But he called the apparent confirmation of liquid water “encouraging” and “quite exciting” for those who seek life on the next planet farther from the Sunday.
NASA scientists announced Monday that liquid water exists on the red planet’s surface, suggesting a possible source for life.
The new research is based on an analysis of spectral data from the American space agency Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.
In this picture: Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes such as these at Hale Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars.
But the discovery of flowing water on cold, seemingly barren Mars could herald a breakthrough in the search for life there – past or present. They used a spectrometer to look at the streaks and found the minerals there were hydrated and that water played a vital role in the streaking.
RSL occur in many different locations on Mars, from equatorial regions up to the planet’s middle latitudes.
“All of the scientific discoveries that we’re making on the surface of Mars… are giving us a much better view that Mars has resources that are useful to future travelers”, Grunsfeld said.
The agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Earlier in 2008, scientists had confirmed finding frozen water on planet Mars. Although scientists have known for a long time that Mars has ice at its northern poles, there was no evidence of liquid water until now.
Dr Joe Michalski, a Mars expert from the Natural History museum in London, said: “These results provide strong evidence that salty water flows on the Martian surface, even today”.
Now, scientists are seeking to find where the water comes from.
“Today we’re revolutionizing our understanding of this planet”, said Jim Green, NASA director of planetary science. “There is liquid water on the surface of Mars”.
“If it’s coming from deeper in the subsurface”, such as an aquifer, “that would be an ideal habitat for life”, he said.
“Our rover’s finding a lot more humidity in the air than we ever imagined”.