In one of the biggest revelations made in the past decades, NASA scientists are saying that the Red Planet is home to flowing waters. According to them, liquid water runs down the crater walls and canyons of Mars during the summer months. Jim Green of NASA stated that after this discovery Mars cannot be categorized as a dry planet.
What’s more, this discovery, according to the researchers, increases the possibilities of existence of life on the planet.
The scientists have spotted long, dark stains on the Martian terrain, which according to them have been left by the trickles. Those trickles can become hundreds of meters long during the hotter months and tend to dry up during autumn i.e. when the surface temperature of the planet drops.
NASA has captured images of the Martian surface that feature craters, steep valley walls and cliffs covered by streaks, which are actually summertime flows. In the most active parts, the streaks combine to create fan-like structures.
People at NASA, however, have not yet identified the exact source of the water spotted on the Red Planet. They are saying that the water might come from salty aquifers or underground ice or might even get squeezed out of the planet’s thin atmosphere.
Michael Meyer, the in-charge of the space agency’s Mars exploration program, said that after knowing that Mars is home to liquid water, he and his team are suspecting that the planet currently has a very habitable environment.
The newly identified water flows might point space agencies including NASA towards areas on Mars that are most likely to have life. In addition, the discovery will also help astronomers in deciding on landing spots on Mars during future missions as they now know which parts of the planet will allow them to collect water from a natural supply.
Several early missions to the Red Planet revealed that it has a watery past. Images of Mars captured during the 1970s featured a surface dissected by plains that were once underneath massive lakes and rivers that had dried up.
In addition, earlier in 2015, NASA scientists presented evidence of existence of an ocean that according to them might have covered almost half of Mars’ northern hemisphere millions of years back.