Floods of unimaginable magnitude once washed through Gale Crater on Mars’ equator around 4 billion years ago – a finding that hints at the possibility that life may have existed there, according to data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover and analyzed in joint project by scientists from Jackson State University, Cornell, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Hawaii. The research, «Deposits from Giant Floods in Gale Crater and Their Implications for the Climate of Early Mars» was published on November 5, 2020, in Nature Scientific Reports. The most likely cause of the Mars flooding was the melting of ice from heat generated by a large impact, which released carbon dioxide and methane from the planet’s frozen reservoirs. The water vapor and release of gases combined to produce a short period of warm and wet conditions on the red planet. These long-lived bodies of water are good indicators that the crater, as well as Mount Sharp within it, were capable of supporting microbial life. «Early Mars was an extremely active planet from a geological point of view» Fairén said.