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

If you own any of these video games you're sitting on a fortune

Here's hoping you were a hoarder

by David Cornish
09 Dec 2016

iPhone 8 rumours suggest it'll have a revolutionary curved screen

And it could be coming out NEXT YEAR!!!

by Jamie Carson
07 Dec 2016

Amazon is launching checkout-free shop where you simply walk out

Goodbye stubborn self-checkout machine, hello freakishly smart tech

by Emily Badiozzaman
06 Dec 2016

The Last Of Us 2 and nine more new Playstation games set for 2017

A certain spin-kicking marsupial is back, too!

by Chris Sayer
05 Dec 2016

New app will allow you to check the potency of your sperm

Get to know your baby makers up-close and personal

by Chris Sayer
05 Dec 2016

WhatsApp is about to stop working for millions of smartphone users

And it's bad news for Nokia or Blackberry users

by Tom Fordy
02 Dec 2016

Delete yourself from the internet with this handy website

And just like that, he was gone.

by Sam Diss
28 Nov 2016

Get on ‘Sindr’ the Catholic Church’s confession app

Swipe to find God in your area

24 Nov 2016

Apple to replace faulty batteries on iPhone 6s devices

21 Nov 2016

These are the worst passwords on the web

Best check yours isn't one of them

17 Nov 2016