NASA’s latest discovery provides more justification that there may be life on Mars
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced the presence of liquid water on Mars. This discovery, which was announced at a special news briefing in Washington on Monday, is giving hope to explorers and space enthusiasts about the possibility of life thriving on a planet conventionally deemed hostile.
This is hardly the first time NASA is recording evidence of water in Mars. Earlier this year, there was evidence of an ocean that may have covered half of the planet’s northern hemisphere in the distant past. Some of the earliest expeditions as far back as the 1970s also revealed a watery past, with pictures which showed a surface marked with dried-up rivers and plains. However, NASA’s latest discovery is not just proof that life existed in the past; it is proof of the potential for life to thrive on Mars in the future.
“There is liquid water today on the surface of Mars,” Michael Meyer, the lead scientist on NASA’s Mars exploration programme, told the press. “Because of this, we suspect that it is at least possible to have a habitable environment today.”
According to researchers, liquid water runs down canyons and crater walls over the summer months on Mars, and these trickles leave long, dark stains on the Martian terrain that can reach hundreds of metres downhill before drying up as surface temperature drops.
“Mars is not the dry, arid planet that we thought of in the past,” said NASA’s Jim Green. “Liquid water has been found on Mars.” NASA officials say that the water on Mars – a briny liquid perchlorate – is not drinkable. Reports also show that the water in Mars has very high salinity which prevents it from freezing in certain temperatures, thereby making it impossible for earthlings to survive there.
Scientists do not know where the water is coming from, but there is a great possibility of the water condensing out of the thin atmosphere or seeping to the surface from underground aquifers that freeze during winter and melt during summer. The modern moisture is only available in modest quantities, and there are no flowing streams or oceans.
As NASA plans a detailed expedition for 2020, the water flows could point NASA and other space agencies towards the most promising sites to find life, and possible landing spots for future human missions where water can be collected from a natural supply.
Interestingly, this discovery coincides with the release of “The Martian”, a Hollywood movie in which a stranded astronaut has to learn to survive alone on Mars after being left for dead by his crew during a fierce storm. People have even started joking about about how the “folks at Fox” planned the whole thing with NASA.
DAMON: Hey, Barack I got a big Mars movie coming out Friday. Can you do me a solid? OBAMA: NASA will find water on Mars Monday, Matt. — John Nolte (@NolteNC) September 28, 2015
The marketers of the movie have since capitalized on this announcement.
This tweet echoed what everyone else was thinking.
On the possibility of finding alien life on Mars, NASA urges the world to not expect “Little Green Men” but rather expect “Little Green Microbes”.
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