Top Ten Space Pictures of 2007

Top Ten Space Photos of 2007
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3. New Mars Pictures Show Signs of Watery "Aquifers"
(originally posted February 16, 2007)

Stunning images from a satellite orbiting Mars reveal that water once snuck along fractures in Mars's layered rocks, according to a study that appeared in the February 17 issue of the journal Science.

The fractures are clearly visible in the above view of Becquerel Crater, shooting through both the light- and dark-colored layers that make up the canyon's walls. The blue areas are vast sand dunes, not water.

Shot by the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the image also revealed light-colored features, which scientists dubbed halos, that cut across the dark bands.

These findings are exciting, because they suggest that similar water-filled fractures might still exist beneath the Martian surface, scientists said.

"What we see at the surface today are glimpses of what used to be underground," said Chris Okubo, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

Read the full story by Richard A. Lovett.

(Top space pictures determined by number of times viewed.)

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—Image courtesy Science
 
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