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I received the image above from a reader, at first I thought it was photoshopped so I dug a little deeper. To my surprise its origin was from a series of raw images from NASA’s, Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The Mars rover Opportunity took this image, I thought it was fascinating. Several images of what appears to be a wooden railroad tie can be viewed here in the first 6 images. Where did this come from? This one image could send you down a rabbit hole looking for more information. More specifically, were there trees on Mars? The next image suggest yes.

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Where there are trees there must be water, right? Is it possible that Mars had water? The answer to that question appears to be yes, also.

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“These color images were acquired by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander’s Surface Stereo Imager on the 21st and 25th days of the mission, or Sols 20 and 24 (June 15 and 19, 2008). These images show sublimation of ice in the trench informally called “Dodo-Goldilocks” over the course of four days. In the lower right corner of the left image, a group of lumps is visible. In the right image, the lumps have disappeared, similar to the process of evaporation”. (SD note: this image has been rotated 90 degrees CCW for image presentaion purposes.)

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About the photo: The delta in Jezero crater, a past lake on Mars. Ancient rivers ferried clay-like minerals (shown in green) into the lake, forming the delta. The clays then were trapped by rocks (purple).  Credit: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/MSSS/Brown University (Click on the image to enlarge)

Source:  Early Mars was All Wet

A lot more Martian rocks were altered by water than scientists originally thought, suggesting that early Mars was a very wet place.

New observations made by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), currently circling the planet, have revealed evidence that vast regions of the southern highlands of Mars were altered by water in a variety of environments billions of years ago.

Water is a key condition for life as we know it. Though there is no firm evidence that Mars has ever harbored life, knowing that the planet was once wet suggests that it was at least habitable in the past.

The Mars Global Surveyor Orbitor Image Gallery contains more than 212,000 images all just amazing. Enjoy.

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