The results of Earth-bound lab experiments appear to back up the theory that dark lines on Martian slopes are created by water—though in an otherworldly manner, scientists said Monday.

A team from France, Britain and the United States constructed models and simulated Mars conditions to follow up on a 2015 study which proffered “the strongest evidence yet” for liquid water—a prerequisite for life—on the Red Planet.

That finding had left many scientists scratching their heads as the low pressure of Mars’ atmosphere means that water does not survive long in liquid form. It either boils or freezes.

Identifying water on the Red Planet is complicated by our limited understanding of natural processes under conditions so different to those on Earth.

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