NASA Announces Discovery of Liquid Water on Mars (VIDEO)
NASA has revealed its major announcement concerning Mars, which had been teased all weekend. The discovery: liquid water has been found on the surface of Mars.
This completely changes the perception of Mars as a desert-like planet, in addition to opening the possibility of life having existed on the planet at one point. In fact, this could very well mean life exists there today, even if just in microbial form.
The findings were published in Nature Geoscience, a science journal featuring research from Dr. Alfred S. McEwen, a professor of planetary geology at the University of Arizona and the principal investigator on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter NASA sent to the red planet. According to the publication, scientists were able to detect waterlogged molecules, which is separate from the frozen water that had previously been discovered in the form of polar ice caps.
“That’s a direct detection of water in the form of hydration of salts,” said Dr. McEwen. “There pretty much has to have been liquid water recently present to produce the hydrated salt.”
Unfortunately, it appears Mars once had far greater resources, but ultimately lost those resources over the course of billions of years. In particular, it is believed that Mars was once home to huge lakes and oceans, not unlike those on Earth.
“We now know Mars was once a planet very much like Earth with warm salty seas and fresh water lakes,” said NASA’s planetary science director Jim Green. “But something has happened to Mars, it lost its water.”
Still, this is a huge discovery either way, because it suggests the possibility of life. And the possibility that, even if only at the microbial level, we’re not alone in the universe.
For more on Mars, check out NASA’s initial announcement here!