Wondering about NASA’s Mars mystery? We may have found the answer – CNN

(CNN)NASA says it has big news for us Monday. “Mars Mystery Solved,” the agency’s news release touts without offering even a hint as to what mystery they mean.

For those who just can’t wait, a little Googling may solve the puzzle — and it’s not Matt Damon, little green people, or any other clear indication of life. It appears to be a confirmation of periodically flowing water on the planet’s surface.

Three of the scientists slated for the news conference are listed as authors of a new paper to be delivered at this week’s European Planetary Science Congress.

In it, the researchers say analysis of imaging from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter proves that seasonal dark streaks on the Martian surface are the result of briny water periodically flowing across the planet’s surface.

The confirmation of water on the surface of Mars would be important and would raise a host of questions, chief among them: Where is the water coming from, and what does it mean for the prospect of life, past or present?

The paper doesn’t answer those questions, and NASA isn’t talking ahead of its Monday morning news conference. Neither the agency nor the paper’s authors responded to requests for comment Sunday.

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