Jul 21, 2014 11:03 AM by Stephen Bowers
The U.S. Geological Survey says geologic maps of Earth have long driven scientific thought. Newly released geologic maps of Jupiter's moons Io and Ganymede show that scientific drive can also be driven to beyond Earth and to other areas of the solar system. Add to that a brand new geologic map of Mars that was released last week by the USGS.
The new map, which can be viewed in detail by clicking here, indicates the Martian surface is much older than previously thought. It, in fact, appears to be 3.7-4.1 billion years old. Those long ago years were marked by abundant meteorite impacts, and the USGS says erosion of of the surface of Mars suggests the presence of water that was followed by a major change in the climate of the Red Planet.
The USGS says the map is the result of four spacecraft orbiting Mars over the course of 16 years and brings us to a better understanding of the history of Mars' geology.
The surface of Mars has been the subject of scientific observation since as far back as the 1600s. It started with Earth-based telescopes and later included fly-by missions, orbiting spacecraft, and even the Mars Rovers.