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Nasa: Liquid water exists on Mars in 'certain circumstances'

Nasa has discovered that liquid water "almost certainly" exists on the surface of Mars.

It's not known where the extremely salty water comes from, with theories including the melting of 'near-surface ice', seasonal discharges from layers of water-bearing rock or absorption from the Martian atmosphere.

"It is conceivable that RSL are forming in different parts of Mars through different formation mechanisms," said the scientists.

Live: Has Nasa discovered water on Mars?

Nasa have announced that liquid water "almost certainly" exists on Mars.

In a press conference, the space exploration agency said it has discovered that seasonal changes to the Martian landscape are caused by flowing water on the surface of the planet.

"Under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars" - Nasa Planetary Science Director Jim Green, said in the briefing.

Liquid water on the surface of Mars could support life and "may affect future human exploration," according to Nasa.

The live announcement has now ended.


Seasonal Mars landscape changes shaped by 'water activity'

The images show Martian terrain changing with the seasons. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Mysterious features on Mars that change with the seasons are almost certainly created by flowing liquid water, scientists at Nasa believe.

Latest satellite images have identified narrow streaks, typically less than five metres (16.4 ft) wide, that appear on slopes during warm seasons, lengthen, and then fade when conditions become cooler.

Experts have speculated that water might be involved in the formation of the gully-like features, known as recurring slope lineae, but only now has evidence supporting the theory come to light.

Liquid water could suggest that the surface of Mars is able to support life.

Nasa wrote: "Water is essential to life as we know it. The presence of liquid water on Mars today has astrobiological, geologic and hydrologic implications and may affect future human exploration."


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