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The Source: Water On Mars

Image of exposed rock layers on Mars, seen by the MRO Mars High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment in the Argyre Region.

 Is there water on Mars? 
Two new studies by the Southwest Research Institute are shedding light on what would be  a game changing discovery, flowing water. One of the studies analysis the mystery behind dark, finger-like impressions on the hills of the planet that grow longer after the planet's warm season. Authors postulate the possibility of warm air melting water below the surface that rolls downhill.


“We were expecting to find colder temperatures, requiring a lower freezing-point for water than 32 degrees F, which could occur with salty water,” said Dr. David Stillman, a senior research scientist in SwRI’s Space Science and Engineering Division. “Instead, we found that RSL lengthen when afternoon surface temperatures are greater than 32 degrees F. This suggests that these flows could be due to pure water,” said Stillman, lead author of one report and co-author of another.

The studies have implications for travel to the red planet, sustained habitats on Mars and--the holy grail--life.

Dr David Stillman - Senior Research Scientist - Department of Space Studies at Southwest Research Institute

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive