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: NASA.gov | Comments (12)