NASA scientists have made one giant leap towards discovering if there is life on Mars.
They've found the red planet has a summer season, during which streams of life-giving liquid water flow across its ancient surface.
It's a breakthrough in the eternal question of whether we are alone in the universe and a boost for space agencies planning to land there.
“Mars is not the dry arid planet that we thought of in the past,” said Jim Green, the director of planetary science at NASA.
Scientists still don't know where the water comes from or how much water is there.
Prior to the release of the study, published in Nature GeoSciences, frozen water -- ice -- was thought to exist on Mars. But the new data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite proving liquid water survives suggests the Martian planet may be more hospitable to life than previously thought.
“Water on the planet may be an important future resource for human explorers on Mars," said Mary Beth Wilhelm, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Centre.
NASA and the European space station are currently searching for water sources on asteroids near Mars to help support exploration, and combat the prohibitive cost of sending water supplies into space.
“That question [of whether there is alien life is not an abstract scientific question. It is a concrete question that we can answer," said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.Suggest a correction