For a long time, there was an environment favorable for life on Mars.

Planetary scientists analyzed images taken by Mars missions and found

clay-bearing deposits in various parts of the Ladon valley. Signs in the soil indicate that for a long period of time, conditions on Mars were suitable for life.

The presence of clays indicates a favorable environmentfor life, scientists explain. Clays form and remain stable under neutral pH conditions. In addition, water is stored in such rocks for a long time, and evaporation with the formation of other minerals, such as sulfates, is slow.

Southwestern Highlands of the Ladon Valley. Photo: NASA, HiRISE, University of Arizona

The researchers used imagesobtained from the HiRISE camera and other scientific experiments installed aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. Planetologists have discovered that there are traces of flowing water in the Ladon Valley, located in the Pearly Land. Rivers have flowed in this area for a billion years. According to a rough estimate: from 3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago.

Clays originally formed on olderhighlands around the Ladon Valley, scientists say. Water later eroded these clayey rock materials, forming the Ladon-Valles channel, and then formed deposits downstream in the form of a lake. The latest and youngest water flow in the highlands runs along the southwestern part of the Ladon valley, where clays have formed in limited depressions and small topographic basins.

Cover photo: Ladon valley rocks. Source: NASA, JPL-Caltech, University of Arizona

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