NASA made a massive discovery in September 2015, which brought up the possibility of finding life outside Earth a lot closer than we would have expected. The space agency claimed to have identified traces of liquid water on the surface of Mars. Now, it decided to take a new look at those mysterious features on the surface of the planet, and decided they might be actually made of dust and sand.
NASA thought it found liquid water flowing on Mars
The main object of the study developed by NASA was RSL (the Recurring Slope Lineae). This particular area appears darker than all the other features which surround it. Also, it undergoes periods of fading, after which it returns to normal. This unusual activity seemed to resemble water, which got the scientists extremely excited.
As soon as this discovery was made, NASA scientists were convinced they had managed to fulfill their year-long quest to find water on Mars. John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator at NASA, was really optimistic in his declarations.
“This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water—albeit briny—is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”
What looked like water turned out to be sand
However, NASA has decided to take another look at RSL, and the new discoveries weren’t so encouraging. They discovered that the surface of Mars is extremely dry, and those formations were most likely made of dry sand. The slopes present in the areas look just like the shapes created by the movement of sand dunes.
Also, the calculations indicate water couldn’t have been responsible with creating the formation. A much bigger amount would have been necessary to produce the slopes. The presence of water only on top of the formation is, again, highly unlikely. Even so, scientists don’t rule out the possibility of liquid water being present in other regions on the surface of Mars.