Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Signs Of Water Found On Mars, Says NASA

nasa1.jpg

Well, that's going to make Ridley Scott's Martian look a lot less credible, isn't it?

When NASA mumbled that it was set to make a major Mars announcement, we (and the rest of the internet) guessed it had something to do with water. And we were all right.

A team of NASA scientists has discovered "definitive signs of liquid water" on the surface of our apparently barren neighbour. 

Back in 2011, Ojha and McEwen published a report on "warm-season flows" - dark patterns in the sands of Mars that have been observed to grow from early spring of one Mars year to mid-summer of the following year (seen above). The report proposed that the tendrils might indicate the flow of salt water - though further evidence was required.

Now, in a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a team from NASA has claimed to have identified waterlogged molecules - salts, shown in the above gif - in readings taken from orbit. It's as close as we've come to striking a pickaxe into the rocky surface and seeing a jet of water eject from the surface. 

Water

Those dark streaks are what's getting NASA excited

"This, I think, gives a focus of where we should look more closely," said Alfred S. McEwen, a professor of planetary geology at the University of Arizona and the principal investigator of images from a high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. "That’s a direct detection of water in the form of hydration of salts. There pretty much has to have been liquid water recently present to produce the hydrated salt."

The New York Times published the findings shortly before NASA took to the air in its own briefing on the results, which you can watch here.

The NASA team was able to use existing instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to analyse the previously-discovered "recurrent slope linae" (RSL) streaks that they believed might indicated moisture. "It’s very definitive there is some sort of liquid water," said Mr. Ojha, the lead author of the Nature Geoscience article.

The discovery poses several interesting questions: where is the water coming from - the atmosphere above or the ground below? And if there is a water source, could there still be some form of life that was once abundant on Mars? NASA can't send any of its rovers to investigate, as they fear they may contain trace elements of biological elements from Earth that could provide a false positive test, or contaminate the source.

The New York Times has word that the Curiosity Rover team might stage a 'drive by' observation, without running over the RSL streaks.

What next - cheese on the Moon?

[Via: NASANew York Times]

(Images: NASA)

Related

star1.jpg

NASA Zooms In On Massive Supernova Explosion

mars.jpg

NASA Is About To Announce A Big New Mars Discovery

1.jpg

Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Has Just Been Screened In Space

luna1.jpg

The Luna Moon Lamp Is Amazing

games.jpg

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

mars2.jpg

Getting To Mars Is The Easy Part, Living There Will Suck

Comments

More

Secret rules on what Facebook allows you to post have been revealed

And it's a pretty confused state of affairs

by Dave Fawbert
22 May 2017

Stephen Hawking reckons we only have 100 years left on Earth

Anyway, happy Friday!

by Tom Mendelsohn
19 May 2017

Watch a young Mark Zuckerberg discover he's got into Harvard

His dad is a lot more excited than he is

by Tom Mendelsohn
19 May 2017

Nintendo have removed a gesture deemed to be offensive from Mario Kart

Up yours, Yoshi

by Matt Tate
18 May 2017

This is rumoured to be the iPhone 8's finished design

Bye bye bezels (maybe)

by Matt Tate
18 May 2017

We might be about to get smartphones that charge fully in five minutes

An Israeli start-up claims it's going to go into production next year

by Tom Mendelsohn
15 May 2017

Someone has invented a sex doll that flirts with you

Presumably it murders you in your sleep, too

by Gary Ogden
15 May 2017

We really want someone to make this 8-bit Last Jedi game

The force is retro with this one

by Matt Tate
12 May 2017

This is how to be a really great photographer, according to Apple

It's all in the little details

by Matt Tate
12 May 2017

A full version of 'The Sims' is finally coming to mobile

Shapalapa dang do kazoo, which is Simlish for "that's good isn't it!"

by Matt Tate
11 May 2017