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Martian caves
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'Virtual spelunking" finds possible cave system in Martian volcano flows

A series of depressions discovered on Mars could be entrances to a cave system that might provide shelter for future Mars missions or shed light on whether microbial life forms have ever existed on the "Red Planet."
Glen Cushing, a physicist with the US Geological Survey, discovered the series of "collapse depressions" in extinct lava flows from a Martian volcano. Cushing describes his discovery as a collection of long grooves in the surface with distinctive depressions that appear to be skylight entrances into tunnel-like structures. Some of the grooves are more than 100 kilometres long and could easily extend much further and deeper beneath the surface. Some of the grooves are about 50 to 60 meters wide and are curvy and meandering while others are more linear and 2-3 times wider, suggesting that more than one formation mechanism may have been operating.

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RE: Mars
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Lava flows in Daedalia Planum

444-20090909-6396-6-co-01-DaedaliaPlanum_L.jpg
Credit : ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Mars Express imaged Daedalia Planum, a sparsely cratered, untextured plain on the Red Planet featuring solidified lava flows of varying ages.
Daedalia Planum lies to the south-east of Arsia Mons, one of the largest volcanoes on Mars. It is 350 km in diameter and rises 14 km. The plain is dominated by numerous lava flows of varying ages.

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Every spring on the south polar ice cap of Mars brings violent eruptions of carbon dioxide gas carrying dark sand and dust high aloft.
The seasonal frosting and defrosting of ice results in the appearance of a number of features, such dark dune spots with spider-like rilles or channels below the ice, where spider-like radial channels are carved between the ground and ice, giving it an appearance of spider webs, then, pressure accumulating in their interior ejects gas and dark basaltic sand or mud, which is deposited on the ice surface and thus, forming dark dune spots. This process is rapid, observed happening in the space of a few days, weeks or months.

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NASA Spacecraft Sees Ice on Mars Exposed by Meteor Impacts
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed frozen water hiding just below the surface of mid-latitude Mars. The spacecraft's observations were obtained from orbit after meteorites excavated fresh craters on the Red Planet.


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ma2b.jpg
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Credit: NASA, ESA, The Hubble Heritage Team, J. Bell (Cornell University) and M. Wolff (Space Science Institute)


NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped this picture of Mars within a day of its closest approach to Earth. A large regional dust storm appears as the brighter, redder cloudy region in the middle of the planet's disk.

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The IAU has approved of two new names for two Martian features.
A small 6.5km-wide crater located at 35.68░S, 230.72░W has been namedá Gasa, after a town in Bhutan.
Andá a 104km-wide irregular depression feature at 33.84░N, 343.0░W has been named Ismenius Cavus, after the classical albedo feature name.

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Ma'adim Vallis
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Craters, lava flows and tectonic features near Ma'adim Vallis
Close to Ma'adim Vallis
Close to Ma'adim Vallis

The Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera imaged a region close to Ma'adim Vallis, one of the largest canyons on Mars, finding craters, lava flows and tectonic features.
After Valles Marineris, Ma'adim Vallis is one of the largest canyons on Mars. The region, lying south-east of Ma'adim Vallis, was imaged on 24 December 2008. The pictures are centred at about 29░S and 182░E and have a ground resolution of 15 m/pixel.

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Mars may have been a seething cauldron for nearly a 100 million years after its formation, thwarting evolution of life on the planet, according to an analysis of meteorites.
The research has shown that the red planet remained excessively hot - with temperatures over 1,000 degrees Celsius - for 100 million years following its formation.


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A new research led by a UK scientist has indicated that Mars had significantly warmer weather in its recent past than previously thought.
Dr Matthew Balme, from The Open University, made the new discovery by studying detailed images of equatorial landforms that formed by melting of ice-rich soils.
His work indicates that the Martian surface experienced "freeze thaw" cycles as recently as 2 million years ago, and that Mars has not been locked in permafrost conditions for billions of years as had been previously thought.

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Lightning on Mars
U.S. scientists say they have detected the first direct evidence of lightning occurring on Mars.
University of Michigan researchers said they found signs of electrical discharges during dust storms on the red planet. The bolts were dry lightning, Professor Chris Ruf said.

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