There’s a massive version of the Grand Canyon on Mars and scientists have discovered it holds “significant amounts of water”. According to the European Space Agency, the discovery was made by an orbiter circling the red planet. Launched in 2016, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter was sent on a mission to detect water in the Valles Marineris on Mars.
The mission is a joint collaboration between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency. The canyon system on Mars is 10 times longer, five times deeper, and 20 times wider than the Grand Canyon on Earth. The water is located right beneath the surface of the canyon system.
It was detected by the orbiter’s FREND instrument or Fine Resolution Epithermal Neutron Detector. That device can map hydrogen in the top metre of Martian soil which is roughly 3.28 feet. Most of the water on Mars is frozen in the planet’s polar regions. Valles Marineris is just south of the planet’s equator so temperatures usually don’t get low enough to freeze water.
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