Groundbreaking NASA Announcement: Evidence of Liquid Water on Mars
In a major scientific announcement, NASA has found evidence of liquid water on present-day Mars.
"Under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars" - Jim Green, NASA Planetary Science Director https://t.co/MvErxberG3— NASA (@NASA)1443455018.0
"Mars is not the dry, arid planet that we thought of in the past," said Jim Green, NASA Planetary Science Director, in a press conference. "Under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars."
For about a week, NASA kept this "major Mars mystery" a secret from the public. And today, millions of viewers tuned into the space agency's live-streamed announcement, and even fueling speculation that there could be (or was) life on the Red Planet, as water is essential to life.
“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
“This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water—albeit briny—is flowing today on the surface of Mars,” Grunsfeld continued.
The findings come from an imaging spectrometer on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which has been roving the planet since 2006.
Scientists have long theorized that water, in the form of trapped ice, was already present on the Martian planet. "Though young Mars was inundated by rivers, lakes and maybe even an ocean a few billion years ago, the modern moisture is modest. Scientists have long known that large amounts of water remain—but frozen solid in the polar ice caps. There have been fleeting hints of recent liquid water, like fresh-looking gullies, but none have proved convincing," the New York Times reported.
But with today's announcement, it now appears that the dark streaks seen on the planet are actually patches of freshly hydrated salts, which are formed by flowing water that has evaporated off the Martian surface.
Miss today's #MarsAnnouncement? Here's the highlights on evidence that liquid water flows on present-day Mars: https://t.co/sFKSJo7VqD— NASA (@NASA)1443457545.0
“That’s a direct detection of water in the form of hydration of salts," Dr. Alfred S. McEwen, a professor of planetary geology at the University of Arizona and the principal investigator of images from the MRO, told the New York Times. “There pretty much has to have been liquid water recently present to produce the hydrated salt.”
NASA explained that the darkish streaks appear to "ebb and flow over time," adding that they darken and "appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons."
"They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times," NASA said.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
By Robin Scher
Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.
- Can Urban Farms Prevent Hunger in 54 Million People in the U.S. ... ›
- New Report Finds Malnutrition World's Top Killer Amid Pandemic ... ›
- Oxfam Warns 12,000 Could Die Per Day From Hunger Due to ... ›
- Three Ways to Support a Healthy Food System During the COVID ... ›
- Trump USDA Resumes Effort to Cut Food Stamp Benefits - EcoWatch ›
- Pandemic Threatens Food Security for Many College Students ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.
As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.
- 15 Top Conservation Issues of 2021 Include Big Threats, Potential ... ›
- How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy - EcoWatch ›
By David Drake and Jeffrey York
The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.
The Big Idea
People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.
- Major Milestone: More than 100,000 MW Worth of Coal-Fired Power ... ›
- Coal Will Not Bring Appalachia Back to Life, But Tech and ... ›
- Renewables Beat Coal in the U.S. for the First Time This April ... ›