Water On Mars Evidence Continues

Water Mars - NASA scientists say water may flow on Mars in the form of strange, dark lines on the terrain that grow and fade with the seasons.

The findings, released Thursday, describe images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, currently circling the planet. The otherwise unremarkable lines on the planet’s slopes grow more prominent during the warm season, proliferating from late Martian spring into early fall. This suggests they were made by volatile chemicals that can boil at relatively low temperatures, such as water and carbon dioxide, the authors wrote.

They look rather like flow lines that would be left by running water, ending in light-colored patches that could be material deposited by the flow, the authors added.

If these are indeed signs of liquid water on the surface, the possibility that life exists on Mars “looks more likely,” said lead author Alfred McEwen, a planetary geologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson who is in charge of a high-resolution camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The dark streaks were observed in the mid-latitudes of the southern hemisphere — far enough south for ground ice to be present. They are present on equator-facing slopes that could get warm enough to melt ice.

The apparent flow marks varied in size, from 0.5 meters to 5 meters wide. While they’re very rare — the researchers have identified just seven, with 20 other possible candidates — certain areas have thousands of such flow marks that could potentially have held thousands of gallons of water.

By: Pat Prescott
Published: Aug 5, 2021
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