NASA confirmed liquid water flowing on Mars earlier last week.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), that has been examining Mars since 2006, showed images of dark streaks that seemed to move over time. The streaks were a few hundred meters high in length, and the finding of the mysterious streaks had scientists hypothesize the possibility of liquid water on Mars. After five years of studying the strange streaks, NASA was finally able to confirm running water on the red planet.
Lujendra Ojha, of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, and his co-authors interpret the spectral signatures as caused by hydrated minerals called perchlorates. The hydrated salts most consistent with the chemical signatures are likely a mixture of magnesium perchlorate, magnesium chlorate, and sodium perchlorate. Some perchlorates have been shown to keep liquids from freezing even when conditions are as cold as minus 70 degrees Celsius.
According to Michael Meyer on NASA.com, “It took multiple spacecrafts over several years to solve this mystery, and now we know there is liquid water on the surface of this cold, desert planet. It seems that the more we study Mars, the more we learn how life could be supported and where there are resources to support life in the future.”