Signs of Flowing Water on Mars

Signs of Flowing Water on Mars

Sign of water on mars was found a long time ago. The scientists knew that there was frozen water on the poles of Mars. But something big has recently been found. NASA has found concrete evidence of flowing water on the surface of Mars.

Frozen Water Already Discovered:

The dark patches on the surface of Mars were found in 2010. The dark features are 5 meters wide and more than 100 meters long. An explanation regarding the, often appearing long streaks on the Martian Terrain has been published in Nature Geoscience.

Presence of Moisture Absorbing Mineral Salts:

A team of eight scientists gathered to study the nature of these features. They found mineral salts that easily absorb moisture in the long and dark streaks. According to them, only one explanation seems logical and that is presence of flowing water on Mars.

Lujendra Ojha, the Lead Author:

This research began by an undergraduate from University of Arizona, Lujendra Ojha, in 2010. He is now the lead author of this new research and Alfred McEven, his professor is a co-author of the research also the camera’s lead scientist for NASA. He very thoroughly studied the images taken from a very powerful camera orbiting around the Red Planet. According to Ojha, there were dark, linear andstark features all over the Martian terrain and they were forming only when the temperature was ideal for liquid water. These features called “recurring slope lineae” disappeared in the Martian winter.

Data from CRISM:

Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer is used by scientists to study the type of soil on the other planet. CRISM works by recording the wavelength of light that is reflected off the surface of Mars. At the end of last year, Ojha, started looking closely into the CRISM data for the sloping streaks of Mars. By closely studying the images, Ojha and his colleagues confirmed the existence of perchlorates, a salt that is very good absorber of moisture.

Data Collection Time not Suitable:

No actual flowing water is visible in the images. The data is collected by the orbiter at 3 p.m. Mars time, which is not a suitable time for watching water as the relative humidity is very low. Scientists might have caught water on camera eight hours before or after the time of observation.

According to Ojha and his colleagues the data shows dark patches formed due to the bonding of freshly hydrated salts with water.

The study held by Lujendra Ojha and Alfred MaEwen say that the conditions on Mars are smilar to that of the Atacama Desert in North America. The co-authors wrote that the water activity in perchlorate solutions may be too low to support known terrestrial life. Ojha expressed his views about transferring life from Earth to Mars.

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Updated: April 20, 2019 — 10:35 am