Feeds

Mars volcanoes not dead, just resting

Like that parrot?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Reports of Mars' geological death might have been greatly exaggerated, according to researchers working on the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission.

Images from the orbiter reveal volcanic cones at the planet's north pole that are unmarked by craters, suggesting that they erupted relatively recently, the BBC reports.

The amount of cratering on a planetary surface is a widely accepted method of estimating that surface's age, and assumes a steady rate of impacts on planets, over the last four billion years or so.

Dr. Gerhard Neukum from the Free University in Berlin, and the principal investigator for the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on Mars Express, told delegates at a meeting of planetary scientists in Cambridge:

"Mars is a planet that was very recently active - maybe one, or two, or three million years ago."

He said that the cones give him the impression that Mars could still be geologically active, even today. Volcanic activity on Mars is thought to have reached a maximum around 1.5bn years ago.

He acknowledged that it was possible that if the cones were ancient features, any cratering could have been eroded by the Martian winds. But he said the region - which features somewhere between 50 and 100 volcanoes - showed no other wind-related features. He also noted that some traces of the craters should remain, and that he could see none.

Dr. Neukum also proposes that volcanic activity and glacial activity on the planet are linked, but other scientists think the inclination of the planet's orbit around the sun has a bigger influence on the movement of water. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.