Scientists have for the first time confirmed that there is indeed flowing water present on the surface of Mars, thus getting once step closer in answering the age old question: are we alone in this universe?
In a news conference held today, NASA scientists announced that Mars wasn’t the barren wasteland that we once thought it to be. On the contrary, the planet’s surface was able to support the flow of water under certain conditions. The water is undoubtedly extremely salty as without the salts, it would simply freeze under the planet’s cold temperatures.
This was truly a momentous day for all scientists and space enthusiasts alike. Commenting on the occasion, James L. Green, NASA’s director of planetary sciences said “We haven’t been able to answer the question, ‘Does life exist beyond Earth?’ But following the water is a critical element of that. We now have, I think, great opportunities in the right locations on Mars to thoroughly investigate that.”
To be clear, the discovery of water on Mars isn’t something completely out of the blue as scientists had made educated guesses about its existence as early as 2011. However, now we have photographic evidence thanks to the imaging tools present on a Mars orbiting reconnaissance satellite. Analysis of the surface pictures revealed that the dark lines in the pictures were caused by water flowing downhill, which confirmed the long time suspicions of researchers.
This discovery only propagates the need of a manned exploration mission to Mars, in hopes to answer the question if there is indeed some life present on our neighboring planet or not. NASA is hopeful that they will be able to shed better light on the answer to that question by 2020 when they send astronauts to the red planet.