NASA has made a major announcement about the presence of water on Mars in the release of a new study this morning.
The space agency announced that they have found evidence of flowing, salty water on the surface of the red planet.
“Water is essential to life as we know it,” the research team said. “The presence of liquid water on Mars today has astrobiological, geologic and hydrologic implications and may affect future human exploration.”
“Something is hydrating these salts, and it appears to be these streaks that come and go with the seasons,” Georgia Tech PhD candidate Lujendra Ojha said in a statement.
“This means the water on Mars is briny, rather than pure. It makes sense because salts lower the freezing point of water. Even if RSL are slightly underground, where it’s even colder than the surface temperature, the salts would keep the water in a liquid form and allow it to creep down Martian slopes.”
“The origin of water forming the RSL is not understood,” the study goes on. “Water could form by the surface/subsurface melting of ice, but the presence of near-surface ice at equatorial latitudes is highly unlikely.”
The study also found that Mars may have once had an ocean that was larger than Earth’s Arctic ocean.