Global view of Mars as seen by the Viking 1 orbiter in 1980, showing the Valles Marineris (center).
Photo Credit: NASA

Is Mars Geologically Active?

By Christopher Paul

A paper in an upcoming special Mars-based issue of the planetary science journal Icarus has examined the small polygonal structures that cover large regions of northern Mars. The paper, by J. Korteniemi and M. A. Kreslavsky, comes to the conclusion that Mars may still be geologically active.

AmericaSpace previously reported on a paper by Dr. Lorena Moscardeli et al. that described the large, kilometer-scale polygons that cover certain regions of Mars,a and may indicate that Mars once had an ocean. The much smaller, meter-scale polygons described in the Korteniemi paper are unrelated to those.

Korteniemi and Kreslavsky used images taken by the HiRISE camera of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and visually inspected terrain between 50 and 70° N. The team then visually inspected images to identify terrain types and look for small craters, on the order of 5 m in diameter. The primary goal was to determine the rate, or if they were at all, at which these small craters were smoothed out and obliterated by geological processes.

Read more: Is Mars Geologically Active? « AmericaSpace.

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