NASA has called a press conference for Monday (U.S. time) to unveil a major science finding titled ‘Mars Mystery Solved’.
While many are hoping NASA will announce they've found alien life, there’s growing speculation the announcement will be the discovery of flowing water on Mars.
One of the conference speakers will be Lujendra Ojha, a graduate student who unintentionally found the first evidence that moving water on the red planet’s surface back in 2011.
While studying images taken on Mars’ surface, Ojha found dark finger-like markings in gullies (ravines formed by water).
Since his discovery, Ojha has committed his life to proving that the markings he discovered were created by flowing water.
These strange markings could potentially prove that there is flowing water, or even an entire ocean, on Mars.
Scientists have long known there’s frozen water on Mars, but this would be the first time it has been found in liquid form.
If we have found definitive proof of water on Mars, the implications are massive. Liquid water is a major indication that life may once have existed – or could exist – on the red planet.
Doug McCuistion, former head of NASA’s Mars program, has told the Boston Herald that such an announcement would be “game-changing.”
“If they’re announcing that they’ve found easily accessible, freely flowing liquid water under the surface — which is one of the theories we’ve been hearing for years and years — that has massive implications both for the potential for life on that planet and sustainability of humans.”
Back in December, NASA scientists found ‘burps’ of methane that could indicate ancient life.
Methane on Earth is mostly produced as a waste gas by living organisms and experts suggest the gas encountered on Mars could be from bacteria.
If that were confirmed it would be the first evidence in our history of life outside Earth.
All these recent developments are fuelling further discussion on if – and when – humans will be able to live on Mars.
Explore more of the red planet here.
Watch the conference LIVE below from 1.30am AEST Tuesday 29th September.