NASA says life could exist on Mars as liquid water discovered
NASA discovered that liquid water at certain times flowing on the surface of Mars, a major discovery that revolutionized the understanding of the Red Planet where “life could exist.”
“This is a significant advance which seems to confirm that the water as brine streams now flowing to the surface of Mars,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA, at a press conference following the publication of this discovery in the British journal Nature Geoscience.
According to former astronaut, this discovery “makes possible that life could exist on Mars.”
This latest advance, obtained through images provided by observations of a probe of NASA, “Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter”, using a spectrometer, “strongly supports the hypothesis” of the presence of liquid water in Mars today, add these French and American scientists.
“Mars is not the dry, barren planet we thought it was,” has meanwhile said Jim Green, the head of planetary science at the American space agency.
In the distant past, Mars was similar to the Earth with lakes, rivers carved valleys and probably a vast ocean, he recalled. “Today we are revolutionizing our understanding of this planet.”
“Our orbiters (around March) discover a lot of moisture in the atmosphere” and determined that the Martian soil is much better than expected, he said.
Scientists have been issued for a long time on the assumption that these seasonal flow traces on land heavily sloping at different locations on March could be formed by brine flows, a saturated aqueous solution of salt which can be formed without the presence water.
Possibility of Life
These traces observed for the first time there are about four years, which can be up to several hundred meters long and five meters wide, appear only during the warmer seasons, lengthen and disappear when temperatures drop. They appear when the thermometer is at least 23 degrees Celsius, a temperature at which water can still be liquid if it is heavily loaded in these minerals.
Scientists were unable to substantiate the assumption that so far these seasonal streaks result from the flow of water as brine.
In April, other scientists had reported in the same Nature Geoscience as calcium perchlorates were present on the soil of Mars. Perchlorate, a type of salt similar to that found on these flows, is highly absorbent and lowers the freezing point of water so that it remains liquid at much lower temperatures.
Tim O’Brien, professor of astrophysics at the University of Manchester in the UK, who was not involved in this research, “this discovery is really exciting.”
“NASA was able to analyze the signature of this material (these Ed hydrated salts) and can see that this brine, which clearly shows that liquid water plays a role,” he added.
But “Scientists don’t know where this water, if it oozes subsoil mixed with minerals to form brine, or if it comes from the atmosphere, as is the case in Earth,” noted Professor O’Brien.
He emphasized that “the presence of liquid water increases the possibility of forms of microbial life on Mars today, but does not prove the existence of life.”
“All life as we know the needs water and now we’ve found water on Mars there could be life,” says astrophysicist.
“Our exploration of Mars has always been guided by the search for water in our quest for life in the universe and now we have convincing scientific evidence that validate what we suspected,” said John Grunsfeld.