CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – Water would flow to the surface of Mars during the Martian summer, according to a study published Monday. If its source and chemical composition remain unknown, this discovery could revolutionize the perception of this planet and give credence to the existence of life on Mars.
The scientists behind the discovery have used a new technique to perform chemical analyzes of the Martian surface using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
They say they have found traces of salts that form in the presence of water in channels running along cliffs located in the Ecuadorian region of the Red Planet.
These flows, the existence of which was spotted in 2011, appear in the warmer months and they disappear when the temperature decreases.
“I thought there was no hope,” he told Reuters Lujendra Ojha, a student at Georgia Institute of Technology and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Lujendra Ojha and his colleagues created a computer program capable of studying the pixels one by one. Their data was then confronted with high resolution pictures of the flows.
“We are not saying that we found evidence of liquid water. We found hydrated salts,” he said.
These elements, however, have been enough to Nasa said on Monday that one of the mysteries of Mars had been lifted.
“This suggests that it would be possible ‘there is life on Mars today, “said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA for Science, referring to the work published by Nature Geoscience.
” Mars is not this dry and arid planet as we once thought. When certain conditions were met, liquid water was found on March, “said Jim Green, director of science at NASA planetological.
The US agency has not provided the intention of hastening its programs to study the residues and salts of finding traces of life.
“If I was on a microbe Mars, I would not go probably not live on one of these sites. I would stay further north or south, far enough below the surface, where glaciers are more likely to provide fresh water. “
(Irene Klotz Nicolas Delame for ,; the French service, edited by Tangi Salaün)