Sep 28, 2015

Picture of the Day: Water on Mars

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Using an imaging spectrometer on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet.

These dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks called ‘recurring slope lineae’ (RSL) flowing downhill are inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Recently, planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, corroborating their original hypothesis that the streaks are indeed formed by liquid water. [source]

The blue color seen upslope of the dark streaks are thought not to be related to their formation, but instead are from the presence of the mineral pyroxene. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (Infrared-Red-Blue/Green(IRB)) false color image on a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the same site produced by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment. [source]

“It took multiple spacecraft over several years to solve this mystery, and now we know there is liquid water on the surface of this cold, desert planet,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “It seems that the more we study Mars, the more we learn how life could be supported and where there are resources to support life in the future.”

To learn more about this remarkable research visit



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