Water near Mars surface may be painting dark streaks on it every spring

February 15th, 2009 - 4:31 pm ICT by ANI  

London, February 15 (ANI): Scientists believe that the dark streaks that appear on Mars polar dunes every spring may be caused by liquid water near the surface, a fillip for the hunt for life.
The dark streaks of sand a few metres wide slide downslope at about a metre a day.
“They show a branching pattern, so it seems like some liquid material is flowing,” New Scientist magazine quoted Akos Kereszturi, of the Collegium Budapest in Hungary, as saying.
Kereszturi is of the opinion that they appear when molecules in surface water ice are attracted to molecules in the minerals below.
Using computer models, his team has come to the conclusion that this melts an ultrathin layer, which lubricates grains within the dune so they flow downwards.
“That liquid water could exist near Mars’’s surface at this moment is really interesting, especially for its impact on the search for life,” says Matt Balme of the UK’’s Open University in Milton Keynes. (ANI)

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