Evidence for Water on Mars Found in Photos of Dark Streaks

Evidence for Water on Mars Found in Photos of Dark Streaks

Streaks on Mars' surface that flow with seasonal changes serve as strong evidence for the presence of liquid water on the planet, but analyses have yet to deliver conclusive proof.

Scientists are studying images of dark streaks on Mars that wax and wane with temperature changes in search of evidence for the presence of liquid water on the planet. The streaks, known as "recurring slope lines" (RSL), may leave minerals in their wake that either prove or disprove whether these markings are related to water activity.

"We still don't have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL, although we're not sure how this process would take place without water," said Lujendra Ojha, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology and lead author of two new reports about RSL.

The leading hypothesis for RSL suggests that they are caused by the flow of near-surface water that is kept liquid by salts. To date, Ojha and his team have been unable to find spectral signatures related to water or salts amongst the 13 confirmed RLS sites, but they have found distinct and consistent signatures for iron-rich minerals.

These ferric and ferrous minerals could have been left behind through either a wet or dry sorting process that filters out fine dust from the Martian surface. However, the possibility also exists that the signatures represent an increase in the more oxidized (rusted) component of the minerals or a darkening due to moisture, and both of these scenarios would indicate the presence of water.

Source: The Register

Permalink

RSL seems like a 'smoking gun' for generic liquid, but I feel like people keep forgetting that there are TONS of other liquids in the universe besides water. Scientists are saying, "If it isn't water, we have no clue what could be causing what is essentially erosion."

Also, you know what else causes geography like that on Earth? Wind. That could be wind erosion. Or anything else. I'm all for water on Mars, but I can help but feel like people are starting to get a little tunnel-visioned on the subject.

If it ends up being solid evidence for water I sort of feel sorry for all those dapper little rovers on the ground.

So high tech and right there slugging it out in Mars' barren environment trying all their best to find water, only to be beaten by a simple satellite. That's just harsh.

TiberiusEsuriens:
RSL seems like a 'smoking gun' for generic liquid, but I feel like people keep forgetting that there are TONS of other liquids in the universe besides water. Scientists are saying, "If it isn't water, we have no clue what could be causing what is essentially erosion."

Also, you know what else causes geography like that on Earth? Wind. That could be wind erosion. Or anything else. I'm all for water on Mars, but I can help but feel like people are starting to get a little tunnel-visioned on the subject.

Let's not forget all the traces of chemistry where water is essential that has been discovered on Mars.

Sure, multiple kinds of liquids could for erosion trails. But there are some geographical entities that could only ever be formed by water (thanks to the chemical properties of the stuff).

TiberiusEsuriens:
RSL seems like a 'smoking gun' for generic liquid, but I feel like people keep forgetting that there are TONS of other liquids in the universe besides water. Scientists are saying, "If it isn't water, we have no clue what could be causing what is essentially erosion."

Also, you know what else causes geography like that on Earth? Wind. That could be wind erosion. Or anything else. I'm all for water on Mars, but I can help but feel like people are starting to get a little tunnel-visioned on the subject.

Remember that the most common molecule (apart from H2) in the universe is H2O and so the most plausible explanation for any traces of liquid (unless there are clear clues otherwise) is water.
It beats any other molecule by several orders of magnitude in abundance and is only surpassed by the aforementioned H2.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here