By Maheem Syed
Mars often brings the idea of a barren, jagged landscape. However, on September 28th, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officially announced the discovery of liquid water on Mars. It has long been believed that the Red Planet only had frozen ice caps as a water source, yet- according to NBC Nightly News, hydrated salt residue has been found in streaks along the steep landscape. Like water, the streaks recede during colder weather, and begin snaking down the slopes during warmer weather.
On the other hand, what does this translate to? Flowing water, though salty, may be the first step towards the potential of extraterrestrial life, according to an interview with Georgia Tech professor Dr. James Wray. As far as scientists are aware, a living organism needs water. Thus, seeing liquid water on Mars, may be the first step to locating a life sources which rely on it, even if it may be salty.
However, there is much controversy as to whether this discovery will make a deep difference in our understanding. According to National Geographic, the streaks actually appear to be more of a “trickle” than a steady flow of water. Most scientists accept that the water may actually come from the atmosphere, and be catched by salt crystals and dissolved, instead of an underground ocean. This does not necessarily provide evidence for life; it may just be another natural wonder of Mars. Comparatively, the same was proven for the dead seas of Antartica.
So, does life genuinely exist beyond Earth? The debate between this newfound proof of liquid water on Mars, has the world arguing on many sides. Discovering water on Mars is the first step towards connecting to our Solar System. However, it may also be a scientific wish, which cannot be justified. Though humans are decades away from fully grasping the truth, the discovery of streaming water will change perspectives about the future. Mars has never seemed quite this close.
Drake, Nadia. “Water on Mars: What Does It Really Mean?” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.
Holt, Lester. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.” NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, September 28th. New York, 28 Sept. 2015. Television.
“NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars.” NASA. NASA, 28 Sept. 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
Pearson, Michael. “Liquid Water Exists on Mars, Boosting Hopes for Life, NASA Says.” CNN. Cable News Network, 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.