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Year in review: Best evidence yet for water on Mars

Red Planet’s slopes ooze brine, data from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed

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6:53am, December 15, 2015
mars salt flow

SALT STORY  Seasonal water flows might have created dark streaks on Mars’ slopes, as seen in this computer-generated view of Hale Crater.

There’s water on Mars. Yes, again.

In the most highly publicized Mars discovery of the year, NASA announced that its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft had spotted hydrated salt minerals on the Red Planet (SN: 10/31/15, p. 17). The salty streaks appear in the same places as dark, hillside marks that lengthen and shrink with the Martian seasons. Brine probably oozes from the steep slopes, scientists concluded.

Water on Mars has been reported many times in the past, with each discovery adding fresh nuance to scientists’ picture of the planet. The brine finding is the most detailed evidence yet that water flows on the planet’s surface today. And liquid water — no matter the

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