August 6, 2011 10:51 AM EDT
New evidence suggesting the existence of water flowing on Mars indicates the possibility for life to exist on the Red Planet.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have taken images and videos of dark, finger-like features running down a number of Martian slopes in the middle latitudes of the Planet's southern hemisphere. The lines become more visible in the warm season, suggesting that they could have been created by the flow of certain volatile chemicals which boils at low temperatures.
These flows then dry up in colder seasons. The strongest candidates are water and carbon dioxide, according to a study by planetary geologists at the University of Arizona.
Alfred McEwen, the lead author of the study, which was published in journal Science, says they could exclude carbon dioxide as temperatures were too high for it to exist in the form of frost. This means the flow marks were created in all probability by water.
"It is our first chance to see an environment on Mars that might allow for the expression of an active biological process, if there is present-day life on Mars," said Lisa Pratt, biogeochemist at Indiana University, Bloomington. Pratt was one of the participants on the NASA panel discussing the results on Thursday.
According to Pratt, Earth is the home for some organisms that live underground with almost no access to sunlight. Given the evidence of liquid salty water beneath Mars' surface, there is possibility of thriving life down there also, she said.
The water is said to be as salty as that in the Earth's ocean.
I wonder how soon we will be Mining on Mars???
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