On Monday, NASA scientists said that planet Mars’ ancient surface showed evidence of potentially life-giving water that flows from time to time. This might be a promising breakthrough for both the hunt for life outside Earth and for future travels to the Red Planet.
Although the recent discovery does not offer past or present proof of life on Mars, it does increase the longing that the planet’s harsh terrains still suggest that microbes may be able to exist.
John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate said, "The existence of liquid water, even if it is super salty briny water, gives the possibility that if there's life on Mars, that we have a way to describe how it might survive."
CNN has learned Lujendra Ojha, Georgia Tech doctoral student, while as a University of Arizona undergraduate student in 2011, was the one who primarily discovered the streaks that linked the possibility of water on Mars.
Ojha and his fellow collaborators used an imager aboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to investigate the chemical structure of the wet looking streaks. The technique that they used called spectroscopy, kept tabs of what spectra of light a matter absorbed in order to attain results about its composition. Through this method, scientist can identify ice, glass and other objects from miles beyond the surface.
Ojha said, "We’re going to places where we thought we were seeing the presence of water and finding chemical evidence of perchlorates." He continued that they’re probing the leftover molecules of Mars water in the salt and that evidence pointed that the said molecules were getting hydrated, as per The Washington Post.
According to The New York Times, the perchlorate salts reduced the freezing temperature, and Mars’ water remained liquid. The Red Planet has an average temperature of around minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but summer period near the Equator can stretch to an almost moist 70.
So, if liquid water, which is viewed as one of life’s essential ingredients, and if its presence in Mars can be proven upon further investigation, then it’s possible that microbial Martians could survive the Red Planet which appeared dry and barren.
NASA would have their hands full in order to gather concrete evidence of Mars' water. As for Lujendra Ojha, he said, "This stuff seems like science fiction, but in 100 years or so it could be fact."
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