Study: Water could be flowing on Mars now

Posted: February 28, 2014 in News
Arrows point to dark seasonal flows on Palikir Crater on Mars in this image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Ojha was the lucky one to spot irregular features in a Martian crater he was studying. He had no idea what they were. Researchers spent months figuring it out, and determined that the finger-like shapes could be briny water.

How an undergrad spotted possible water on Mars

“In HiRISE images, we see them forming, elongating and then fading over time,” Ojha said Monday. “That’s why they’re called seasonal — they form and flow when the temperature is right.”

Since that study, Ojha has enrolled in graduate school at Georgia Institute of Technology, and continued studying the phenomena. He and Georgia Tech assistant professor James Wray looked more deeply at 13 sites with confirmed recurring slope features.

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