NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars

Earlier today, NASA found the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows on present-day Mars. Through the analysis of images gathered from MARS, NASA researchers were able to recreate an animation of the evidence and it's awesome!

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times. “Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water -- albeit briny -- is flowing today on the surface of Mars.” These downhill flows, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), often have been described as possibly related to liquid water. The new findings of hydrated salts on the slopes point to what that relationship may be to these dark features. The hydrated salts would lower the freezing point of a liquid brine, just as salt on roads here on Earth causes ice and snow to melt more rapidly. Scientists say it’s likely a shallow subsurface flow, with enough water wicking to the surface to explain the darkening.
Dark narrow streaks called recurring slope lineae emanating out of the walls of Garni crater on Mars. The dark streaks here are up to few hundred meters in length. They are hypothesized to be formed by flow of briny liquid water on Mars. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (RED) image on a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the same site produced by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (University of Arizona). Vertical exaggeration is 1.5.

Sources:

  1. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
  2. Story: NASA Press Release, Sept. 28th, 2015

Posted in Science & Technology, Futurism, News on Sep 28, 2015


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NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars

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elevated1
elevated1

Amazing. This has always been a challenge for humanity when it comes to space travel, beyond leaving our atmosphere of course...how are we to get the resources we need to survive in space!?

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