Sara Chaney, The Herd Staff
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has recently helped the scientists at NASA gather very strong evidence to prove that there is periodically flowing water on Mars. This phenomena was discovered when researchers discovered dark streaks that formed on recurring slope lineae (RSL), or downhill slopes on the surface of the planet, however, the dark streaks would only appear when the weather on Mars was above -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists then discovered that the dark streaks were formed by hydrated minerals that they suspect were hydrated by water rising from underground. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water — albeit briny — is flowing today on the surface of Mars” says John Grunsfeld, “astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington” (nasa.gov).
The substance found on Mars is possibly related to liquid water, and scientists say that it may be a small flow of it under the surface that is causing the darkening of the surface on land. The darkened soil in the RSL have been recorded in multiple places on the surface of Mars. “Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington”(nasa.gov) says, “It took multiple spacecraft over several years to solve this mystery, and now we know there is liquid water on the surface of this cold, desert planet. It seems that the more we study Mars, the more we learn how life could be supported and where there are resources to support life in the future.”