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NASA finds signs of water flowing on Mars

Posted on Tuesday, 11 February, 2014 | Comment icon 12 comments

Image combining dark flows on Mars with spectrometer data. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists have come across the strongest evidence to date that water still flows on the surface of Mars.
While it is well known that Mars was once home to vast oceans and rivers of liquid water, the case for flowing water on its surface today has been a difficult one.

The best evidence available to suggest that water can still exist in liquid form on Mars focuses on dark, finger-like flows known as "recurring slope lineae" that appear to advance down geological inclines during times when the temperature increases.

Now new data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter seems to suggest that the flows correspond to seasonal changes in iron minerals at the same locations as the dark patterns observed on the slopes. The potential conclusion is that these are indeed liquid water flows and that they are made possible thanks to an iron-mineral antifreeze.

"We still don't have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL, although we're not sure how this process would take place without water," said Lujendra Ojha at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Just like the RSL themselves, the strength of the spectral signatures varies according to the seasons. They're stronger when it's warmer and less significant when it's colder."

Source: | Comments (12)

Tags: Mars, Water

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by OverSword on 12 February, 2014, 15:57
Disclosure. The real kind. Love it.
Comment icon #4 Posted by White Crane Feather on 12 February, 2014, 18:18
Cool. I want to be the first to white water kyack down those little rivers. If they are visible they must be pretty big. I might have to stay in shape until Im 100 or so though. Good way to go out i think
Comment icon #5 Posted by The Silver Thong on 12 February, 2014, 18:27
I wonder what Marsian water tastes like.
Comment icon #6 Posted by DONTEATUS on 13 February, 2014, 3:14
I wonder who`s gonna get the Water rights first on Mars ? And what color will there little plastic bottles be ?
Comment icon #7 Posted by qxcontinuum on 13 February, 2014, 4:02
Just wondering ; Mars orbiter is not capable of taking clear snapshots of those areas?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Zeta Reticulum on 13 February, 2014, 8:45
Just wondering ; Mars orbiter is not capable of taking clear snapshots of those areas? it is, but it will not show them to us.As with all the other anomalies.... we get zilch on the up close stuff.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 13 February, 2014, 9:06
it is, but it will not show them to us. What cameras do MRO and Mars Odyssey carry? What resolution does this give? What are the best resolution images of these areas released/ I jest of course, I know that you don't know the answers. I know you will do what you always do when asked an even remotely scientific question... run away. Your total ignorance of all things relevant and inability to think rationally and logically on NASA and Mars negates your argument totally. If NASA aren't releasing the images how do we know these things exist?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 13 February, 2014, 9:30
Just wondering ; Mars orbiter is not capable of taking clear snapshots of those areas? Click on the original article. Those ARE high resolution images. These flows are a foot or two wide and maybe a couple of hundred feet long. We aren't talking rivers here, this is fluid which appears on the surface and flows for a very short distance before disappearing again. Here is a link to one of the high resolution images which hasn't been released according to Zeta Reticulum: I wonder what Marsian water tastes like. Thi... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Rhino666 on 13 February, 2014, 12:17
So far all these years and all these billions NASA has been sending bot to the wrong place when it should have just sent them to where the fish
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 13 February, 2014, 12:50
So far all these years and all these billions NASA has been sending bot to the wrong place when it should have just sent them to where the fish They would have to be pretty hardy fish to exist in brine which is effectively a chemical soup, which appears on the surface only seasonally and sublimes almost immediately. If you can design a lander or rover which can land safely on, and then negotiate, the steep side of a crater I'm sure NASA would love to hear from you.

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