Twin planets Earth, Mars, ceaselessly give "surprise" to the experts. The team of researchers from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), a NASA aircraft was launched in 1996 and orbiting Mars since 2 September 1997, found that newly formed water footprint of less than eight years ago. This water trail provides clues possibility still exists beneath the surface of life in the Martian soil.
The search for evidence of life beyond Earth, the surface of Mars and the solar system and even more intelligent beings in outer solar system, until now has not been reaping the rewards. However, the absence of evidence that did not dampen the spirit of the experts to keep looking. Proof that life, if later discovered, it will be shocking the world: the Earth is not the only celestial bodies uninhabitable. Conversely, if later it turns out the evidence not being found, it was significantly important: the planet Earth is very special in our galaxy (the Milky Way)
To hunt for life in the solar system, launched a robotic orbiter and lander Mars. The goal, studying Martian atmospheric conditions, surface geology and the history of the chemical composition of Martian soil and rocks. The most advanced aircraft orbiting Mars last year and began sending photographs are spectacular Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). So sharp photographs of the MRO, he was able to recognize the lander and the rover Opportunity and traces the path Spirit who roam the surface of Mars.
However, the "shock" associated with the new traces of water on Mars is not coming from the MRO, but rather from the plane of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), which has been orbiting Mars nine years. The key to the discovery of traces of water on Mars is the mapping of the entire surface of Mars in detail to the accuracy of 1.5 meters and repetitive. "Observation is the strongest evidence at this time that water still flows occasionally on the surface of Mars time in recent years," said Michael Meyer, senior scientist on the Mars Exploration Program, NASA.
Traces of life
Water is the source of life. Without the water most likely will never have the life on Earth. Collisions of comets with the Earth in the past is an important part of the evolution of the Earth and is believed to have transformed a barren planet Earth abundant water. We know the ocean surface is wider than the mainland. Other planets in the solar system, including Mars, allegedly also had an attack of comets and asteroids long ago. Recent example is the impact of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter was very spectacular. The presence of craters on Mars, Mercury, and the Moon, as evidence for such collisions.
From all the celestial bodies in the solar system, Mars is most like Earth although conditions are still too extreme for living things (including humans) to live there. The discovery of the canals or giant valleys on the surface of Mars gives clues where water is abundant in the past. Curiously, why is now a puddle of water or running water is not found on the surface of Mars as on Earth? Assuming that comets bombarding once Mars, where the loss of water from the surface of Mars? Is the water that seeped into the soil and rocks of Mars?
Simple search for life on Mars Viking landing preceded by 1 and 2 in 1976. Despite analyzing Martian soil, turns the plane that landed in two different places did not find any signs of life simple. Also, there was no trace of water around the landing site. However, the plane Viking has provided important data about surface conditions and weather and climate on the landing is the reference for subsequent missions.
The new findings
Discovery channel pattern (gully) to traces of the flow on the slopes of hills or crater at the middle and high latitudes of Mars have been announced MGS team since June 2000. Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) carrying three cameras, the camera with a resolution of 1.5 meters per pixel, 240 meters per pixel, and 7.5 kilometers per pixel. MGS managed to collect more than 240,000 photos of Mars. Unfortunately, MGS does not send a signal to Earth since 2 November 2006.
Color flow pattern is darker than the surrounding area. It's more like the former stream of dust or fine sand (not water) flowing on the slopes because of the wind. There are tens of thousands of similar flow patterns discovered by the orbiter Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), ESA's Mars Express and the latest aircraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Through data analysis, the research team found evidence of MGS flow traces a relatively new form in two separate places, which is on the slopes of an unnamed crater in the Terra Sirenum and Centauri Montes. Unlike the gully generally darker than the surrounding, trace water flow looks much brighter.
Centauri Montes region located at 38.7 degrees south latitude (LS) and 263.3 degrees longitude. Gully or line patterns are on the slopes of the crater on the side facing toward the equator of Mars. Patterns of water flow in the Centauri Montes was first identified by a team of MGS from photographs taken on 10 September 2005. Check the photo of the same area and taken on February 21, 2004 shows the persistence of the pattern of flow. Data search found the photo of the same location photographed on August 20, 1999. Apparently, the pattern of water flow when it's not there. This means that the pattern of water flow in the Centauri Montes formed after August 20, 1999 and before February 21, 2004.
The discovery of other water flow pattern that is on the slopes of the crater in the Terra Sirenum (36.6 degrees South latitude and 161.8 West longitude). MGS camera taking photos this area on 26 August and 25 September 2005. Having traced backward, turns photos taken on December 22, 2001 did not reveal a pattern of flow.
Patterns of water flow on the slopes of the crater in the Centauri Montes Terra Sirenum and it shows that under the surface of Mars is currently stored liquid water (not ice) or water that has permeated the rocks with excess or saturation conditions. Because beneath the Martian surface temperature is warmer than the surface of the water does not freeze. For some reason, such as the movement of the soil or rock, the water was pushed out to places sloping (slopes of hills or craters) and raises the water flow.
These findings are extremely important and need to be confirmed. Mars Express radar on the aircraft, the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface Sounding and ionosphere can detect the water content in the soil that is not too deep. In addition, more sophisticated instruments MRO, Mars Shallow Subsurface Radar, is also expected to detect the presence of water beneath the surface of Mars.
The discovery of water flow provides new hope in the possibility of finding a simple life under the surface of Mars. The findings will certainly be a consideration in planning missions landing on Mars, both types of instruments that will be taken and the determination of the landing site.