This NASA image shows the surface of Mars in an image taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit.
Photograph by Getty Images
By Jonathan Chew
September 28, 2015

NASA will make a big announcement today that it has solved a “mystery” concerning Mars, sparking rumors that it may settle the debate on whether there is life on the planet once and for all.

NASA will hold a press conference at 11.30 a.m. ET today at the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The presence of three scientists at the conference—Lujendra Ojha, Mary Beth Wilhelm, and Alfred McEwen— is of particular significance, as they are behind a just-released paper highlighting the existence of flowing water on Mars. Inside, it proposes that dark streaks observed on the surface of Mars are due to the activity of briny water.

The paper is due to be delivered at this week’s European Planetary Science Congress.

If NASA confirms this, it will be one giant step to answering the age-old of question of whether there’s life on Mars and whether we could one day make it our new giant home, a riddle that has prompted ambitious explorations from the likes of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, and billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped people from speculating on other reasons for the press conference:

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