Scientific research published recently indicates that hundreds of ghost dunes in Mars could have evidence that points to the existence of prehistoric life. The study suggests that each of the dunes could be the size of the American Capitol. The dunes have remained for years because of their initial composition which comprised of lava and a little sediment which resulted into their hardening.
One of the study’s lead authors, Mackenzie Day says that it is known that dunes found on Earth are capable of supporting life. These dunes are very much alike to those in Mars. The only difference between Earth and Mars is the radiation of the surface.
The research summary further indicates that the discovery of the dunes was through images obtained from two satellites. These dunes are located in pits whose shape tells a lot about the behavior of the winds in the past years.
The existence of ghost dunes is not a new phenomenon because similar features had been discovered on the Snake River Plain about two years ago. The dunes usually form on surfaces that are flat and are shaped like crescents.
Mackenzie Day and David Catling – another author of the study, assert that the burying of the dunes could have happened about two billion years ago particularly during the Hesperian time. According to researchers, this is a period that was characterized by significant changes in the climate of the planet. The atmosphere transformed from an environment that is wet with water flowing and volcanoes that were active and became arid.
However, the specific reasons leading to changes in the climate are not yet known. However, space.com suggests that there was thinning out of the atmosphere which could not allow for water flow.
During the formation of the ghost dunes, there was a difference in the winds which points to the fact that there are no constant environmental conditions on the Planet Mars. The conditions tend to change over time and in this case, billions of years ago. Such realizations are essential in understanding the structure and existence of other features on Mars.
Day further recognizes the fact that there are few possibilities of finding the evidence of life in the ghost dunes. However, an analysis of the dunes could provide useful insights on the ancient days of the planet as well as the process involved in the formation of large features.
Day emphasized that there is the probability of lack of life on the dunes, but he is optimistic that they are the best to ascertain whether there was the existence of life in the Planet at any one time.