NASA scientists managed to solve one of the greatest riddles of the Red Planet and to get one step closer to the greatest riddle of the Universe—“Does life exist beyond Earth?”.
Researchers discovered liquid saltwater on the surface of Mars, that could be an evidence of the existence of life on the planet. NASA scientists came to this conclusion by analyzing high-quality photos they got from the imaging spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, called the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.
Seasonal streams of liquid water were discovered back in 2011 by American researchers at the University of Arizona. Streaks appear on Martian slopes and canyons during the warm time of the year, when temperature is ten degrees Fahrenheit below zero (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear during colder seasons. Dark narrow streaks that reach hundreds of meters in length appear after the trickles of liquid saltwater flow and combine with each others. Scientists believe that the presence of the saltwater indicates the evidence of some form of life on the planet: without salt water would freeze. On the Earth, for example, if we find water, we would find life. Although scientists still do not know where the water comes from, they admit that it may rise from melting underground ice or condense out of the Martian atmosphere.
The existence of water on Mars—in solid, frozen form—was theorized many years ago, but it was proved only just now. There was a time, a billion years ago, there were lakes and rivers on Mars, but the current water reserves are rather modest—pitches of damp soil instead of pools of standing water. The planet was likely much warmer around four billion years ago than it is today. NASA’s associate administrator for science John M. Grunsfeld cannot imagine that this breakthrough would not be a high-priority issue with the scientific community.
NASA scientists think that freezing point on Mars may be minus eighty degrees Celsius, and given the low atmospheric pressure, the boiling point may be plus ten degrees. The average temperature is about minus 62 degrees. Therefore, water would be liquid longer because of the presence of salt in it.
At the present time, there are five station on the Mars, three of them are American: Mars Odyssey, MRO and MAVEN. American Mars Rover Opportunity is a record-holder for work duration, and Curiosity is the heaviest Mars Rover (900 kilograms).