The results of Earth-bound lab experiments appear to back up the theory that dark lines on Martian slopes are created by water — though in an otherworldly manner, scientists said Monday.
A team from France, Britain and the United States constructed models and simulated Mars conditions to follow up on a 2015 study which proffered “the strongest evidence yet” for liquid water — a prerequisite for life — on the Red Planet.
That finding had left many scientists scratching their heads as the low pressure of Mars’ atmosphere means that water does not survive long in liquid form. It either boils or freezes.
Identifying water on the Red Planet is complicated by our limited understanding of natural processes under conditions so different to those on Earth.
In September last year, a team reported in the journal Nature Geoscience that curious lines running down slopes on the Martian surface in “summer” may be streaks of super-salty brine.
They said they had found evidence in the lines of “hydrated” salt minerals, which require water for their creation.
The lines, up to a few hundred metres in length and typically under five metres (16 feet) wide, appear on slopes during warm seasons, lengthen, then fade as they cool.
“Under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found on Mars,” NASA concluded at the time.
For the latest study, also published in Nature Geoscience, researchers took to the lab to try and explain how water could have made the lines.
– ‘Remarkably similar –
The team, led by Marion Masse of the University of Nantes in France, included several of the authors of last year’s headline-making study.
They placed a block of ice on a 30-degree plastic slope covered with loose fine-grained sand, and allowed it to melt in a chamber in which Martian pressure and summer temperature was recreated.
They repeated the experiment under Earth conditions to compare the processes.
Under Martian pressure, they found, melting ice produced a liquid which boiled vigorously as it flowed downslope and filtered into the sand.
The evaporating water vapour blasted grains upward, creating ridges which collapse onto themselves when they become too steep, forming channels.
“The morphologies produced on the sandy slopes in these experiments are remarkably similar to the streaks observed on Mars,” Wouter Marra of the geosciences faculty of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands commented on the study.
“This process in which unstable boiling water causes grains to hop and trigger slope failures may underlie some of the active landforms observed on the Martian surface.”
A video of the experiment can be seen below:
The tangled web of Rudy Giuliani’s associations with questionable characters in the Ukraine scandal
Washington Post political analyst Philip Bump has created a link analysis of the tangled web President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani finds himself caught in.
According to the report, Giuliani isn't only linked to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the two associates indicted and arrested after lunch with them a few weeks ago. Giuliani is linked to a chorus of people now outed for being involved in the Ukraine scandal.
WATCH: CNN displays the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause as Trump rambles about it being ‘phony’
Two days after intense pressure forced President Donald Trump to back down from his plan to host the 2020 G7 summit at his resort in Doral, Florida, the president dismissed the Constitution's anti-corruption clause—which his plan would have violated—as "phony."
"You people, with this phony Emoluments Clause," Trump told reporters at a White House press conference on Monday, responding to allegations that hosting the meeting of foreign leaders at his own property would be a conflict of interest.
Pompeo says Trump is ‘fully prepared’ to take military action against Turkey — who is a NATO ally
Speaking to CNBC’s Wilfred Frost this Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Trump is ready to take military action against Turkey for its incursion into northeast Syria in the event that such action is "needed."
“We prefer peace to war,” Pompeo said on Closing Bell. “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.”
Pompeo declined to give specifics, saying that he doesn't want to "get out in front of the president’s decision about whether to take the awesome undertaking of using America’s military might," adding that economic and diplomatic "powers" could also be used.