That may be the best location on Mars to search for life. As far as we know, anyway. A series of collapsed lava tubes have been discovered beneath the surface of the planet. This means that there may be a wide system of caves in underground Mars. I don't know why we would have thought otherwise. Like any other "rocky" planet, it would stand to reason that Mars would have caves.
Unique "pit chains" surround the Tharsus Montes volcanic region of the planet. This indicates that lava flowed through these channels back when Mars was geologically active, volcanically anyway. There may even have been water in them at one point as well. Heck, I'd say there remains a chance that water is still there to this day, but I digress...
What makes these formations on Mars significant is how they might serve to shelter life. Due to a number of factors, Mars is basked in 250 times the amount of radiation that the Earth experiences. This is quite an argument to bolster the camp that claims Mars no longer...if it ever did...supports life. Yet beneath the surface, in these shielded and perhaps wet caves, microbial life might continue.
These underground formations might even prove beneficial to crew members of a manned mission to Mars. I know, I know, that's a long time from now...again, if ever...but a few of us remain forward thinking. Anyway, these caves and caverns could serve as shelters for those on Mars missions, especially if the underground channels contain water. Then at least a portion of the work towards survivability would already be done for us.
Personally, I just love how the planet Mars continues to fascinate. It even came up in an avenue I was not expecting just this past weekend. I have a family member who is going off to college for the first time this fall. She is planning to major in Egyptology and believe you me, she'll make one hell of an archeologist. Anyway, another family member brought up that the ancient Egyptian "hall of records" has yet to be found. Oddly enough, the Egyptian government has temporarily halted digs. I haven't checked to verify this, so I realize I'm just relaying something I heard but it really does serve a purpose. Keep your tights on.
This family member's conjecture is that the hall of records really has been found and the information contained within it is being kept secret as it would far too greatly upset the order of what we consider to be "how things are." The upset being from namely that the human race originated on Mars. A sort of "ecological 9/11" occurred, to use the late great Mac Tonnies' phrase, and the survivors fled to Earth. There, they interbred with the primitive populace and built pyramids and monuments that are said to have corollary structures on the surface of Mars.
I don't necessarily subscribe to that point of view. I just appreciate how Mars has always managed to hold out collective imaginations. Speaking of which, recent photographs of Mars show even more former lava flows, these taking on the shape of an elephant. That is, as the human eye is want to see it.
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