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Did Mars have water until very recently?

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Mars once had water. Scientists have long been analysing the data pertaining to the red planet. The current pictures show Mars marked by endless red desert plains.

Though, it was not always like that. A new research by NASA says, water existed and flowed on its surface longer than previously estimated.

The Red Planet, Mars, rippled with rivers and ponds just like Earth and it was billions of years ago.

These insights from Mars provide a potential habitat for microbial life. But that water evaporated as Mar’s atmosphere thinned over time.

Earlier, it was believed that the water evaporated about three billion years ago. But now, two scientists, after studying the data taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found evidence which has suddenly changed the timeline significantly.

The new NASA research reveals that there was liquid water on Mars as recently as 2–2.5 billion years ago.

Water flowed on Mars until very recently

What does it mean? That water flowed on Mars a billion years more than previous estimates. For reaching a reliable conclusion, the scientists relied on the chloride salt deposits left behind by the evaporating icy meltwater.

Sounds from Mars

They found that certain valley networks on Mars suggested water flowed there until very recently, but there was no conclusive evidence.

However, the presence of liquid water is confirmed by the salt deposits, which are the first mineral evidence.

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These findings were published in the open-access AGU Advances journal. Humans may now be more interested in knowing about how long microbial life could have survived on Mars.

The study’s lead authors were Ellen Leask and Caltech professor Bethany Ehlmann. They used data from an MRO instrument called Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars. Researchers mapped the chloride salts across Mars’ southern hemisphere.

NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter was launched in 2001. It detected salt crystals for the first time 14 years ago. MRO, on the other hand, has higher-resolution instruments than Odyssey. It has also been studying the salts on the red planet.

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Hina Fatima Khan
Hina Fatima Khan
Multi-media Journalist based in India with an experience of 7 years in the industry, Hina Fatima Khan works as a Senior Sub-Editor at The Vocal News. Her areas of interest are Politics, Business, History and World Affairs. She is also a Space enthusiast and enjoys scrabble in the Newspapers. She has done Masters in Convergent Journalism from Mass communication Research Centre (MCRC), Jamia Millia Islamia University.

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