Flowing water on Mars, possible according to former UA student - Tucson News Now

Flowing water on Mars, possible according to former UA student

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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL

Portions of the article are from NASA. 

A former University of Arizona student possibly discovered features created by running water on Mars. 

Three years ago, undergraduate student Lujendra Ojha reviewed images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The HiRISE camera team is based at the University of Arizona.

According to NASA, the images show "clues for understanding seasonal features that are the strongest indication of possible liquid water that may exist today on the Red Planet."

Ojha is now a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and is the lead author of two new published studies about the images.  

"The features are dark, finger-like markings that advance down some Martian slopes when temperatures rise. The new clues include corresponding seasonal changes in iron minerals on the same slopes and a survey of ground temperatures and other traits at active sites. These support a suggestion that brines with an iron-mineral antifreeze, such as ferric sulfate, may flow seasonally, though there are still other possible explanations." says NASA. 

While the findings are exciting, Ojha stresses there is no "smoking gun for existence of water" and further research is needed. 

The image below "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." 

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL 


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