Posted at 10:47 AM ET, 08/05/2011

NASA probe shows new evidence of water on Mars [PHOTOS]


Water flows that appear in spring and summer on a slope inside Mars’s Newton crater are shown in this combination of 3-D modeling and orbital imagery. (NASA - Reuters)
New images of the craters of Mars may be the best evidence yet of flowing, liquid water, an essential ingredient for life on the planet.

The findings, published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, came from extremely high-resolution images taken by a powerful camera called HiRISE aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the planet since 2006.

A sequence of images from MRO shows long, brown streaks in the Martian spring and summer. In the colder seasons, these streaks disappeared, suggesting that they could be the flow of briny water.

“We haven't found any good way to explain what we’re seeing without water,” lead author Alfred McEwan of the University of Arizona said during a press briefing Thursday.

While the photos don’t prove the existence of water, they fit with evidence from other probes, such as the deep Martian canyons that only water could have carved.

Scientists say the water would be briny and salty, and have a freezing point much lower than water on Earth.

Mars is located at least 35 million miles farther from the sun than Earth.

See more photos from the probe below:


This Jan. 14, 2011, image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show portions of the Martian surface in unprecedented detail. This one shows many channels from three feet to 33 feet wide on a scarp in the Hellas impact basin. (AFP/Getty Images)

This image is an oblique view of Newton crater recurring slope lineae (RSL). This image has been reprojected to show a view of the RSL-covered slope as would be seen from a helicopter inside the crater, with a synthetic Mars-like sky. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

An image, acquired by the Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera in May 2010 shows the north pole of Mars during the red planet’s summer solstice. (Reuters)

An oblique view of Newton crater recurring slope lineae (RSL). This image has been reprojected to show a view of the RSL-covered slope as would be seen from a helicopter inside the crater, with a synthetic Mars-like sky. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

By  |  10:47 AM ET, 08/05/2011

 
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