“An area on Mars may have been repeatedly habitable until relatively late in Martian history, “explains a new paper released by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Catherine Weitz.
Few of the most extensively maintained landforms on Mars defined by running water on its surface are formed within the Margaritifer Terra area, where residues of clay-bearing sediments have been observed. “The presence of clays indicates an environment favorable for life because clays form and remain stable under neutral pH conditions where water persists long-term that minimizes evaporation to form other minerals like sulfates,” Weitz announced.
“We found that the Ladon basin region within Margaritifer Terra records a long history of flowing water beginning relatively early in Mars history around 3.8 billion years ago that continued until up to 2.5 billion years ago, which is considered relatively recent,” announced Weitz, lead author of “Clay Sediments Derived from Fluvial Activity in and around Ladon basin, Mars” that occurs in the journal Icarus.
“Using orbital images, we identified clay-bearing sediments within northern Ladon Valles, southern Ladon basin, and the southwestern highlands around Ladon basin,” Weitz said. In addition, colorful light-toned layered remainders that display relatively low bedding dips and incorporate clays across 200 kilometers in the distance are indications that a lake was most likely existing within the Ladon basin and northern Ladon Valles. The low-energy lake setting and the existence of clays support an environment that would have been favorable to life at that moment.