In what is being hailed as a breakthrough scientific discovery, NASA announced today that liquid water has been discovered on the Red Planet.

The find is particularly important as it might provide researchers with insight regarding the possibility of finding life on Mars. Additionally, this also raises the possibility of finding probable sites for human exploration of the planet as a habitable environment would be ideal for doing so.

In the past, NASA had concluded that it was likely that Mars once possessed liquid water as evidence as far back as the 1970s indicated that the planet was once home to several rivers and and vast lakes.

Earlier this year, NASA announced that Mars was also, at one time, home to a vast, ancient ocean.

Interestingly, while the discovery was lauded today as a giant leap in inter-planetary research, some in academia were quick to express caution going forward. John Bridges, a professor of planetary science at the University of Leicester, said the study was fascinating, but might throw up some fresh concerns for space agencies.

He warned that agencies must do their best to avoid contaminating other planets with microbes from Earth and this will make some of the wet areas a challenge to visit.

For now, most researchers are interested in finding where the water originates from. Said Bridges, "It’s a fascinating piece of work. Our view of Mars is changing, and we’ll be discussing this for a long time to come.”