NASA Confirms Liquid Water On Mars – Is Anyone Even Surprised?

Timewheel | The Rundown Live

Perhaps in one of the most intriguing recent discoveries in our solar system, NASA has recently uncovered definitive proof of the current existence of flowing water on the surface of Mars. This process of discovery began back in 2011 with Dr. Alfred S. McEwen of the University of Arizona. McEwen postulated the existence of water on the surface due to the presence of dark streaks appearing down sloping terrain in photographs taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Researchers officially referred to these streaks as, “recurring slope lineae” (RSL) and these grew in length during the late spring and summer months on Mars and shrank substantially in the winter inferring the possibility of the presence of a subterranean liquid bodies expanding and freezing respectively.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory/University of Arizona/NASA

Moving forward to earlier this year, researchers led by graduate student Lujendra Ojha of Georgia Institute of Technology, recently analyzed additional photos from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter but this time used a different instrument to gather further information. By using the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, an instrument that can identify molecules based on light absorption variations, we now understand that the appearance of hydrated salts on Mars’ surface specifically in the area of the RSLs confirms the “definitive” and “contemporary” presence of liquid water on the planet surface. These hydrated salts were identified as: magnesium percholate, calcium perchlorate, magnesium perchlorate, and sodium percholate.

The video below released by NASA explains the nature of perchlorate on Mars why the presence of water is possible on the planet because of it.

McEwen now hypothesizes that the hydrated salts are receiving water from one of two sources: (1) absorbing moisture from the air or (2) underground liquid aquaphiers melting in the summer temperatures. The average temperature on Mars is around minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit and can rise at the hottest upwards to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at the Martian Equator, but researchers are unaware of the exact surface humidity. More research data is needed before ruling out the air absorption hypotheses.

Now the unsterilized Mars rovers like “Curiosity” are barred from going to the four special areas in which the RSLs and hydrated salts are present so as to prevent any contamination with microorganisms that may be present on the vehicles from Earth. As researchers debate and continue to analyze incoming data, NASA is resigned to observing the events on Mars’ surface at a distance while formulating the best plan(s) of action moving forward so as to not disturb the Martian habitat.

The old saying comes to mind, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody was there to hear it, did it really fall?”. At least in the case of Mars, that water was there before we thought it could be and will most likely still be there once we find a way to see it for ourselves.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory/University of Arizona/NASA

About the Author
Christopher is a Maryland native, a yoga teacher, and a graduate student at Sofia University pursuing a M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology. His current research interest revolves around psychosomatic healing, esoteric anatomy, dreamwork, and psychedelics. In his spare time he enjoys doing yoga, writing poetry, and performing music.

Chang, K. (2015). NASA Confirms Signs of Water Flowing on Mars, Possible Niches for Life. New York Times September 28, 2015.

McEwen, A. S. et al. (2011). Seasonal Flows on Warm Martian Slopes. Science (5) August 2011: Vol. 333 no. 6043 pp. 740-743.

Ohja, J. et al. (2015). Nature Geoscience. doi:10.1038/ngeo2546. Received: 22, April 2015. Accepted: 21, August 2015. Published online: 28, September 2015.