Scientists said on Wednesday they had noticed the presence of water vapour in the atmosphere of Mars, thereby making a strong case as to whether the Red Planet once hosted life.
The traces of river channels and ancient valleys hint that liquid water was once present on Mars.
However, now the water is mostly either buried underground or exist in the planet’s ice caps.
Some of the water is vapourising in the form of hydrogen leaking from the atmosphere, a new study co-authored by two scientists at Britain’s Open University said.
The scientists used an instrument called the Nadir and Occultation for Mars Discovery to found the vapour by analysing light travelling through the Red Planet’s atmosphere.
“This fantastic instrument is giving us a never-before-seen view of water isotopes in the atmosphere of Mars as a function of both time and location,” Manish Patel, senior lecturer in planetary sciences at the Open University, was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
“Measuring water isotopes is a crucial element of understanding how Mars as a planet has lost its water over time, and therefore how the habitability of the planet has changed throughout its history.”