NASA says flowing water exists on Mars

Photo Credit: Reddit
  • NASA scientists revealed that flowing water exist in Mars
  • Experts said that existence of water doesn’t prove existence of life
  • However, the new finding increased the hope of Mars being habitable than previously thought

WASHINGTON, USA – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced what seems to be one of the biggest revelation after Mars expedition; saying that a potentially life-giving water still flows across the ancient surface of the red planet from time to time.

On Monday morning, NASA scientists revealed the potential breakthrough that both help the search for life beyond Earth and fueling the hopes of human to travel there one day.

In a report by Michael Pearson for CNN on September 28, it said that the discovery of water doesn’t directly prove evidence of life on Mars; however, it does boost hopes that the harsh landscape in the planet still offers some refuge for microbes to cling to existence.

“The existence of liquid water, even if it is super salty briny water, gives the possibility that if there’s life on Mars, that we have a way to describe how it might survive,” said John Grunsfeld; the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.

According to a report by Ian Sample published by The Guardian on September 28, NASA researchers used an imager aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to confirm the water flows by looking at light waves returned from seasonal dark streaks on the surface. The light waves readings are long time suspected to be associated with liquid water.

Photo Credit: Heavy
Photo Credit: Heavy

Georgia Tech doctoral student Lujendra Ojha said that “The investigation showed the streaks absorb light at specific wavelengths associated with chemicals known to pull water from the Martian atmosphere in a process known as deliquescence.” Ojha is the first to discover the streaks while still an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona in 2011.

According to research, the chemical allows the water to remain liquid at lower temperatures, and in the same way, it keeps it from boiling off in the thin atmosphere of Mars.

Michael Meyer, the lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program said that it remains unclear where the water comes from.

“Theories include deliquescence, melting subsurface ice or even a liquid-water aquifer that feeds the process. Discovering what precisely is causing the phenomenon is a mystery for the next round of investigations,” Meyer said.

According to an article by Robert Ferris of CNBC published September 28, this is not the first discovery of water on Mars.

For many years, researchers have known that Mars has water frozen at its poles, and in its thin atmosphere. Recent research proved that there are also water in tiny puddles that appear to form at night on the surface.

Although it remains to be seen whether the new discovery will improve the odds of life existence on Mars, researcher Mary Beth Wilhelm said the results suggest “more habitable conditions on the near surface of Mars than previously thought.”