Trending Topics

Scientists Discovered Strange Funnels on Mars, Considered a Good Spot to Search for Life

Nov 12, 2016 04:10 AM EST
ESA's Mars Express Returns Images Of Echus Chasma
Researchers are looking at the strange funnels found on the surface of Mars as it may be a good place to search for signs of life.
(Photo : ESA via Getty Images)

Scientists are not running out of mysterious formations on the surface of the red planet to analyze. Recently, strange-looking funnels were discovered.

These depressions on the surface of Mars are also considered as a good spot to search for since of former or existing signs of alien life forms. This is according to the Austin-led study by the University of Texas. Some say a volcano is hidden beneath the surface that makes the depression thrive with chemicals and a potentially warm environment could have caused the funnels.

A condition like that could be construed as 'suitable' for microorganisms to exist. The journal Icarus and the International Journal of Solar System Studies published the findings.

"We were drawn to this site because it looked like it could host some of the key ingredients for habitability -- water, heat and nutrients," lead author Joseph Levy, a research associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics said in a statement.

The funnels can be found inside what appears to be a crater near the Hellas basin. It is also interestingly, surrounded by ancient ice deposits. Since 2009, researchers were already looking at the depression but thorough investigations were only conducted recently to yield the said results.

"These landforms caught our eye because they're weird looking," Joseph Levi said in a statement. "They're concentrically fractured so they look like a bulls-eye. That can be a very diagnostic pattern you see in Earth materials," Levi added.

Based on the findings, researchers suggest that the funnel and the depressions are strongly suggestive volcanic activity that might have melted away the surface ice after an asteroid impact.

3D models are being developed and used to determine the quantity of material loss due to impact to further prove the theory. Levy hopes to further understand the relationship between lava and ice to form the funnels and the depression. He says it will be an interesting finding if it does exist on the surface of Mars.

While other experts say that the depression has some similarities to 'ice cauldrons' found here on Earth.


© 2018 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Email Newsletter
About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms&Conditions
Real Time Analytics