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NASA Images Might Show Flowing Water On Mars

Scientists say they believe they see seasonal salt water flowing down the side of a Martian slope.
Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 11, 2014

When scientists talk about the possibility of water flowing on Mars, it's typically in ancient terms, like maybe billions of years ago. But a group of researchers now says there could be water flowing on the red planet right now. (Via NASA)

Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology are pointing to photos taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. They believe they see seasonal salt water flows on the side of a Martian slope. 

Now granted, at first glance they might look like abstract art, but the scientists say the darker portions of the images might be water — which disappears and reappears with changing temperatures. (Via Space.com)

CNN quotes one of the researchers saying: "We see them forming, elongating and then fading over time. That's why they're called seasonal -- they form and flow when the temperature is right."

As Space.com reports, the average temperature on Mars is a frigid negative 80 degrees Fahrenheit — with temperatures at times getting as cold as negative 195 degrees. So how is the water not frozen?

Well, io9 explains it might have a secret ingredient. "Researchers think that there may be a naturally-occurring anti-freeze in the water, caused by the high-iron content, which they were able observe by layering mineral maps over the area where the flows seemed to be happening."

The researchers say this is the best evidence to date of liquid water currently flowing on Mars, but more research is needed. Their findings were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.