VodkaPundit

The Water Must Flow

(Image courtesy Warner Bros.)

(Image courtesy Warner Bros.)

NASA teased us all weekend, and at last here’s the big reveal:

Liquid water runs down canyons and crater walls over the summer months on Mars, according to researchers who say the discovery raises the odds of the planet being home to some form of life.

The trickles leave long, dark stains on the Martian terrain that can reach hundreds of metres downhill in the warmer months, before they dry up in the autumn as surface temperatures drop.

Images taken from the Mars orbit show cliffs, and the steep walls of valleys and craters, streaked with summertime flows that in the most active spots combine to form intricate fan-like patterns.

Scientists are unsure where the water comes from, but it may rise up from underground ice or salty aquifers, or condense out of the thin Martian atmosphere.

“There is liquid water today on the surface of Mars,” Michael Meyer, the lead scientist on Nasa’s Mars exploration programme, told the Guardian. “Because of this, we suspect that it is at least possible to have a habitable environment today.”

Habitable for whom is the great unanswered question — us, the Chinese, or the Martians?