Life on Mars? NASA Satellite Images Reveal Evidence of Water Flowing on Modern-Day Mars

by Owen James Burke

nasamars

These 100-meter-long streaked slopes may be seasonal saltwater rivers on modern-day Mars, NASA satellite images and research suggest. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona.

Today, through satellite imagery, the administration announced that, “. . . under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars.”

This finding corroborates with research published in March (in the journal Science) that Mars bore evidence of at least one large ocean that covered roughly 20% of the planet’s surface and reaching depths of about 5,000 feet, which is much bigger and deeper than previously thought.

Earth and Mars began life with similarly privileged seas, identical in their hydrogen-deuterium (“hard”, or neutron-charged hydrogen) composition. But then how did such a vast ocean dry up so quickly?

Over time, much of Mars’ hydrogen dissipated into space thanks to its relatively thin atmosphere. Still, while most of the water that remains is frozen, currently stored in polar ice caps, the dark streaks seen in the satellite image above, called recurring slope lineae, indicate that at least some of that ancient ocean remains liquid.

What does this all mean? Considering that Mars was once much warmer and wetter than past conclusions would have us believe, the implication is that for all we know, further research might reveal that the Red Planet did in fact host one Marvin the Martian after all.

Read more in NASA’s press release. –OJB

 

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