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NASA Reveals Known Mystery: Streaks of Water Flows Confirmed Officially

As expected in our column, NASA has ‘solved’ the mystery behind streaks as those of flowing water on Mars, which means life in the form of organism is possible on Mars or the search for alien life on Mars is true though disappointing many UFO-afficinados.

NASA scientists on Monday revealed definitive signs of liquid water on the surface of present-day Mars, confirming officially one-year-old truth known to the world. “This, I think, gives a focus of where we should look more closely,” said Alfred S. McEwen, a professor of planetary geology at the University of Arizona and the principal investigator of images from a high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The dark, narrow streaks flowing downhill on Mars at a portion of Horowitz Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on modern-day Mars. The streaks are roughly the length of a football field and the image processed from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes

Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes.(NASA)Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The dark features on the slopes are called “recurring slope lineae” or RSL and planetary scientists using observations with the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer on the same orbiter detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Horowitz Crater, corroborating the hypothesis that the streaks are formed by briny liquid water.

The image was produced by first creating a 3-D computer model of the area based on stereo information from two HiRISE observations, and then draping an image over the land-shape model. The vertical dimension is exaggerated by a factor of 1.5 compared to horizontal dimensions. The draped image is a red waveband (monochrome) product from HiRISE observation PSP_005787_1475, taken on Oct. 21, 2007, at 32 degrees south latitude, 141 degrees east longitude, said NASA panel.

In another image, dark narrow streaks, called “recurring slope lineae,” emanate from the walls of Garni Crater on Mars, in this view constructed from observations by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Dark narrow streaks, called "recurring slope lineae," emanate from the walls of Garni Crater on Mars

Dark narrow streaks, called “recurring slope lineae,” emanate from the walls of Garni Crater on Mars. (NASA)Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The dark streaks here are up to few hundred yards, or meters, long. They are hypothesized to be formed by flow of briny liquid water on Mars.

The image was produced by first creating a 3-D computer model (a digital terrain map) of the area based on stereo information from two HiRISE observations, and then draping an image over the land-shape model. The vertical dimension is exaggerated by a factor of 1.5 compared to horizontal dimensions. The draped image is a red waveband (monochrome) product from HiRISE observation ESP_031059_1685, taken on March 12, 2013 at 11.5 degrees south latitude, 290.3 degrees east longitude.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project and Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

“There are two basic origins for the water: from above or from below,” Dr. McEwen said. The perchlorates could be acting like a sponge, absorbing moisture out of the air, but measurements indicate very low humidity on Mars — only enough for 10 microns, or about 1/2,500th of an inch, of rain across the planet if all of the wetness were wrung out of the air.

That idea cannot be entirely ruled out if the lower part of the atmosphere turns out more humid than currently thought.

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