[QODLink]
Americas
NASA finds signs of 'flowing water on Mars'
Scientists say water is flowing on Mars during its warmest months.
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2011 23:16
NASA scientists believe that if flowing, liquid water exists on Mars, it would be highly salty [Reuters]

NASA has said that its scientists had discovered fresh evidence that water is flowing on Mars during its warmest months, raising the likelihood that life could exist on the red planet.

Recently analyzed images from the NASA Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has circled the planet, show dark finger-like features that extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, and fade in the winter.

"This is the best evidence we have to date of a liquid water occurring today on Mars," said Philip Christensen, geophysicist at Arizona State University, in a NASA panel announcing the findings on Thursday.

NASA scientists believe that if flowing, liquid water exists on Mars, it would be highly salty. That would explain why it would not freeze in the planet's cold temperatures.

"It is more like a syrup, maybe, in how it flows," said Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, principal investigator for the NASA orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.

The briny, flowing Martian water [if it exists] could be "rather different than pure water," said McEwen, lead author of a report on evidence of water flows on Mars published in the Thursday edition of the journal Science.

Lisa Pratt, a bio-geochemist at Indiana University who was on the NASA panel discussing the results, said the findings were significant.

"It is our first chance to see an environment on Mars that might allow for the expression of an active biological process, if there is present-day life on Mars," she said.

NASA first found evidence of water on Mars more than a decade ago, but earlier indications were that it would be mostly frozen and concentrated at the poles.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list