Images and data sent by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, (MRO), has provided evidence that the red planet may have once had underground water deposits.
That conclusion comes from an analysis of spectrometer data sent by the orbiting spacecraft, which was examining the floor of the 57-mile/92-kilometer-wide by 1.4-mile/2.2-kilometer-deep McLaughlin Crater. Scientists believe that the crater's depth once allowed underground water to flow in to the crater's interior.
A layer of flat rocks of carbonate and clay minerals that compose the bottom of the crater may indicate the past presence of liquid water. The crater lacks large inflow channels and small channels originating within the crater wall near a level that could mark the surface of a lake.
The findings were published Sunday in the online edition of “Natural Geoscience.” Some researchers propose the crater interior catching the water and the underground zone contributing the water could have been wet environments and potential habitats.