NASA confirms liquid water flowing on Mars

These dark, narrow 100-meter-long streaks called recurring slope lineae flowing downhill on Mars are inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Recently, planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, corroborating their original hypothesis that the streaks are indeed formed by liquid water. The blue color seen upslope of the dark streaks are thought not to be related to their formation, but instead are from the presence of the mineral pyroxene. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (Infrared-Red-Blue/Green(IRB)) false color image (ESP_030570_1440) 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. Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

by Shawn Simpson

Staff Reporter

The age-old question “are we alone in the universe?” was chipped away at a little more with NASA’s announcement today that water still flows on the surface of Mars.

“The existence of liquid 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, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of water on Mars. Scientists have known for some time of frozen water near the Martian poles. The discovery of evidence of liquid water on the surface raises more questions for where it originates and how it travels. For a starry-eyed public, this news is a sign for hope of bigger discoveries in the future.

“Just like the moon landings in the sixties, being able to land on a whole different planet would be amazing,” said student Tyler Fritts. “It would show that we can accomplish anything.”

This evidence of liquid water is a boost to the feasibility of a manned mission, but not in itself a bellwether of the technological limitations. The goal of reaching toward the red planet requires many steps. However, life-sustaining liquid water is progress toward attaining this historic achievement.

“Maybe we could live there! Anytime we make progress, it’s cool,” said Dmiyah Jenkins, student.

The potential advancements of mankind by a life-sustaining Mars can affect society beyond the exploration itself. The experience of living in a world where the will and technological advancement allows for man to leave the Earth can having a lasting impact.

“That would be a huge advance,” said student Annie Overbay. “It would be pretty mind-blowing to witness another human walking on another planet.”

NASA will continue investigating the potential of life in some form on Mars and the goal of manned exploration. We can expect more news from the scientific community as the story develops. For more information, visit http:///




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