The planet’s northern ice cap contains remarkable features, including a vast chasm known as the Chasma Boreale, which is larger than the Earth’s Grand Canyon, and a series of spiral troughs inscribed in the ice.
The mystery of their origin was unexplained for nearly 40 years, until a recent study conducted by geophysicists Dr. Jack Holt and graduate student Isaac Smith of the University of Texas, USA. Using radar data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that probed the subsurface topography of the ice cap, they observed the internal layers of the large ice sheets to gain insight into historical changes of the Martian climate and how it continues to shape the planet.
Their findings indicate that the Chasma Boreale evolved through eons of wind erosion, while the spiral phenomenon is also wind-related and reflects the Coriolis force, a phenomenon also present on Earth caused by the planet's spinning in space. Meanwhile, a related study found that an immense ocean around the planet’s north pole likely covered a third of Mars’ surface some 3.5 billion years ago.
Dr. Gaetano Di Achille and Professor Brian Hynek of the University of Colorado, USA examined extensive images and found 52 river-delta deposits scattered across the planet. More than half occurred at about the same elevation, appearing to mark the boundary of what was once an enormous sea.
These findings also suggest that Mars may have had an Earth-like hydrological cycle of evaporation and rainfall. Dr. Di Achille said, “On Earth, deltas and lakes are excellent collectors and preservers of signs of past life. If life ever arose on Mars, deltas may be the key to unlocking Mars' biological past.”
Many thanks, international scientists, for your detailed work in sharing such fascinating insights on the history of Mars. May these intriguing findings about our planetary neighbor help us be better stewards of our precious Earth. During a January 2009 videoconference with Supreme Master Television staff in California, USA, Supreme Master Ching Hai reminded that our increased knowledge on Mars is an avenue for our better protection of the delicate balance of our own ecosphere.