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Mars' Reull Vallis: a River Ran Through It

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the brad-pitt-passed-on-this-one dept.

Mars 41

Press2ToContinue sends this quote from a European Space Agency news release: "ESA's Mars Express imaged the striking upper part of the Reull Vallis region of Mars with its high-resolution stereo camera last year. Reull Vallis, the river-like structure in these images, is believed to have formed when running water flowed in the distant martian past, cutting a steep-sided channel through the Promethei Terra Highlands before running on towards the floor of the vast Hellas basin. This sinuous structure, which stretches for almost 1500 km across the martian landscape, is flanked by numerous tributaries, one of which can be clearly seen cutting in to the main valley towards the upper (north) side."

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Alien life... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42629515)

... or GTFO!!!111

Re:Alien life... (2)

wiggles (30088) | about 2 years ago | (#42629593)

I prefer "relevant post or GTFO"

Re:Alien life... Question is... (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about 2 years ago | (#42630149)

Did they river raft?

Re:Alien life... (1, Redundant)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42631805)

space nerds are such dipshits... there's no fucking river... it's just a fucking planet wrinkle, you know cos mars is getting older

fuck it's hard work being a genius

Online Income (-1, Offtopic)

bypeviop (2818829) | about 2 years ago | (#42629661)

what Elizabeth said I am amazed that a stay at home mom able to profit $6386 in 4 weeks on the internet. have you read this site http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com]

Re:Online Income (0)

LordKaT (619540) | about 2 years ago | (#42630151)

I think Dr. Who had a stroke.

Why water? (0)

8Complex (10701) | about 2 years ago | (#42629775)

I see all these articles about assumptions that water cut this or formed that feature, but what is so inconceivable that it could have been some other liquid that did the same thing? Is there some inherent feature to water (H2O) that means it is the sole naturally-occurring liquid that could cause a feature like this? Or for that matter, what are the chances it could be an element which we've yet to discover?

Re:Why water? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42629951)

what are the chances it could be an element which we've yet to discover?

Zero.

Re:Why water? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631495)

I see all these articles about assumptions that water cut this or formed that feature, but what is so inconceivable that it could have been some other liquid that did the same thing?

We have already discovered a lot of water in the form of ice on Mars. So why would it be something else?

Captcha: watered D=

Re:Why water? (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42631811)

even god has to take a leak sometimes

water but no rain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42629869)

The pattern shows flowing liquid (probably water) but if the atmosphere produced rain then the surface would be covered in dendritic patterns. The glacial origin therefore seems pretty reasonable. IMHO.

We got Mianus, too. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42629919)

You know what? Screw this story. Yes, yes. Rivers and all that. Delightful.

I just realized that some day, some kid's gonna get to grow up a Martian from Reull Vallis Heights. Fuck that kid.

-A Connecticutian in Plantsville.

Re:We got Mianus, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42633239)

Fuck that kid.

We don't condone that kind of activity here. But who knows what the future will hold?

Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Time (3, Interesting)

gpronger (1142181) | about 2 years ago | (#42629935)

It would seem that the more we understand Mars, the much greater likelihood that at minimum primitive (single cell) life would have evolved. Given life here on Earth started within a billion years of creation, the similarities between the two, would seem to have been near identical. Initially, both would have had similar atmospheres, and formation of liquid water. It was very close here on Earth that life then developed.

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (5, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | about 2 years ago | (#42630537)

Given even the relatively recent exchanges of material between Mars and the Earth, much less similar incidents in the past (including an asteroid impact that destroyed 99.9% of all species here on the Earth) I think it is very likely that the genuine origin of life, especially simple things like blue-green algae, may have even originated on Mars or at least it would be hard to declare where it happened. This only has to happen once every hundred million years or so to still be significant, and the K-T event (something capable of ejecting a piece of swamp and sending that to Mars) happened only 65 million years ago.

If MER or some future space probe discovers actual life on Mars, I'm willing to suggest that the DNA would even be very similar to what is found here on the Earth and through DNA analysis you may even be able to find a common ancestor between that life and stuff found here on the Earth. It certainly couldn't be ruled out.

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (1)

gpronger (1142181) | about 2 years ago | (#42630559)

Agree. With the level of asteroid activity, that there would not be exchange of organic matter would seem to an unlikely event.

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631093)

What's with these fantasies about life coming from Mars?

Earth didn't need help, it had all the raw materials, and in an environment without life, self-replicating chemicals would flourish. Saying "life came from outta space" just pushes the origin of life question a little bit - it doesn't answer it.

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (2)

cjsm (804001) | about 2 years ago | (#42631267)

Exactly. It's like looking at some random algae infested pond in the United States and speculating the algae were not native, but transported by air currents from the Antarctic coast. Ridiculous.

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631275)

Why couldn't simple Earth life have been transported to Mars as a result of these ELEs here? Always we're told it's the other way 'round, but why should it be?

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42631849)

the protoss wiped out all life on mars and planted life on earth... pretty soon the zerg will come along and infest us all

i bags infested kerrigan...woof!

Energy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631921)

The amount of energy required have an impact large enough to cause ejected material to move out to the orbit of Mars is so huge that the Earth would have disintegrated.

Going from Mars to Earth is much easier to accomplish.

Re:Energy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632083)

Seriously?

When those comets and asteroids slammed into the Earth, wiping out an enormous percentage of life in the process, the impact wasn't powerful enough to cause a few bits of blast debris to reach escape velocity?

Just a few bits with some bacteria on it; We're not talking Space 1999, here, okay?

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 2 years ago | (#42636497)

It's more likely that Earth life originated on Earth, but it's also possible it originated on Mars, and that possibility is more exciting to people than the obvious answer so of course it gets talked up.

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 2 years ago | (#42638167)

Of course life could have originated on the Earth and been transported to Mars as well. Or it could have even originated somewhere else entirely around a completely different star (the panspermia theory). This is hardly even a new theory and variants of it go back to ancient Greek philosophers.

Why do you think the "obvious answer" is an abiotic origin to life here on the Earth? Perhaps so, but it isn't necessary and there are simply other possibilities too.

Mind you I'm not talking "directed panspermia" that presupposes some sort of greater intelligence being involved here, but merely how it takes just a single cell of living tissue to reproduce favorably and you get explosive variations in life with just that one thing given ideal growing conditions... such as did exist in the early days of the Earth. The possibility that life is much more pervasive in the Solar System as a whole and perhaps throughout the Milky Way Galaxy does offer some interesting possibilities and can influence the Drake Equation for the potential of complex life elsewhere.

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (1)

cjsm (804001) | about 2 years ago | (#42631215)

Those who say there are no Martians have never been to Mars.

Re:Almost Certainly Life At Least At 1 Point In Ti (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42631831)

yeah cos there's a proven correlation between the probability of life on mars and our understanding of mars

i wish it were the case that if i understood my microwave oven well enough, i could use it to turn mushrooms into gold

Note the lack of impact craters in the stream bed (5, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 2 years ago | (#42630079)

It was not that long ago that the water flowed.

Re:Note the lack of impact craters in the stream b (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42630399)

I thought TFA talked about how water stopped flowing during the Hesperian period or something, and was around 2-3ish billion years ago. The reason the impact craters don't appear in the stream bed is also in the article - that ice and debris flowed afterwards in glacial fashion down the river carving into the wall and floor of the existing bed. At least, that's how I read it.. I could be wrong and stuff.

If you look close... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631941)

If you look close there are impact craters in the river bed.

Looks to be partially obscured by later flow... and not ice as I would have expected that to completely obliterate the traces except for partials along the sides.

Some of them even look like they formed in mud.

Re:Note the lack of impact craters in the stream b (2)

hb253 (764272) | about 2 years ago | (#42631361)

Every time I read about these Mars findings I start thinking about the time machine I'll never have.

What a treat it would be to see it as it was.

Re:Note the lack of impact craters in the stream b (2)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 2 years ago | (#42631537)

Every time I read about these Mars findings I start thinking about the time machine I'll never have.

What a treat it would be to see it as it was.

Well... with faster than light travel, presumably if we fly far enough away and have a powerful enough telescope...

Re:Note the lack of impact craters in the stream b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632629)

Dude don't even go there, if you knew anything about relativity or how the universe works, you'd know that you'd be traveling back in time if you did this and would create a black hole and either a paradox would happen or the universe would just tear apart. You can't go faster than light asshole.

Re:Note the lack of impact craters in the stream b (3, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 2 years ago | (#42632905)

Dude don't even go there, if you knew anything about relativity or how the universe works, you'd know that you'd be traveling back in time if you did this and would create a black hole and either a paradox would happen or the universe would just tear apart. You can't go faster than light asshole.

One might infer that if it was possible and if it would tear the universe apart some asshole would have done it by now just for the lulz

Re:Note the lack of impact craters in the stream b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631779)

There are actually quite a few if you look at the high resolution TIFs. However, they are all small craters which indicates younger more frequent events. Certainly nothing like the large impacts surrounding the site.

There is a crater towards the bottom of the image which looks like it hit either after the river dried up (or was in the process of) or when it was flowing, but not before. Were it before, there would be erosion and the I would assume crater walls wouldn't remain closed. As it stands, the impact ring extends into the course of the river and it makes it look like the river flowed around it - which shouldn't happen. This and the several impacts on the bed could be used to set an upper age limit.

Mars had water once (2)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about 2 years ago | (#42632141)

Can we please stop with the "Mars once had water!" stuff? Mars had water once three billion or so years ago. It probably still has traces of it left, and there's possibly primitive life there. We're dicking around in LE-orbit, hitching rides from the Russians. Boots on Mars. Read it. Learn it. Understand it. Make it happen.

Re:Mars had water once (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632679)

You go first.

Re:Mars had water once (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42632871)

Of course there's no guarantee that getting boots on Mars will prove or disprove that there was or possibly is life there. Neither is it a necessary condition, we keep sending bigger and better rovers with more equipment that can do more. With Opportunity still running and Curiosity now operational we've had eyes on the ground uninterrupted since 2004 while I suspect a human mission would be a one-time stunt not to be repeated for decades.

Watch out! (1)

Slagothor (1156549) | about 2 years ago | (#42632635)

"With all the meteor activity in this system, it's going to be difficult to spot approaching ships."

The river bed appears to be free of craters (1)

gpscc (315484) | about 2 years ago | (#42632651)

I see something interesting here. It looks like the river bed is free of craters. Its as if it was formed after the cratering period.

Roles (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#42632669)

Europe had an express need to see what's going on over there from orbit. Hopefully, the Americans will show some curiosity and go check on site.

Glacial Flow (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 2 years ago | (#42633559)

It looks like a glacier that's been covered in aeolian dust. Too straight to be a river valley.

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