In DepthPlanetary Science

A wet blanket for theories of liquid water on Mars

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Science  01 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6367, pp. 1119
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6367.1119

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In 2011, researchers discovered recurring slope lineae, thousands of streaks along steep slopes, mostly near the equator, that gradually grow and darken as spring turns to summer, as if fed by seeps of water, before fading. One of the discoverers, Alfred McEwen, a planetary geologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, was never so sure that liquid flowing water was responsible. Now, McEwen and his colleagues have shown that the hillside markings might be better explained by dry flows of sand and dust seeking their natural angle of repose. Science recently caught up with McEwen for an interview.