NASA probe reveals evidence of flowing water on Mars

mars-water-life-mcewen

Researchers have uncovered new evidence that water is flowing just below the surface of Mars, according to a new study published in the journal Science. The discovery was made after images taken by a NASA probe revealed brown streaks (pictured above) on the Red Planet’s surface, which could have been caused by moving salt water.

While the study is not conclusive, scientists say the finding corroborates evidence found by other probes. Unlike past discoveries, however, the water revealed in this study is actually flowing today, unlike other studies that found evidence of water that may have existed on the cold, arid planet a millennium ago.

The discovery was made by a team from the University of Arizona in Tuscon, led by planetary scientist Alfred McEwen. The team analyzed images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the planet since 2006. Each year, the MRO records images of the Martian surface, in both summer and winter periods. The telltale brown streaks appeared in images taken during the warmer spring and summer months, but disappeared when temperatures dropped.  

“The best explanation for these observations so far is the flow of briny water,” said McEwen. This water could have disturbed the dusty grown above, causing the streaks to form.

Unlike fresh water, salty water can remain liquid at temperatures far below water’s usual freezing point. When the streaks were recorded, the temperature on Mars was between -20 and -30 degrees Celsius.

If water does indeed exist below Mars’ surface, it increases the probability that  alien life exists on the planet. Still, the chances of living creatures or plants being able to survive in water with the high levels of salt required to keep the water in liquid form at such low temperatures remain uncertainly low. 

Scientists have discovered possible evidence of water on Mars at least twice before. In 2004, the Mars rover Opportunity found chemical compounds that scientists say likely formed because of standing water that had long since evaporated; and in 2008, NASA’s Phoenix probe landed near the north pole of Mars, and took pictures of strange blobs on its legs, which some believe was briny ice. 

So while it remains uncertain whether water actually exists on Mars, McEwen’s discovery has bolstered hopes in the scientific community that a conclusive discovery is tangible. 

“NASA’s Mars Exploration Program keeps bringing us closer to determining whether the Red Planet could harbor life in some form,” sad NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement made today, “and it reaffirms Mars as an important future destination for human exploration.”

Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Home Theater

What is Terrarium TV? Here’s everything you need to know

Terrarium TV offered a way to watch movies & TV for free, but now after a troubled existence, the app's developer has shut it down, and offered an ominous message to users on his way out.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…