Mars could be hiding water as a new gully was found, which may hold promise of liquid H2O being present on the Red Planet. NASA scientists are left stumped after the Mars orbiter found a new gully on Mars that is only a couple years old.
Images gathered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reveal the formation of the giant gully on the Red Planet. In earlier images taken by the MRO, the gully was not present. The new images collected show a dip in the planet’s mid-southern latitudes, with the photos having been taken on May 25, 2013.
The US space agency made note that when HiRISE photos were snapped of the area on November 5, 2010, the deep gouge could not be seen. However, NASA is still trying to figure out the main origin of the big gully found on the surface of Mars. According to a recent official statement on the space agency's website, officials said the exact timing of the gully's formation remains in question.
NASA scientists have already ruled out the chances of water having dug out the formation. Though, it holds high belief that carbon dioxide, not water, is responsible for the making and shape of the gully. For a long period of time, NASA has watched how carbon dioxide plays the same role as water does on Earth.
"The dates of the images are more than a full Martian year apart, so the observations did not pin down the Martian season of the activity at this site," officials wrote in a description of the gully image, "[However,] before-and-after HiRISE pairs of similar activity at other sites demonstrate that this type of activity generally occurs in winter, at temperatures so cold that carbon dioxide, rather than water, is likely to play the key role."
As NASA believes carbon dioxide to be the central reason as to why the gully formed, the very fact that the gully was carved out may back the theory that liquid water could still be present in some areas the Red Planet. The question remains as to whether NASA will make changes to its Curiosity rover to find similar spots close to Mount Sharp, where it is presently on the look-out for signs of water.