NASA Announces that There Is Officially Liquid Water on Mars
NASA confirms the presence of liquid water on Mars in landmark discovery that could impact our search for alien life
This weekend, NASA announced that they would make a huge mystery announcement about Mars. Of course we all hoped that they would announce extraterrestrial life has officially been found on the Red Planet (or, if we're really dreaming big, extraterrestrial intelligence), but alas, that didn't happen. But the actual announcement brings us one step closer to breaking that particular ground, as NASA has "strong evidence" that there is liquid water on Mars.
(Satellite imagery showing narrow streaks on the slopes of craters during warm seasons. These streaks fade when conditions become cooler. Credit: Nasa/JPL/University of Arizona/PA)
According to new data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, collected by a team led by geomorphologist Lujendra Ojha of Georgia Tech, shows that liquid water is seeping along the walls of Martian craters. Images from the orbiter's camera show that the slope paths that were thought to be caused by the flow of liquid water is seasonal, fading and reappearing in a cyclical manner. Furthermore, the orbiter detected the presence of hydrated salts in the flow paths, which indicates the presence of evaporated brine from an underground reservoir.
The Curiosity mission found the first evidence that there is currently liquid water on Mars back in April, but there hasn't been official confirmation until now. Curiosity also found the first signs of organic life on Mars in December of last year, in the form of methane spikes that seemed to come from a localized source, possibly microbial activity. There's no word on whether NASA has come any closer to determining whether there is microbial life on Mars, but the presence of liquid water is certainly a step in the right direction. Alfred McEwen, the senior author on the study believes these water creeks could be a huge boost in our search for alien life.