (Gotzinger, J.), meaning Rover finding the possibility that a stream may have once existed on Mars.

As of now, Rover is on a two-year science mission to study various locations around the Martian surface to prove that microbial life may have once existed if water did really exist on the surface of Mars in free-flowing streams or abroad.

                                                                              Reference

NASA ROVER FINDS OLD STREAMBED ON MARTIAN SURFACE, (http://www.nasa.gov/msl). Retrieved

     2012.

As the Home Plate umpire yells out in a harsh and thunderous voice, Striiiiike Threeee!!!, You`re Out!  For all you Baseball fans and sports fanatics out there keep an eye out for my next book on the complete game and history of Major League baseball. It is scheduled to go to production next week. Buy your copy when it is available in the market, it will be more fun to read than watching Babe Ruth trying to steal second base and sliding head first as he tries to beat the throw from the catcher and slide under the second basemen`s glove to success. Release date and title to come I will let you know when I know from my publisher.