Astronomers announced the liquid water existence on Mars last year as the visual evidence and spectral analysis from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was tangible enough to come to that conclusion. When the surface temperature raises enough on Mars, briny water flows in many mountainous regions, becoming visible on the sandy hillsides as dark taint that appear and then go off. This is nothing but a seasonal phenomenon, mostly known as recurring slope lineae (RSL).
Now, NASA has revealed that there is a possibility that a region close to the Curiosity rover has RSL, and the nuclear power robot will investigate those streaks. First of all, the robot will take photos with its mast camera. If those images confirm that there’s water in the first place, NASA will consider sending the Curiosity rover to take a sample.
“Soon, hopefully within a year, we will be in a position to take higher-resolution images of the area that’s purported to be an RSL, at a much higher resolution than that of MRO [Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter],” Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, told Aviation Week. “And then we’d be able to observe it… and say, ‘no, that’s really a dust slide,’ or watch it change.”
It’s not sure whether Curiosity will find life or not. There’s a possibility that radiation and extreme conditions on Mars precluded it, and that’s before Curiosity’s sterilization process. However, this is definitely a stepping mission, with a mild success that can lead to a bigger and better mission intends to find signs of life.