ESA announced it has found evidence that liquid water on Mars was widespread, not only in the southern highlands, but also beneath the northern plains.
ESA’s Mars Express and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have discovered hydrated silicate minerals in the northern lowlands of Mars, a clear indication that water once flowed there.
The spacecraft have previously discovered thousands of small outcrops in the southern hemisphere where rock minerals have been altered by water. Many of these exist in the form of hydrated clay minerals known as phyllosilicates, and indicate that the planet’s southern hemisphere was once much warmer and wetter than it is today.
However, until this week, no sites with hydrated silicate minerals had been found in the northern lowlands, where thick blankets of lava and sediments up to several kilometres thick hamper efforts to probe the underlying bedrock.