21:12 GMT25 September 2020
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    Red Planet’s Mystery

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    While NASA plans to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020 for extended missions in search of more water, scientists say it might be a good idea to drop by to Mars as well. In 2011, the first real proof was released that there is water on the Red planet.

    Since the man first landed on the Moon it was believed that the lunar surface is dry. However, on October 2009, NASA's Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, found traces of water in the cold, permanently-shadowed crater at the south pole of the Moon.

    The liquid discovered on the surface of the Earth's natural satellite is suitable for drinking. The water origin is the result of the endless bombardment of comets. Over the recent years, data from three different spacecraft proved that liquid covers the Moon's soil in several areas. According to the researchers, one ton of the top layer of the lunar surface holds about 32 ounces of water.

    While NASA plans to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020 for extended missions in search of more water, scientists say it might be a good idea to drop by Mars as well. In 2011, the Georgia Institute Technology released the first real proof that there is flowing water on the Red planet. The HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken photos that show liquid running down the planet's landscape and forming long, dark flow patterns.

    The liquid that penetrates to the surface of Mars is believed to be salty. The flows, which are only about 0.5 to 5 meters wide with lengths up to hundreds of meters, appear and disappear seasonally. During the summer months they melt and spread around the planet. Over the course of cold seasons, the elongated finger-shaped water slopes fade away.

    The discovery of the liquid flows not only confirmed astronomers' guesses that there is water on Mars, but also evoked hope that some forms of microbial life could be found on the planet too. And who knows, maybe in the near future popular science fiction scenarios of the humankind relocating on the moon or Mars won't sound that unimaginable.

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