Shifting dark streaks on the surface of Mars are signs that water is flowing there today, scientists said Thursday. * * *Interesting if true, though not quite up to vindicating Percival Lowell.
High-resolution photographs taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which arrived at Mars in 2006, show fingerlike streaks up to five yards wide that appear on some steep slopes in the planet’s late spring. These streaks grow and shift through summer, reaching hundreds of yards in length before they fade in winter. One crater had about 1,000 streaks. * * *
Dr. McEwen and his colleagues report their findings in an article published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. The scientists said the best explanation they could offer for the streaks was that they were caused by a flow of extremely salty water down the slopes. The salts, which have been detected all around Mars, would allow the water to remain liquid at much colder temperatures than pure water.
However, the scientists said, they have yet to fill all the holes in their story. They cannot, for example, explain how the water darkened the soil. They are also at a loss to explain why the streaks vanish each winter.
But, Dr. McEwen said, “We haven’t been able to come up with an alternative that we believe.”
Friday, August 05, 2011
Thus blogged Anderson ... on or about Friday, August 05, 2011