Say hello to Mawrth Vallis on Mars. Mawrth means Mars in Welsh, and Vallis just means valley. This region on Mars is an ancient channel, thought by most Mars scientists to have been carved by outburst floods in Mars’ past. It’s one of four candidate landing sites under consideration for the ExoMars 2018 mission.
Mawrth Vallis is one of the oldest outflow channels on Mars, at least 3.8 billion years old. It hosts large exposures of finely layered clay-rich rocks, a strong indication that water did once play a role here.
The image above combines images from ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft with topography data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor.
Bottom line: Mawrth Vallis is an ancient outflow channel on Mars and one of four candidate landing sites under consideration for the ExoMars 2018 mission.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.