Washington, (EFEverde).- NASA said Monday that scientists have found the strongest evidence yet of the existence of liquid water on Mars.
Data from an imaging spectrometer aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter support the hypothesis that dark streaks on the Martian surface are due to saltwater activity, according to a report to be submitted this week at a conference in France.
“Water is essential to life as we know it,” the researchers wrote in the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.
“The presence of liquid water on Mars today has astrobiological, geologic and hydrologic implications and may affect future human exploration,” the study said.
The dark streaks spotted by the orbiter are seasonal phenomena.
“Something is hydrating these salts, and it appears to be these streaks that come and go with the seasons,” one of the researchers, Lujendra Ojha, said in a statement. “This means the water on Mars is briny, rather than pure. It makes sense because salts lower the freezing point of water.”
NASA scientists had previously determined that Mars had an ocean roughly 4.5 billion years ago covering 19 percent of the planet’s surface.