Strong evidence for seasonal flows of liquid salty water have been detected by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It has also identified evidence of “hydrated minerals” called perchlorates that have formed streaks on slopes on Mars’ surface, the agency said.
“There is liquid water today on the surface of Mars,” Michael Meyer, the lead scientist on Nasa’s Mars exploration program, said. “Because of this, we suspect that it is at least possible to have a habitable environment today.”
The scientists are unsure where the water comes from, but the evidence is clear that liquid water runs down canyons and crater walls over the summer months on Mars. The trickles leave long, dark stains on the Martian terrain in the warmer months, before they dry up in the autumn as surface temperatures drop.
Water could point NASA towards the more promising sites to find life on the Red Planet, and for better landing spots for future human missions where water can be collected from a natural supply.