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Scientists believe that the evidence of the amino acid glycine found around 67P/Chryumov-Gerasimenko may suggest comets emit life-giving agents, backing up previous studies that had made this assertion. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft was able to detect several protein ingredients around 67P, including glycine, marking the first time that the amino acid was found […]

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The importance of New Horizons’ Kuiper Belt explorations cannot be understated. Pluto is, after all, technically located in the area, where a number of KBOs (Kuiper Belt Objects) are located. And since we know precious little about the region, any explorations New Horizons make going forward are potentially groundbreaking. And, according to the mission’s principal […]

Although SpaceX was able to successfully stick the landing earlier this month, when its Falcon 9 rocket was able to make it back and land on a drone ship, the company’s CEO Elon Musk suggests that the rocket had sustained a great deal of damage in the tricky, delicate process. As such, the rocket won’t […]

Scientists have finally come up with a way to create synthetic spider silk without having to deal with any trade-offs. And while it is definitely not the real thing, the new form of silk does accurately mimic the material’s properties, after numerous efforts in the past to successfully recreate the silk and ensure it remains […]

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Boiling water caused strange dark streaks on Martian slopes

A new study suggests that boiling Martian water may be behind some of Mars’ more distinctive geological features, namely the strange-looking dark streaks found on the planet’s slopes.

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This may lend credence to theories that Mars may still have some form of liquid water on its surface, but the downside is that it may also suggest that the liquid water remaining on the planet may be considerably less than originally hoped. Separate studies had theorized the presence of water in the past, saying that the substance may have once been prominent on Mars’ surface, and that the dark streaks on the planets’ slopes may be a clue that water runs down these features in the springtime.

Earlier research had hinted that those dark streaks, or recurring slope lineae (RSL), may have been the result of dust avalanches, or carbon dioxide emissions. But new experiments simulating conditions on Mars suggest that the peculiarities may have been caused by the brief presence of boiling water on its surface.

As Mars’ atmosphere has such low air pressure, water is able to boil when it turns into liquid, albeit for a brief timeframe. This is different from situations on Earth, where water can boil at varying temperatures, based on the water’s altitude. On Mars, atmospheric pressure is low all throughout the planet, thus preventing water from remaining stable for a sustained period of time. That means the water boils and evaporates into the atmosphere soon after becoming liquid. Large amounts of sand grains are then produced, but eventually collapse, leading to the strange dark streaks scientists have observed on Martian slopes.

“Instead of requiring the stability of substantial water or brines, it is the instability of water on Mars that may explain the morphological activity needed to form the observed features,” said Wouter Marra, noting his observations in an editorial accompanying the study.

Related

Scientists believe that the evidence of the amino acid glycine found around 67P/Chryumov-Gerasimenko may suggest comets emit life-giving agents, backing up previous studies that had made this assertion. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft was able to detect several protein ingredients around 67P, including glycine, marking the first time that the amino acid was found […]

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