Science Video X-Files

Funnels On Mars! Do They Indicate Signs Of Life?

life on mars

The solar world has always been associated with fascination for the humans residing on earth. There have been continuous searching, exploration and visits by NASA to avail more knowledge with regards to the stars, planets and galaxies.

Mars, the Red Planet, has always intrigued the astronauts and the researchers. There has always been that desire to search for signs of life. This is the acumen NASA is all set to send a rover to Mars in 2020. The objective is to explore signs of life.

It is imperative in here to let the readers understand that in order to search for life, there are always some particular places which are investigated more than others.

And, when it is about Mars, the funnel shaped depression is competing for the ideal place to start the search. It will indeed be interesting for the readers to have knowledge of the structural depression, which looks like the primitive ‘ice cauldrons’. Two types of funnels of significance have been found here.


As said by the lead researchers Joseph Levy, The University of Texas -“We were drawn to this site because it looked like it could host some of the key ingredients for habitability – water, heat and nutrients,”

The Southern hemisphere of Mars has this Hellas Planitia region. At the periphery of the latter, inside a crater is the location of a funnel. For those of you unaware of the Hellas Planitia, it is the largest visible impact crater found in the Solar system. The discovery of this funnel dates back to the year 2009, by Levy. A different looking crack was featured in the photograph sent by NASA’s Mars. Reconnaissance orbiter instigated with regards to the same.

In fact, Levey founded a similar structure in the Galaxias Fossae region of Mars. It is nestled in the basin called Utopia Planitia.
With the aid of the stereoscopic pictures the shape to resemble like funnels was found out.


The immense research has been carried out, since then, and the estimate is that from the Hellas Planitia and Galaxias almost 2.4 km cube and 0.2 km cube of material was removed, which resulted in the funnel shaped structure.

Again, it is estimated that the funnel on the Galaxias has been formed due to an impact on the surface of the Mars. However, for the Hellas Planitia the result has been associated with volcanic activity.

There have been hints which are indicative of the fact that a primitive eruption melted and pushed away large pieces of ice from the funnel. Yet again, the estimation is that enormous amount of magma has been required to melt or shift this ice. This also instigates to the habitable conditions left in the process. Magma could have definitely left behind nutrients and warmth.
Another aspect which intrigues the researchers is their resemblance to the ice cauldrons from Earth.
It does qualify for the place to be investigated for signs of life.

featured image© Joseph Levy/NASA

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