NASA just announced yesterday that they have found signs of liquid water on Mars. It is one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the last two decades and is already one of the most talked about topics in recent years.
Scientists working at NASA carefully analyzed the images that they received from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. They found that the darker streaks from the planet’s surface are in fact the result of water flowing across these regions. However, they were not noticed before because they are seasonal waters.
The world was shocked when on Monday this week, NASA’s Director of Planetary Science, Jim Green, declared during a press conference that the agency has found liquid water on Mars.
As NASA is still looking for signs of life on the red planet, the liquid water is a key discovery in the search for life. Gregory Ojakangas, NASA physics engineer and professor at Drury University, said that there is a big chance that they will find at least microscopic life on Mars.
Prior researches claimed that the planet has frozen water at its poles, and that underneath there is briny water flowing. However, only now evidence of surface water has been found. Scientists have long suspected that the dark streaks could be the results of flowing waters. The streaks usually form in spring, they widen by summer and withdraw by fall.
The CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars) instrument only detected water in the dark streaks of the planet so far. John Grunsfield, scientist at NASA, said that because the planet has water it could mean that it can be a potential habitat for humans some centuries in the future. But it is difficult to answer the question as early as this decade. If we were to found that Mars has life, then the possibility for other planets in the Universe to be populated by creatures similar to us is quite high. So far, NASA only knows that they will have to follow the water.
Water is not only essential to sustain life on our planet, scientists proved many times before that all living organisms were formed in water.
Mary Beth Wilhelm, another researcher of NASA, declared that is of utmost importance for the agency to understand what is the source of water, as well as what is exactly the amount of water underneath the surface of the red planet.
Photo credits: Wikimedia