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Posted: September 28, 2015

5 things to know about water found on Mars

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By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —

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Scientists at NASA announced Monday that water has been found on Mars. 

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Here are five takeaways from the announcement:

1. Water found on Mars is frozen in the winter, and during the summer season, it flows in streams of salty liquid. The latest observations "strongly support" the theory that salt water flows down some slopes every summer, The Associated Press reported.

2. The streaking appears and grows during the warmest months of the Martian year and fades during the colder months. 

3. The findings were made using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling Mars for nearly a decade, starting in 2006, the AP reported.

4.  Water is needed to sustain life, and the new findings could fuel speculation that the planet either once supported life or that it could survive now, The New York Times reported. Mars had rivers, lakes and, some believe, an ocean billions of years ago, but the flowing water found recently is, in the words of The New York Times, modest.

5. Scientists don't know where the water is coming from, The New York Times reported. There is very low humidity on the planet, only enough to produce about 1/2,500th of an inch of rain if it all came out at once from the atmosphere. Some believe that there are underground aquifers that are frozen during the winter and melt during the summer, allowing water to seep to the surface.

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