NASA is about to announce a major discovery on the red planet and everyone is looking forward to it. It will possibly be the ‘greatest discovery to date’ on Mars or at least that is what headlines on NASA’s website suggest. One of the experts who will be present during the press conference has given an important clue about the discovery: NASA will probably announce that there is a vast underground ocean of water on Mars. Lujendra Ojha a graduate student at Georgia Tech, is believed to be responsible for the ‘accidental’ discovery of flowing water on the surface of Mars after investigating images of gullies on the Martian surface in 2011 when he was part of the University of Arizona.
Using a computer software to literally clean up images to discard optical illusions, Ojha observed dark elongated lines moving across the slope. These lines, best seen during Summer time on Mars when temperatures rise, have displayed a pattern which is consistent with moving water. Ever since this findings, other similar sites have been identified on the Surface of the red planet. This could mean that there is a vast underground ocean that rises to the surface during the warmer seasons of Mars.
If NASA confirms the finding today, it would certainly be one of the biggest ever discoveries in our solar system, opening up dozens of questions about the possible existence of life on Mars. Water in liquid form maybe one of the best indicators of life.
NASA’s press conference will start Monday at 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530 GMT). You can watch the Mars announcement live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV.
Participating in Monday morning’s event are:
- Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters
- Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters
- Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
- Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology
- Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft
“These new, high-resolution images are providing unprecedented views of layered materials, gullies, channels, and other science targets, in addition to characterizing possible future landing sites,” NASA officials wrote in a description of the HiRISE instrument.