Thursday, December 07, 2006

There she blows! Water on Mars

In what may prove one of the most important scientific announcements in history, NASA has reported strong evidence that free flowing water has been spotted on Mars. The pictures that seem to clinch one of the longest running debates in space science have come from the now defunct orbiting Mars Global Surveyor, which recently ceased communicating with Earth. An image snapped in December 2001 of the Terra Sirenum region when compared with another taken in April 2005 seems to show a clear fresh deposit of material that has the distinctive look of water action. Close examination of the pictures even shows that the water (if indeed it was) has flowed around obstacles. Similar evidence is also seen in images snapped of the Centauri Montes region. The volume of water is likely to be small, in the region says NASA's Michael Meyer of five to ten swimming pools and the water would literally boil as it erupted from the ground. "You've heard of the smoking gun" says Meyer, "well this is the spurting gun." Of course, the pregnant implication of this discovery is that where there is water, there is quite likely life. To view the amazing pictures, visit the Mars Global Surveyor website.