NASA said the new finding has increased chances of finding evidence of life on Mars.
This discovery raises the chances of Mars being home to a few form of life. “Which is why the discovery that water is now likely to be regularly flowing across Mars is so stunning”, astrophysicist Alan Duffy said.
Nasa says the discovery doesn’t mean for sure that there is life on the red planet, but if there is, humankind might be able to understand how it survives.
Researchers have not seen the water directly but they have detected water-bearing salts in the mysterious streaks marked by downhill flow known as recurring slope lineae (RSL). They have the property of absorbing atmospheric water and can lower its evaporation rate.
After identifying dark areas of Mars, scientists determined that they moved and shifted in size on a seasonal basis. Images from the Mars reconnaissance rover reveal water flowing on the surface of Mars.
“There have been no evidence for water until now”, said Michael Meyer, the lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA.
NASA’s mantra is to “follow the water”, because where there is water, there might be life.
NASA scientists believe the water flows are shallow, and concentrated with salt.
The slopes, first reported in 2011, appear during the warm summer months on Mars, then vanish when the temperatures drop. These “dark fingers” are called as Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) are apparently made by salty water flowing across the surface.
Using an infra-red spectrometer from the MRO, the scientists revealed that the dark streaks were composed of hydrated salts, such as perchlorates or sulfates. Water, as you learned in second grade, is essential to life.
The New York Times reports that this is the first time that the scientists confirmed the presence of the liquid water and “marks a shift in tone for NASA” as the planet could be inhabited despite its dusty landscape.
Although Mars used to be filled with rivers, lakes and even an ocean a few billion years ago, today it is a vast dry wasteland.