By Dean Murray

An incredible new image shows evidence of flowing rivers on Mars.

The picture were taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it searches for signs of water and ice.

NASA says the image of ridges in Aeolis Planum tells “a story of ancient rivers and a Red Planet very different to that of today”.

The MRO typically flies at an altitude of about 250 to 316 kilometres (155 to 196 miles) above the planet’s surface, allowing it to capture intricate detail.

NASA says the image of ridges in Aeolis Planum on Mars tells “a story of ancient rivers and a Red Planet very different to that of today” (Pix via SWNS)

The space agency explain: “These ridges show the location of the old river beds in Mars’ distant past.

“River beds often get filled with gravel and the surrounding terrain is often built up of fine-grained mud from river overflows. The gravely river bottom and the fine-grained surroundings can lead to a strange phenomenon that geologists call inverted channels.

“After the river disappears, the fine-grained surroundings can be easily eroded away leaving the gravely river bed as a high-standing ridge.

“The angle at which the ridges join together indicate that these rivers flowed from top-right to bottom-left.”

The image was captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on MRO, and was catalogued by NASA on 31 January 2024. The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE.

NASA says the image of ridges in Aeolis Planum on Mars tells “a story of ancient rivers and a Red Planet very different to that of today” (Pix via SWNS)

The MRO is a spacecraft designed to search for the existence of water on Mars and provide support for missions to Mars, as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.

It was launched from Cape Canaveral in August 2005 and reached Mars in March 2006.


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