Water vapors rising from Mars suggest the planet may have been habitable, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
Scientists discovered that Mars is still leaking water in the form of hydrogen by measuring light passing through the atmosphere using the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Occultation for Mars Discovery Instrument (NOMAD), which is operated by the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos.
Dr. Manish Patel, co-principal investigator of NOMAD and a lecturer at the Open University, along with his colleagues, conducted the study.
"We can’t detect evidence of past alien life by looking at the escape of water from the atmosphere unfortunately,” Patel told Express.co.uk.
"But what it does tell us is how much and how fast the water has escaped from Mars, which is a crucial factor in habitability – i.e. whether the environment was suitable for life or not.
"Without water, life as we know it cannot exist, so understanding how water is lost from Mars tells us how long Mars might have been habitable for."
Almost all water on Mars today exists as ice, though researchers last year detected a group of lakes hidden under the red planet’s icy surface.
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