back to article Martian water slides caught on camera (maybe)

A US spacecraft orbiting Mars has provided tantalizing evidence of liquid water in the form of a series of images that show dark lines appearing to flow down steep ravines. "The best explanation for these observations so far is the flow of briny water," said the University of Arizona's Alfred McEwen in a statement released by …


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  1. Frumious Bandersnatch

    perhaps it tracks

    the migratory pattern of Perfectly Normal Beasts?

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Mysterious indeed.

    At least there are no facehuggers.

  3. Jonski

    No facehuggers?

    Even so we should nuke it from orbit- it's the only way to be sure.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Eddy Ito

    Come now

    Isn't it a bit too obvious? We could fix this problem easily if we only had a way to send enough hemorrhoid creme. At least we now know that politicians do exist on Mars.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I'm no hydrotechnician but

      Doesn't that mean it's MORE likely to be water?

      Cold weather means water freezes, meaning it's not going downhill.

      AC because I'm expecting flames

  7. Martin Owens


    Send someone with a shovel.

    Oh wait... we can't be bothered.

  8. BrendHart

    Nothing short of life on Mars.

    Think of the red algae in permanent alpine snow. The stripes of colour are where minerals would be deposited. So the dark streaks are algae that live in those areas. They go dormant in the Winter and when the weather gets warm enough they activate and create the red pigment and live off the tiny amount of water in the soil and the minerals. They then go into stasis when the weather is too harsh.

    I'd like my Nobel now please.

  9. P.W. Dragoix

    Let's wait and see...

    what Vatican has to say about this. No, srsly, mission needed.

  10. andre 2

    Well maybe now people will listen

    to Charles Shults of Xenotech Research.

    He found evidence of fossils on Mars, which NASA actively tried to cover up by editing of photos.

    No idea why NASA would go to such extremes to cover up something like this, but perhaps there are reasons that us mere mortals are not aware of.

    The continued existence of bacteria on Mars is now more likely than ever, if it turns out that liquid water is indeed present.

    In fact, fossils would last much longer on Mars due to the thin atmosphere, although you would expect some erosion due to the constant dust devils which have also been seen.

    AC/DC although a lack of the latter scuppered Beagle 2

    1. Ru


      Who stands to benefit from evidence of life being hidden? No-one.

      Who is likely to get loads of extra funding in the event of extra terrestrial life being discovered? NASA.

      Who runs a totally watertight operation with absolute secrecy? No-one.

      Come one now. The world is full of crackpots, and sometimes they're not totally wrong. But this is a pretty tenuous conclusion you've reached there chief.

      1. Ian Yates
        Black Helicopters

        Whoa now!

        "Who runs a totally watertight operation with absolute secrecy? No-one"

        So you *think*! How do you know?

      2. maclovinz

        OMG Conspiracy

        Who stands to benefit from evidence of life being hidden? Erm, well....the Catholic Church....any OTHER church....

        Who is likely to get loads of extra funding in the event of extra terrestrial life being discovered? Well, if US Republicans are around.....

        Who runs a totally watertight operation with absolute secrecy? The Catholic Church managed it for quite some time, did they not? XD

        You call people 'chief'? SO DO I!!! :D

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Yeah, right.

          It's clearly Scientology.

          I mean, if Xenu was found hiding under the sands of Mars, you know ... well ... I really don't know what would happen. Except that it wouldn't be good.

          Like Chtulhu.

          Only more gay.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      NASA doesnt want to alarm people with existence of aliens

      After it's unsuccessful attempts to suppress the controversial Michael Bay documentary "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", NASA is trying to lock down the knowledge that Megatron's second cousin has been running a waterpark on Mars for the last 1000 years.

      The rise of the machines is only interrupted by their sliding down into the wave pool at the bottom of the park!!

  11. Anonymous John

    Boots on the ground.

    We'd learn more about Mars from one manned mission than we have from all the hardware landed so far.

  12. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    I've got wind,....

    blowing right to left. The wind is picking up a darker material and causing the marks. It's obvious as the marks are narrow on the right and wider on the left. Wind is blowing the material through crevices. Probably a seasonal wind, hence the seasonal variations.

    Bloody scientists are so wrapped up in their ivory towers they've never seen the world around them.

    You just need to account for the very thin atmosphere and low gravity and they look quite natural.

    1. Jared Hunt

      Right on! Bloody scientists! What do they know?

      Ok then, since it's so obvious, what's making the marks disappear in winter then hmm?

    2. Alan Firminger

      That's better

      Visualize the topology that would create the wild mix of streak angles and ask why we can see no trace of that. Variable wind flows are more believable.

      However winds have to blow steadily in one direction while one particular source of dark dust is fed into it. Then when the wind changes another source becomes available, and no other.

      And no two streaks cross.

    3. Ian Halstead
      Thumb Up


      Will this wind be so mighty as to lay low the mountains of Mars?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wind doesn't seem likely

      I'm not sure.

      These images are from a crater wall in the southern hemisphere pointing north in the summer, so it gets the full heat (hah) of the Martian summer. You'd expect that to produce a convection of air up over the rim of the crater - opposite to the pattern we're seeing here.

      Also, when you put the graphic over a 3D terrain, you don't see any of the tell tale swirls that you normally associate with windblown debris, these lines are going straight downhill:

      (long URL approaching)

      There's still a chance this could be liquid CO2 seeping out of the permafrost, it would be able to transport material downhill, but it wouldn't leave any tell-tale traces for the orbiter to pick up. But then, liquid CO2 is not normally found in these conditions.

      I wonder if ESA can point their Mars Orbiter towards Newton crater any time soon.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mars with water

    Mars with water. Gotta be healthier than Snickers with Sprite.

    Why is it always assumed to be water? Why can't it be something interesting, like methanol? Or beer?

    Or, to get the US space programme back on track, Oil? (From the millions of years of decomposed facehuggers and the poor buggers whos faces were hugged)

    1. hamcheeseandonion

      Re: Mars with water....

      you sir, are a genius...OIL FOUND ON MARS....not true I know, but when has that ever mattered to our dear friends in the military/industrial juggernaut?

      There's the funding sorted for a manned mission to Mars, with a bonus!...the man will be armed to the teeth, and he'll bring along a few thousand of his mates - who shop at the same armoury...sorry armory....

      But what's gets my vote for this, rather than having me throw up, is what they'll "finally" have to build.....and those of you who know me can cover yer eyes now and go "lalalalalalalalaaa" at this point......ORION.

      10,000 ton plus spaceship built of girders, filled with an armoured....sorry armored....division, and enough Irn Bru to last a decade....and lots and lots and lots of nukes.....(may have had a slight accident in me budgie smugglers there).....did I mention the nukes?...(buggrit, not again?)


      icon???....only one that fits

  14. Resident Flint

    If there is life on mars...

    ... surely they it will be found having fun on the waterslides. Send the satallite around again next martian summer.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      if there is life on mars

      if there's like on Mars It's a god-awful small affair but only to the girl with the mousy hair.

      Pink Floyd got to the dark side on the moon, but Bowie went all the way to Mars

  15. Resident Flint

    If there is life on mars...

    ... surely it will be found having fun on the waterslides. Send the satallite around again next martian summer.

  16. chr0m4t1c

    In other news

    Maria Carey adds Martian Water to her list of back stage demands.

  17. John 62

    outcasts on blue mars

    it's all just an illusion generated in ultra-high frequency sound waves. They don't want us on their planet. They want to destroy us.

    Deirdre Skye: Eternity lies ahead of us, and behind.

  18. nigel 15

    made up thumbnail?

    Am i right in thinking that the picture of a mud slide you are using as a thumb for this piece in the banner is not one of the nasa images at all but just a stock image of a mud slide?

    because if that is the case i'm not certain it is acceptable journalism. it's like a daily sport nip slip.

  19. Tom 7

    Have these idiots never played golf?

    Half an hour in a bunker and they'd know that this ain’t water.

  20. Graham Bartlett

    Anonymous John

    You probably would learn more from a manned mission.

    The slight problem is getting the spam-in-a-can to survive for 8.5 months in hard radiation with no possibility of resupply, and getting them down to the surface in one piece. And if it's not a one-way suicide mission, then getting them back again is not easy either. Mars gravity is double the moon's gravity, so you'd need four times the oomph that the Eagle lander had. Add another 8.5 months of hard radiation and need for supplies. And if it's not a suicide mission, you'll need the hard radiation and a year-and-a-half of zero gravity not to have totally screwed your health up for the remainder of your life back home.

    Bottom line is that surviving any distance from Earth is *HARD*. Which equals expensive, bcos there's major engineering required, and enormous loads to lift out of our gravity well when that engineering is done. Just getting people to the moon took a significant percentage of the US economy for a decade and a half, and that was only for a three-day flight each time.

    Slinging an expensive remote-controlled buggy across will of course not get quite as much done, but it's a lot cheaper and a lot lower risk.

    1. Wommit


      "Slinging an expensive remote-controlled buggy across will of course not get quite as much done, but it's a lot cheaper and a lot lower risk."

      But if you posted an ad in, say flight magazine, "Wanted qualified test pilots for one way Mars mission. 8.5 months in hard radiation 24 months of supplies and no possibility of resupply. Four positions available. Send CV to NASA.

      Then I think that you'd need to employ three or four extra admin / HR staff to sort through the CVs and, maybe a platoon of SEALs to stop them trying to break in and plead their case in person.

      Exploration is incredibly dangerous. But, if humanity wishes to survive, then it needs to get its collective arse in gear and get off this rock.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Weight & Money

        I agree that there would be a long line of people volunteering to go for a suicide mission. However, the main point, is that the weight of, say, a years worth of supplies plus all the living quarters for a human, etc. would be very expensive.

        A robot mission is so much lighter, hence cheaper.

        Until we find better ways of escaping Earth's gravity well (and possibly quicker/lighter/better space propulsion), I think manned missions beyond our planet are not the best use of our resources.

        (Heck, there are arguments that the ISS isn't a great use of our limited space resources)

    2. ~mico

      Manned mission

      There's been a lot of talk on how hideously dangerous and practically hopeless with almost no chance to survive or return to Earth such a manned Mars mission would be, with yesterday's, today's and near future's technology.

      It's funny then, that there seems to be a very long line of volunteers for such a mission. And I don't mean crackpots and sci-fi junkies - those are Ph.D's and even astronauts that would readily go there, never to return. And it's not just vanity and glory-seeking... This is just what's needed to re-ignite humanity's interest in the secrets of the universe. Without this interest, without such drastic steps, only dry bones and dead ruins will remain of our species when someone else, from a culture less inclined on safe bets and responsible spending of resources on science, will discover our planet.

      I'll take my spacesuit now please.

    3. Anonymous John

      Re Anonymous John

      I'm not saying it would be easy. Just worth doing. There's a limit to what we can learn without having geological samples for scientists to examine.

      There are solutions for the problems you mention. Send supplies, lander, etc by chemically powered spacecraft in advance. Followed by a team of astronauts in a Vasimr craft that could do the trip in 39 days. Nothing that couldn't be done is 20 years or less if we put our minds to it.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    aManFromMars cistern... overflowing.

  22. ChadJK

    More photographs of a maybe...

    These Mars press releases from NASA are starting to wear on me. They're all pretty much the same thing: Photographic evidence of the POSSIBILITY of something.

    When you definitive proof, then alert the press. Otherwise, spare us the press conference.

  23. Stuart Halliday

    What other chemicals could cause this?

    More likely CO2 of course....

  24. codemonkey


    I'll watch thanks...send me a post card...

  25. kmitchell3

    No erosion of topography - no running water!!!

    There is no evidence of erosion, soil or rock displacement from one image to the next.

    Surely if there was running water than there would be evidence with a changing landscape - but the images of the topography, apart from the shadows, darkening and lightening etc, are identical !!!!

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