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New hints of saltwater on Mars

Seasonal patterns consistent with briny seeps on Red Planet

1:53pm, August 4, 2011

Flows of saltwater may ooze from rocky outcrops on Mars. Seasonal dark streaks on some Martian slopes could come from briny water, American and Swiss researchers suggest in the Aug. 5 Science.

Still, the researchers haven’t actually detected any water, frozen or liquid. Nor can they explain how the water would be replenished in the dry, harsh Martian environment.

But given how the lines grow and fade each year with the seasons, the team’s brine conclusion is “entirely justified,” says Michael Hecht of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who was not involved with the research. If the idea pans out, the stripes will add to previous evid

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