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NASA on Hype Over ‘Mars Mystery Solved’ Briefing: What to Expect?


This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL



NASA has sent out a teaser called “Mars Mystery Solved” which is a press conference where it
says the new mysterious finding on Mars will be revealed to the world.

“NASA will detail a major science finding from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 28 at the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington,” said the prss release adding that the event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The scientists who will participate in it include Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters, Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program, Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

NASA said a brief question-and-answer session will follow and asked even members of the public to participate and send their questions using the hashtag #AskNASA.

What to Expect?

If Mars enthusiasts and space lovers are expecting a major revelation, it may not be that big going by NASA’s past press conferences on Mars. Last press conference with similar wording revealed that NASA rover Curiosity detected nitrogen on the surface of Mars.

So, speculations are high that this time it would be a confirmation of periodically flowing water on Mars’ surface. The NASA panel of scientists being presented today include three members who had presented a paper at European Planetary Science Congress.

They have analyzed imaging from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that proves that seasonal dark streaks on the Martian surface are due to water periodically flowing across the planet’s surface. These dark flows are called “recurring slope lineae” and RSL has become one of the hottest acronyms at meetings of Mars scientists.

In his 2014 paper, Lujendra Ojha, an Indian origin scientist almost stopped short of announcing water flows on Mars but said, “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,” he said last time.

Since the social media is going abuzz with wild speculations about what NASA may have found on the red planet from a Mars bunny, lizard, traces of artifacts and myriad other claims.

NASA had laready announced that liquid water just below surface was found on Mars so the next sequel to the mystery will be solved today with the finding of water flow somewhere on Mars as gleaned by scientists from their analysis.

Apart from Ojha, McEwan is on the panel that gives another angle to the revelation as he was involved in studying salt substances in the water beneath the surface. But his finding of salt substances was not new. So, was it a combination of both to be revealed by NASA today? But certainly not about life forms.

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