Red Planet’s slopes ooze brine, data from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed
JPL-Caltech/NASA, Univ. of Arizona
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