Earth, Mars and Titan are the only known planetary bodies of our solar system that have or had at some point of their past, flowing liquids. In our planet, water has maintained an active cycle since the early stages of its formation. On the other hand, Mars lost its water cycle billion years ago, if there was really any. In Titan, instead of a water cycle there is a hydrocarbon cycle, mainly composed of methane and ethane in liquid form. The fingerprints of both active and dead liquid cycles can be found in the planets’ geological features. They all formed river networks. The liquid flows, shaped the topography of the planetary surfaces and generated manifold landscapes. In their drainage basins, also known as watersheds or catchments, one can study the interplay between atmosphere, hydro(carbon)sphere and lithosphere. Therefore, the drainage basins are ideal candidates for comparative planetology analyses. In this project, we will investigate how the information gained through the drainage basins morphologies can be linked to the hydroclimatic conditions of the planetary body during the time of drainage basin formation. To achieve this we will scrutinize remote sensing data to compare the morphological properties of river networks, building a bridge between Earth and other planetary observation missions. By interpreting the results, we will provide insights and constraints on how morphology, hydrology and climate are linked. Most importantly, we will extrapolate the knowledge that is already gained on terrestrial environments to the places of our solar system where data are hard to collect or even beyond.
The project is funded by Czech Science Foundation (GACR; 2020-2022).