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NASA Announces Real, Flowing Water on Mars

NASA has been teasing an important discovery all weekend, and apparently people have been guessing correctly. Mars has liquid water “under certain circumstances.” There’s more at Wired.

We’re not talking gushing rivers or oceans here. These scientists have been investigating “recurring slope lineae,” patches of precipitated salt that appear to dribble down Mars’ steep slopes like tears rolling gently down a cheek. Planetary scientists hypothesized that the streaky formations were products of the flow of water, but they didn’t have concrete, mineralogical evidence for that idea until now, says Lujendra Ojha, a scientist at Georgia Tech who first spotted the lineae back in 2010. In a new Nature Geoscience paper, published online today, Ojha and his colleagues present “smoking gun validation” that it was liquid water flowing on Mars’ surface that formed these tear stains.

The discovery may have implications for the search for life on Mars, whether in the past or existing today.


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