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Image credit: University of Leicester

Mars' veins were created by vanishing ancient lakes

Another sign that Mars once had a lot of water.
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University of Leicester

Scientists just produced stronger evidence that Mars once had water lakes that might have nurtured life. After combing over Curiosity rover data, the researchers determined that veins in places like the planet's Gale Crater were likely created by evaporating lakes whose sediments were buried, heated and corroded. The discoveries also suggest that the water in these areas would have been habitable, if not exactly pleasant to drink -- it would have had about 20 times more sodium and sulphate than your bottled water back on Earth. There were likely "multiple generations" of water, NASA adds.

Mudstones with veins also share similar composition to those in North Devon's Watchet Bay, further hinting at Earth-like water activity.

The findings support beliefs that Mars was once a relatively lush planet whose water gradually (though not completely) dried out, possibly due to its weak magnetic field. It's not clear how long the lakes stuck around, or exactly what created them in the first place. However, there's no question that Mars' history is rapidly taking shape.

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