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Practically every new rover, lander or orbiter sent to Mars in recent years turns up more evidence of water, both past and present. This vital liquid is necessary for life as we know it, but whether anything has ever lived on Mars is still a mystery. This week scientists reported new findings of water on the Red Planet that bring us closer than ever to finally answering the question.

The Curiosity rover’s landing site on Mars, Gale Crater, used to hold a lake, scientists announced on Monday at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco. And on Tuesday researchers analyzing photographs taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reported that liquid water appears to be darkening the slopes of mountains near the Martian equator—the first time strong indications of present-day water have been seen in this region. Curiosity's latest results were reported in six papers this week in Science, and the evidence from MRO was published in Nature Geoscience. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

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