Thursday, August 18, 2011

NASA Finds Possible Proof of liquid Water on Mars

Earlier this month, NASA sent out a press release along with a series of images taken by the HRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance orbiter showing a series of dark trails radiating down from the edges of steep slopes of Mars' Newton Basin crater, located on the planet's southern hemisphere. These trails first begin to appear and grow throughout the warmer months on the planet, and then recede as temperatures drop in the winter. Because the temperature in this particular area is too warm to allow for the creation of carbon dioxide frost, researchers concluded that the the most likely candidate behind the unusual markings were deposits of salt water, either on or just beneath the planet's surface, thawing and draining down the slopes with the changing of the seasons.

While it is generally accepted that Mars once had liquid water, possibly even an ocean flowing on it's surface, and the existence of water ice just beneath the planet's soil has been confirmed in various regions. These strange dark trails in the martian sand represent the best evidence to date that liquid water could in fact still exist on the red planet. Which would of course greatly increase the odds that Mars is also potentially host to at least microbial life.

However, while the images are compelling. The argument they make as proof of flowing water, is little more than circumstantial. As the water itself has yet to be directly observed or detected, and an attempt to confirm it's presence using the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars on board the MRO, was unsuccessful. Which could either mean that the water isn't there, it evaporates too quickly to detect, or that there simply isn't enough of it present in the atmosphere for it to be detected at all. Only time and further observation will tell for sure.



You can also view this post on: GGB on Tumblr

check out today's video for a look at the region of Mars in question. As narrated by Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for HiRISE and lead author of a report about the recurring flows published in Thursday's edition of the journal Science,

Posted by Youtube user: SpaceRip

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