The Mars Express orbiter suggests evidence of ancient microbial life, water and volcanoes on the Red Planet

A team from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona used spacecraft images and data from ground penetrating radar to create 3D reconstructions of lava flows on Mars’ Elysium Planitia. The researchers discovered that lava likely erupted through fissures as recently as one million years ago, covering a region of the Red Planet the size of Alaska.

The team discovered more than 40 volcanic events, the largest of which appears to have filled a Martian valley called the Athabasca Valles with nearly 1,000 cubic miles (4,168 cubic kilometers) of basalt. These findings may have implications for Mars’ ability to harbor life as we know it.

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