New study: Streaks on Mars sign of flowing sand, not water

This image provided by NASA shows the inner slope of a Martian crater which has several of the seasonal dark streaks called "recurrent slope lineae," or RSL, that a November 2017 report interprets as granular flows, rather than darkening due to flowing water. Arizona scientists said Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 that these lines appear more like dry, steep flows of sand, rather than water trickling downhill, at or near the surface. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (AP) — A new study suggests that dark streaks on Mars are signs of flowing sand — not water.

Monday’s news throws cold water on 2015 research that indicated these recurring slope lines were signs of water currently on Mars. Instead, Arizona scientists said these lines appear more like dry, steep flows of sand, rather than water trickling downhill, at or near the surface.

The scientists say if water is present, it’s likely a small amount — and not conducive to life.

NASA, meanwhile, says the jury is still out.

The space agency’s top Mars scientist, Michael Meyer, says the latest study does not rule out the presence of water. But he acknowledges it’s not as exciting as “the idea of rivers going down the sides of cliffs.”

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