New Delhi: Planet Mars seemed like a mystery prior to the advent of space technology. But, rapid advancements in modern technology has completely changed the game. Humans have successfully developed the means to acquire a deeper insight into the red planet.
The images of tracks left behind by the Curiosity and the Perseverance rover on Mars have demonstrated human innovation on a different planet which had remained beyond the grasp of human beings for millenniums.
Natural forces have also made their presence felt besides the two rovers leaving their marks on the red planet.
Thousands of tracks on the Martian surface which is created by tumbling boulders have been spotted by scientists working at the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad.
Recent seismic activity on Mars can be detected by using these boulder tracks. This latest development comes at a time when humans have increasingly become intrigued about the red planet with many keen to develop plans to colonize it in the near future.
Dr S Vijayan, Assistant Professor with the Planetary Science Division at the Physical Research Laboratory, who led the research says that Mars is currently active.
According to a study which was published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, these boulder tracks gets disappeared in about two to four Martian years (four to eight Earth years), whereas they are rarely preserved on Earth.
Recent surface processes on planetary surfaces can be recognized by using these ejections and tracks.
It is interesting to note that the regolith (Martian surface material) on the surface, at each bounce, is thrown out in a distinctive pattern when a boulder falls.
Also, these patterns appear to be V-shaped on Mars, with the spread pointing downslope and the spacing between each bounce non-uniform. But, the spatial spread differs from bounce-to-bounce and boulder-to-boulder.
The bouncing of boulders leads to the formation of herringbone-like patterns of tracks on the surface and 4,500 such tracks have been spotted in the nearly 900-kilometre length of the surface.
Cerberus Fossae region is one of the most seismically active regions on Mars as nearly 30 per cent of these ejections are observed in this region.
The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured thousands of images from 2006 through 2020.
The research team led by Vijayan examined these images and found unique tracks all over, which indicates recent activity on the red planet.