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Nasa Mars Orbiters See Evidence Of Liquid Rivers On Red Planet

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A remarkable set of images taken by Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests there may still be flowing water somewhere on the planet.

The images combined data collected by mineral mapping camera, to highlight strange, 'finger-like' markings.

These features appear to advance down Martian slopes when the temperature rises, Nasa said. And based on changes in surrounding slopes, there is a suggestion that they might be caused by flowing water.

Unfortunately it's not water you'd want to drink - at least, unfiltered. Nasa said it seems likely the water contains a form of natural ferric sulfate, aka antifreeze.

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Above: This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area.

Nasa added it still doesn't have a "smoking gun for the existence water", though it can't think of another way the features would emerge.

'We're not sure how this process would take place without water," said Lujendra Ojha, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology and lead author of a pair of reports about the find.

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Above: Dark, seasonal flows emanate from bedrock exposures at Palikir Crater on Mars

Nasa explains:

"The leading hypothesis for these features is the flow of near-surface water, kept liquid by salts depressing the freezing point of pure water."

While Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Scientist Richard Zurek added that the more evidence of water the better in the search for life on - or inside - Mars:

"The flow of water, even briny water, anywhere on Mars today would be a major discovery, impacting our understanding of present climate change on Mars and possibly indicating potential habitats for life near the surface on modern Mars."

Take a look at more amazing pictures from Mars below. Meanwhile if you want to explore the surface of Mars yourself, you can always turn to Google.

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