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NASA Confirms Water And Possibility Of Life On Mars

While the general public has long thought of the Red Planet as dusty and dry, and even virtually without water, it turns out that is not the case. At a NASA press conference on Monday, the space agency announced that not only were there flowing rivers and even oceans on Mars many millennia ago, even today water can be found in some areas in appreciable quantities trapped in the Martian soil.

Life On Mars

Astronomers and exo-planet researchers note this means there is still a chance, albeit a small one, there is some form of life on Mars.

“This is tremendously exciting,” James L. Green, the director of NASA’s planetary science division, said at a press conference Monday afternoon. “We haven’t been able to answer the question, ‘Does life exist beyond Earth?’ But following the water is a critical element of that. We now have, I think, great opportunities in the right locations on Mars to thoroughly investigate that.”

The excited tone of the NASA presser marks a clear a shift for NASA, where officials have in the past played down any idea that the dusty landscape of Mars could support life.

Liquid water on Mars today

In a planetary science research published this week in Nature Geoscience, geologists definitely identified molecules that can only occur with liquid water. The team identified chemical salts known as perchlorates on the surface of the Red Planet by analyzing images taken from orbit.

“That’s a direct detection of water in the form of hydration of...