/

Is there life on Mars? Or flowing water? What mystery has NASA solved?

The internet is buzzing with speculation about what important science announcement NASA will make later today, that it says will solve once and for all mystery surrounding Mars.

NASA said over the weekend that it will detail a major science finding from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 11:30 a.m. EDT today.

The agency refuses to give anything further away. While the web has, of course, focused on the possibility of life in its most lurid green-man form, a more likely hint comes from the scientists who will front the media conference.

They are Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters, Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology and Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at the University of Arizona in Tucson

Three of those scientists are authors of a new paper to be delivered at this week’s European Planetary Science Congress, they claim that that seasonal dark streaks on the Martian surface are the result of briny water flowing across the surface.

They base their findings on data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

While not as catchy for internet conspiracy websites, it would be hugely significant if NASA can confirm that there are water flows on Mars. But with the scientists and the agency keeping strict radio silences, we will have to wait and see.

Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

Read science facts, not fiction...

There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.