Today NASA announced recent findings on Mars. Titled “The Saline Slopes of Mars” NASA confirmed the finding of liquid water on the Red planet's surface. Present during the conference was Dwanye Brown, John Grunsfeld, Jim Green, Michael Meyer, via phone in France, Alfred McEwen and Luju Ojha, and video calling in from the West Coast, Mary Beth Wilhelm.
The conference was set up around the statement by Grunsfeld “When we explore, we make discoveries.” He went on to state, “ We are going to Mars… soon I hope we will be sending humans to the Red planet.” He spoke of the need for astrobiologists and rovers to go to Mars to examine the water and determine if there was life on Mars once, and if there is a possibility that life presently exists on Mars, but “It would be possible for there to be life on Mars” as Grunsfeld explains.
Green explains that two thirds of the northern hemisphere of Mars was ocean, nearly three billion years ago.This water mass was lost due to a severe climate change which has altered our understanding of the Red planet. However, Green went on to explain that humidity in the air has been found by rovers, and that “Mars is not the dry aired planet we thought of it in the past. Today we are going to announce that in circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars.”
Meyers explains that there had not been proof of water on Mars until four years ago, which was only a possibility. This possibility of water came with the discovery of recurring slope lineae, RSL, hydration formed in lake springs that would grow in the summer, but disappear by fall. Previously there was uncertainty to how RSL may be formed, until now.
NASA doesn’t know how the water may be forming, or if it is in the subsurface of Mars, but hydration is found best flowing out of bedrocks through RSL.
Wilhelm explains that the briney water found on Mars is not pure. She states that Mars has “more habitable conditions on the near surface… than previously thought… [before that can happen though we] need to figure out how cold and concentrated the brine is” in order to figure out the features of the water.
This discovery made by NASA is groundbreaking as it will allow for research to continue in the search for life on Mars.
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