Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

NASA Burned Up Proof of Mars Life 40 Years Ago

Elijah Vega | 13 July, 2018, 15:30

It is thought that lava or sediments in water partially buried the dunes before hardening into a mold-like structure that preserved their contours. Barchan dunes are crescent-shaped features that occur on flat surfaces with little sand, in zones where the wind blows mostly from one direction. While giant sand dunes have been documented in many images of the Red Planet, these new geologic features were first discovered on Earth in 2016 and only observed on Mars earlier this year.

The "ghost dunes" are hundreds of crescent-shaped depression on the surface of Mars, which once used to be sand dunes the size of Big Ben's Elizabeth Tower in Westminster. "Any one of these pits is not enough to tell you that it is a dune, or from an ancient dune field, but when you put them all together, they have so many aspects common with dunes on Mars and Earth that you have to employ some kind of fantastic explanation to explain them as anything else", said Mackenzie Day, a planetary geomorphologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. But if you really wanted to, and you lived a few billion years ago, we now know where you might have gone. In this new study, Day and Catling identified about 300 previously undiscovered ghost dunes in the Hellas Basin-a 1600-mile long impact crater that also boasts volcanic flows and canyon systems-and almost 500 in Noctis Labyrinthus, a mazelike tangle of steep valleys.

You've already heard of blue dunes on Mars, as recently reported by the Inquisitr, but what are "ghost dunes"?

By comparing the ghost dunes with the modern sand dunes in the Oyama and Herschel craters, the two researchers were able to calculate their age, size, and shape. Discovered on the Snake River Plain in eastern Idaho, these ghost dunes date back to the late Pleistocene, reports Atlas Obscura.

She claims that the chlorobenzene Viking found may have come from material they carried from Earth to Mars.

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In addition to providing a useful target in the hunt for signatures of ancient life, the dunes may also help to shape our understanding of what Martian winds were like in the past.

"We know that dunes on Earth can support life, and dunes on Earth are very similar to dunes on Mars", Day said. "If you are inside a dune, or at the bottom of a dune, and you are microbial life, the dune is protecting you from a lot of that radiation", Day said. This indicates that the environmental conditions on Mars have changed over time.

"There is probably nothing living there now", Day told Lester. In both cases, it was coming from the north, and slowly pushing the dunes south-different than the winds there today. They found that the Hellas Basin dunes averaged around 250 feet tall, while the Noctis Labyrinthus dunes were about half that.

Scientists still can't say with utter certainty whether life ever existed on Mars.

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