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Mars: Recent Gushing Water And New Craters -- Audio Clips

Dec. 6, 2006
A pair of significant discoveries about the red planet appears in this week's journal Science: evidence that, within the past five or seven years, water gushed on Mars in two gullies and 20 new impact craters formed on the planet. The evidence comes from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. More information on the mission, which launched Nov. 7, 1996, is at www.nasa.gov is at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mgs/ or http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/ .

1 - DR. MICHAEL MALIN (OF MALIN SPACE SCIENCE SYSTEMS, SAN DIEGO) IS PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR FOR THE MARS ORBITER CAMERA ON NASA'S MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR. HE EXPLAINS HOW HE AND HIS COLLEAGUES BELIEVE WATER FLOWED IN TWO GULLIES ON MARS WITHIN THE PAST FIVE OR SEVEN YEARS.
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Length: 18 seconds

Transcript: "We think what's actually happening is that there's ice formed in the rock and it's acting as a dam, and then water builds up behind that ice dam, and when the pressure of that water gets high enough, it breaks through the dam, and out comes a lot of water and the debris that was forming the dam."

2 - DR. MICHAEL MALIN SAYS IT WAS AN UNEXPECTED FIND WHEN SCIENTISTS REALIZED THEY HAD SEEN EVIDENCE OF RECENT WATER FLOWS IN TWO MARTIAN GULLIES.
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Length: 30 seconds
Transcript: "We discovered the gullies on Mars with the Mars Orbiter Camera, which we call MOC, in 1999, 2000. And we have subsequently re-photographed many of the gullies, looking for changes. And when we found the changes, it was somewhat of a Eureka moment because there was something that had not been there before. We took a number of images thereafter to make sure that it wasn't an optical illusion, but in fact it turned out to be real."

3 - DR. MICHAEL MALIN DISCUSSES THE IMPLICATIONS OF MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR'S DISCOVERY OF 20 NEW IMPACT CRATERS ON MARS WITHIN THE PAST SEVEN YEARS.
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Length: 27 seconds
Transcript: "It's confirming a number of our ideas about how impact craters form, when they form, at what rate they're forming, where the materials that are hitting the Earth and the moon are coming from, because we can use Mars, which is someplace different, to calibrate how much of that. And so this has a real bearing on our estimates of what is the probability of an asteroid hitting the Earth, for example."


+ Podcast: Recent Water Gushes and Craters on Mars

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