Salty water flows on Mars

Mars MRO Planets
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This image of dark lines on slopes on the surface of planet Mars have been interpreted as representing the seasonal flow of salty water.

NASA announced the news in a special conference at 1am Broken Hill time today. 

This image itself has been an accomplishment.

The streaks are at a place called Hale Crater, and are said to be the size of a football field. The image and data came from a high resolution camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image was processed with “false-colour” to highlight features. The slopes have been exaggerated by a factor of 1.5 compared to the horizon.

Detailed information about NASA’s announcement can be found at

One of the key missions of the Orbiter is to study the history of water on Mars. It’s been on the planet since 2006, after being launched from Cape Canaveral in 2005. It uses a number of cameras to take images and send back to scientists on Earth using its navigation and communications instruments. There are three Deep Space Network sites with large antenna stations on Earth – near Canberra in Australia, Madrid in Spain and in the Californian desert.

The Orbiter also has on board a spectrometer which is used to identify minerals that form in the presence of water.

Image credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona