The Discovery Science Lovers Have Been Waiting For, Liquid Water On Mars

It’s what scientists have been looking for for years, proof of liquid water that might show that life once existed or even still existed on the Red Planet in the form of microbes.

via Flickr - European Space Agency
via Flickr – European Space Agency

Today, it was confirmed that NASA’s Curiosity rover has found that despite the extreme cold of Mars’ surface, there are times when liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet.

via Flickr - Paul Hammond
via Flickr – Paul Hammond

However, this is only possible because of the amount of salt that exists suspended in the frozen water on Mars. Just like spreading salt during an ice storm helps deice the roads, the salt in the Martian ice raises the temperature of the frozen water just enough to tip over the edge so that it’s warm enough to melt into a salty brine.

via Flickr - NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
Water Ice On Mars via Flickr – NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

And while the surface of Mars is still too cold and exposed to cosmic rays to support life as we currently know it, scientists are heartened to see evidence of ice melting regardless and believe that more could exist beneath the planet’s surface.

Mars via Flickr - European Space Agency
Mars via Flickr – European Space Agency

The melting and evaporation process on Mars is discussed in great detail over at the journal Nature where an entire paper revealing the new findings has been published. And while this discovery doesn’t put us any closer to this…

Mars 1956 via Flickr - James Vaughan (artist: Chesley Bonestell)
Mars 1956 via Flickr – James Vaughan (artist: Chesley Bonestell)

It’s still a groundbreaking discovery that hints we may find life of some kind on Mars yet. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

h/t BBC

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