This is a big deal because the presence of liquid water is arguably the most necessary element for the evolution of life as we know it. The water on Mars is believed to be briny and far saltier than any on Earth.
The president of the Coffs Harbour Astronomical Society, Win Howard, said even using telescopes much less powerful than the tools available to NASA, local astronomers had long thought there was water on Mars.
And now they have determined that the dark streaks that appear on slopes during Mars’s moderate summertime and disappear during the winter are just that.
The discovery “confirms that water is playing a role in these features”, said planetary scientist Alfred McEwen, with the University of Arizona.
He said that today’s announcement gives more reason to send astrobiologists and other scientists to answer the question of whether there is life on the planet. “If there is water, that means there is oxygen”.
The Martian, which is based on the novel by Andy Weir, follows the story of a team of astronauts on a mission to Mars who encounter a storm that leaves Mark Watney (Matt Damon) behind under the presumption that he is dead. It was a shock to everyone, but more importantly it revealed that there’s a chance that we’ll find life on Mars.
He compared the consistency of the Mars water to a wet sandbox. Jim Green of NASA stated that after this discovery Mars can not be categorized as a dry planet.
Although this is huge news, this isn’t the first time that NASA has found water.
Scientists believe it has been billions of years since significant water flowed on Mars. “We only suspect those places exist and we have a few scientific evidence that they do”, said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science, Reuters adds.
It remains unsure as to where this flow of water originates from, but it can spring from the icy or salty underground layer of water or it may have condensed from the planet’s atmosphere, The Guardian reported.
Luju Ojha, a Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Institute of Technology explains that the possibility of life on Mars has always been large.
Owen wondered if the discovery would have any implications for the proposed Mars One mission which sought to colonise Mars with humans on a one-way trip.