NASA: New Evidence Confirms Water Flows On Mars, Boosts Hope Of Life There
While the news is easily historic, researchers are not ready to conclude that life exists – or did exist – on the planet. Researcher Mary Beth Wilhelm said the results suggest “more habitable conditions on the near surface of Mars than previously thought,” but it remains to be seen whether life currently exists on Mars and if the liquid water is sufficient to harbor microbes to cling to existence. The discovery was made by NASA researchers using an imager aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to study “light waves returned from seasonal dark streaks on the surface,” according to CNN. You can see the “dark streaks” in the images above. Researchers found the dark streaks absorb light at specific wavelengths associated with chemicals on the planet’s surface, according to Georgia Tech doctoral student Lujendra Ojha, who first discovered the dark streaks as an undergraduate student in 2011. The chemicals on the surface allow the water to remain liquid at lower temperatures and also help keep it from boiling off in the thin atmosphere. Along with increasing the chances of life on Mars, the discovery may help scientists in their search for life outside of our solar system.