Mars’ volcanic activity has been quite a mystery for many decades. It puzzled scientists’ work, and it stirred one of the most intriguing theories. Are there active volcanoes on Mars?
New research might be able to answer that question thanks to a new batch of data. Proof of recent volcanic activity on the Martian ground shows how eruptions could have occurred within the past 50,000 years. Could this raise the possibility of recent habitable conditions?
Here is what you need to know.
Mars’ Volcanoes, Eruptions and a Bright History
Most volcanic activity on Mars happened billions of years ago. There were small eruptions in isolated locales going on strong as recently as 3 million years ago. Could the Red Planet still be volcanically active?
New research insights
A team of researchers used data from satellites orbiting our great planetary neighbour, finding proof of an eruption in an area known as Elysium Planitia. The event is the youngest detected volcanic eruption on Mars, really raising hope for recent habitable conditions. But of course, things have to be more complicated than that.
Discussing the eruption, researchers explained that it’s actually a mysterious dark deposit that covers a region slightly bigger than Washington, D.C.Â
David Horvath is a research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. He released a statement explaining that the eruption has:
“[…] a high thermal inertia, includes high-calcium pyroxene-rich material, and is distributed symmetrically.”
The recent eruption site is approximately 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) from NASA’s InSight lander, which enrolled on a mission analyzing tectonic activity back in 2018.
The chance of habitable conditions on the Red Planet’s recent history raises. Why is that?
According to the researchers, the icy substrate and magma of that region could have offered just enough conditions for microbial life. More proof is indeed needed, but so far, things look pretty bright in Mars’ history.