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Water on Mars: Crucial component for life found

Scientists at Nasa say they think they've identified new evidence of flowing water on Mars, the crucial component for sustainable life - and potential human colonisation one day.

Their excitement comes after analysis of satellite images that show small trails of salty liquid water running down slopes on the Red Planet. ITV News Science Correspondent Alok Jha reports:

Nasa: Mars not the 'dry arid planet' we once thought

Nasa have tweeted a short video outlining the key points of the discovery of liquid, salty, water on the surface of Mars.

"Mars is not the dry, arid planet we thought of in the past," Nasa says.

'Dark, narrow streaks' show the flow of water on Mars

Dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks on Mars inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water are seen in an image produced by NASA. Credit: Reuters/Nasa

Photographs released by Nasa show the dark, narrow streaks that scientists say are formed by the flow of briny, liquid water across the surface of Mars.

These channels, which are between 1m and 10m wide, are on a scarp in the Hellas impact basin. Credit: Reuters/Nasa

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

ark narrow streaks called recurring slope lineae emanating out of the walls of Garni crater on Mars. Credit: Reuters/Nasa

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.

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