Sites with Seasonal Streaks on Slopes in Mars Canyons
Blue dots on this map indicate sites of recurring slope lineae (RSL) in part of the Valles Marineris canyon network on Mars. RSL are seasonal dark streaks regarded as the strongest evidence for the possibility of liquid water on the surface of modern Mars. The area mapped here has the highest density of known RSL on the Red Planet.
The RSL were identified by repeated observations of the sites using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Map colors represent elevation, where red is high and blue is low.
Valles Marineris is the largest canyon system in the solar system. The region shown here includes Melas Chasma and Coprates Chasma, in the central and eastern portions of Valles Marineris. The mapped area extends about 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) east to west and about 280 miles (450 kilometers) north to south, at latitudes from 9 to 17 degrees south of Mars' equator. The base map uses data from the Mars Orbiter Camera and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter of NASA's Mars Global Surveyor mission.
RSL extend downslope during a warm season, fade in the colder part of the year, and repeat the process in a subsequent Martian year. A study of 41 RSL sites in this canyon area, published July 7, 2016, provides support for the notion that significant amounts of near-surface water can be found on modern Mars, though the work also indicates that puzzles remain unsolved in understanding how these seasonal features form. Each site includes anywhere from a few to more than 1,000 individual "lineae."
The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.