Scientists are keeping their eye on Mars as both ESA and NASA are determined to send missions to the Red Planet. Because of their goal, numerous scientists are studying all aspects of Mars' climate, geology, and habitability.
One observation that scientists made about the planet is that it appears to produce lava on its surface. The interesting images were captured by NASA shows unique landform shapes that make it look like cooled lava that just oozed out of the plant's surface.
However, an international team of researchers has a different explanation about why the surface looks like cooled lava. A study published in Nature Geoscience stated that the tens of thousands of hills, which look like crater-tops and are surrounded by deep out channels are not frozen lava, but brown, gooey mud.
There is no concrete study that shows what is exactly happening on Mars, but through the replication of conditions and close observation, scientists have a pretty close idea of the activities on the planet. Here on Earth, there are mud volcanoes, which means it is possible that there are also mud volcanoes on other planets.
A team of scientists from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom and the Institute of Geophysics at the Czech Academy of Sciences found out that Mars has a very low atmospheric pressure and low-temperature conditions, which means that under it, mud can flow the same way that lava flows out of volcanoes here on Earth.
The study's conclusion is that there are mud volcanoes on Mars. Lionel Wilson, a planetary scientist at Lancaster University, said that the scientists made the experiments by using a vacuum chamber to simulate the release of mud on the planet. He continued that they found the experiment interesting because there are a lot of flow-like features on Mars as seen in spacecraft images, but the roving vehicles on the surface of the plant have not visited any of them yet.There is ambiguity about whether the flows are of mud or lava.
What the researchers would like to find out is if the moist sediments that are stuck beneath the planet's surface may have been pushed up because of underground pressure, thus creating mud volcanoes.
The experiment that they conducted included a low-pressure cylindrical chamber, and it was pressurized at 7 millibars to simulate the atmospheric pressure of Mars. The mud was poured over sand and was cooled to a temperature of -20 degrees Celsius or -4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is similar to the surface of Mars.
The scientists observed how the mud flowed. The fascinating effect of the mudflows shows the water in the mud boiling and evaporating, eventually, the latent heat from the vapor is absorbed. This cools the mud and a crust freezes on its surface.
Petr Brož, a geophysicist from the Czech Academy of Sciences said that their experiments just show that even a simple process as a flow of mud would be very different on Mars. There is still a lot to discover about the Red Planet and NASA is constantly studying and observing images that their satellites and rovers took of the plant's surfaces.