Nasa scientists find evidence of flowing water on Mars

Republican

Republican

Legendary Member
Nasa scientists find evidence of flowing water on Mars

Liquid water runs down canyons and crater walls over the summer months on Mars, according to researchers who say the discovery raises the chances of being home to some form of life.

The trickles leave long, dark stains on the Martian terrain that can reach hundreds of metres downhill in the warmer months, before they dry up in the autumn as surface temperatures drop.

Images taken from the Mars orbit show cliffs, and the steep walls of valleys and craters, streaked with summertime flows that in the most active spots combine to form intricate fan-like patterns.

Scientists are unsure where the water comes from, but it may rise up from underground ice or salty aquifers, or condense out of the thin Martian atmosphere.

“There is liquid water today on the surface of Mars,” Michael Meyer, the lead scientist on Nasa’s Mars exploration programme, told the Guardian. “Because of this, we suspect that it is at least possible to have a habitable environment today.”

The water flows could point Nasa and other space agencies towards the most promising sites to find life on Mars, and to landing spots for future human missions where water can be collected from a natural supply.

“Mars is not the dry, arid planet that we thought of in the past,” said Nasa’s Jim Green. “Liquid water has been found on Mars.”

Some of the earliest missions to Mars revealed a planet with a watery past. Pictures beamed back to Earth in the 1970s showed a surface crossed by dried-up rivers and plains once submerged beneath vast ancient lakes. Earlier this year, Nasa unveiled evidence of an ocean that might have covered half of the planet’s northern hemisphere in the distant past.

But occasionally, Mars probes have found hints that the planet might still be wet. Nearly a decade ago, Nasa’s Mars Global Surveyor took pictures of what appeared to be water bursting through a gully wall and flowing around boulders and other rocky debris. In 2011, the high-resolution camera on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured what looked like little streams flowing down crater walls from late spring to early autumn. Not wanting to assume too much, mission scientists named the flows “recurring slope lineae” or RSL.

Researchers have now turned to another instrument on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to analyse the chemistry of the mysterious RSL flows. Lujendra Ojha, of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and his colleagues used a spectrometer on the MRO to look at infrared light reflected off steep rocky walls when the dark streaks had just begun to appear, and when they had grown to full length at the end of the Martian summer.

Writing in the journal Nature Geosciences, the team describes how it found infra-red signatures for hydrated salts when the dark flows were present, but none before they had grown. The hydrated salts – a mix of chlorates and perchlorates – are a smoking gun for the presence of water at all four sites inspected: the Hale, Palikir and Horowitz craters, and a large canyon called Coprates Chasma.

“These may be the best places to search for extant life near the surface of Mars,” said Alfred McEwen, a planetary geologist at the University of Arizona and senior author on the study. “While it would be very important to find evidence of ancient life, it would be difficult to understand the biology. Current life would be much more informative.”

The flows only appear when the surface of Mars rises above -23C. The water can run in such frigid conditions because the salts lower the freezing point of water, keeping it liquid far below 0C.

“The mystery has been, what is permitting this flow? Presumably water, but until now, there has been no spectral signature,” Meyer said. “From this, we conclude that the RSL are generated by water interacting with perchlorates, forming a brine that flows downhill.”

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. The flows could be used to find water sources on Mars, making them prime spots to hunt for life, and to land future human missions. But agencies were required to do their utmost to avoid contaminating other planets with microbes from Earth, making wet areas the most difficult to visit. “This will give them lots to think about,” he said.

For now, researchers are focused on learning where the water comes from. Porous rocks under the Martian surface might hold frozen water that melts in the summer months and seeps up to the surface.

Another possibility is that highly concentrated saline aquifers are dotted around beneath the surface, not as pools of water, but as saturated volumes of gritty rock. These could cause flows in some areas, but cannot easily explain water seeping down from the top of crater walls.

A third possibility, and one favoured by McEwen, is that salts on the Martian surface absorb water from the atmosphere until they have enough to run downhill. The process, known as deliquescence, is seen in the Atacama desert, where the resulting damp patches are the only known place for microbes to live.

“It’s a fascinating piece of work,” Bridges said. “Our view of Mars is changing, and we’ll be discussing this for a long time to come.”

Nasa scientists find evidence of flowing water on Mars | Science | The Guardian
 
  • Advertisement
  • Republican

    Republican

    Legendary Member
    Good thing they didn't find oil, else Mars might have succumbed to some badly needed "Democracy"...
     
    kmarthe

    kmarthe

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    Good thing they didn't find oil, else Mars might have succumbed to some badly needed "Democracy"...
    LOL! On the opposite planet Earth would have seen less "Democracy" and the petrodollar would have lost its capacity to buy the consciences of thousands of decision makers...
     
    Dalzi

    Dalzi

    Legendary Member
    LOL! On the opposite planet Earth would have seen less "Democracy" and the petrodollar would have lost its capacity to buy the consciences of thousands of decision makers...
    A Martian resistance movement! I'm pretty sure no one wants that :D
     
    LEBANESE-CIA

    LEBANESE-CIA

    Legendary Member
    Imagine If all the money spent since Nasa inception (57 years ago, Nasa spent almost $580 Billions) are invested toward enhancing world pauverty, eliminating diseases, spreading peace and harmony , acquiring knowledge for the benefit of our "home" earth , that would have been a better priority then finding a possibility of water on a distant planet ( which won't add or solve earthly issues for the next 100's of years:)) or sending a probe to a red planet while some amazon parts are still unknown to a civilized society.
     
    Iron Maiden

    Iron Maiden

    Paragon of Bacon
    Orange Room Supporter
    Imagine If all the money spent since Nasa inception (57 years ago, Nasa spent almost $580 Billions) are invested toward enhancing world pauverty, eliminating diseases, spreading peace and harmony , acquiring knowledge for the benefit of our "home" earth , that would have been a better priority then finding a possibility of water on a distant planet ( which won't add or solve earthly issues for the next 100's of years:)) or sending a probe to a red planet while some amazon parts are still unknown to a civilized society.
    cant disagree more on this point... this space exploration mumbo jumbo has yielded more scientific advances than u could imagine, and revolutionized the way you are living today.

    giving 500 billion dollars to the world over the 50 past years(10billion a year practically nothing) would hav only meant there are more people around today who need to be fed while still living in sub-mediocre fashion adding stress on the planets dwindling resources.

    Nasa and all the other space agencies and astrophysicists are doing us a great favor by trying to understand the universe so that one day in the future we might be able to save a wiser humanity from this dying planet when all hell breaks loose.

    my only regret is I wont get to be there :p
     
    Dalzi

    Dalzi

    Legendary Member
    Imagine If all the money spent since Nasa inception (57 years ago, Nasa spent almost $580 Billions) are invested toward enhancing world pauverty, eliminating diseases, spreading peace and harmony , acquiring knowledge for the benefit of our "home" earth , that would have been a better priority then finding a possibility of water on a distant planet ( which won't add or solve earthly issues for the next 100's of years:)) or sending a probe to a red planet while some amazon parts are still unknown to a civilized society.
    I'd have to dissagree. If the intention to spend money on what you mentioned is there, there's plenty of money to spare elsewhere. Undermining the significance of nasa's job is a call for ignorance. Imagine the triviality of life had we still thought the earth was flat and the sky had lanterns, for example. Trying to understand existence and learn more is part of our duty on this earth.

    Add to that, it's better to keep those amazon parts unexplored because the second we explore them we ruin them.
     
    LEBANESE-CIA

    LEBANESE-CIA

    Legendary Member
    cant disagree more on this point... this space exploration mumbo jumbo has yielded more scientific advances than u could imagine, and revolutionized the way you are living today.
    You are entitled to your opinion, this is your basic natural law to agree or disagree. However in the same token I kindly disagree.
    giving 500 billion dollars to the world over the 50 past years(10billion a year practically nothing) would hav only meant there are more people around today who need to be fed while still living in sub-mediocre fashion adding stress on the planets dwindling resources.
    500 billions or (580 B) over 50 years is NOT "nothing at all" specially to poor countries it makes a big/huge difference. This amount to some countries is sometimes half their GDP.
    But that is not the point here. What you missed is the Present value and future value of that 10 billions that you said is nothing: ). A 10 Billions 50 years ago is at least equivalent to 100 Billions in value now (after 50 years). Do you know that formula ?: )
    Nasa and all the other space agencies and astrophysicists are doing us a great favor by trying to understand the universe so that one day in the future we might be able to save a wiser humanity from this dying planet when all hell breaks loose.
    So as I said in my other post, that money if invested toward enhancing world poverty eliminating diseases, spreading peace and harmony etc, would have been a better priority.
    Although I only mentioned the Nasa budgets for the past years (580B) without counting the other space "ambition". Nothing wrong understanding the universe so that one day in the unknown future you might be able to save humanity from this dying planet right??(as you said). Also nothing wrong understanding EARTH our planet too : ) But the fact remains as follow: don’t we have to be alive to save ourselves & the planet when that day in the unknown future comes? the issue is prioritization in order to survive.
    my only regret is I wont get to be there :p
    You see, you answered yourself :)
    being alive & well and your only regret is that u won’t be there"
    Sho tarakit lakan for dying "planet"? That is a guarantee none would be there : )
     
    LEBANESE-CIA

    LEBANESE-CIA

    Legendary Member
    I'd have to dissagree. If the intention to spend money on what you mentioned is there, there's plenty of money to spare elsewhere. Undermining the significance of nasa's job is a call for ignorance. Imagine the triviality of life had we still thought the earth was flat and the sky had lanterns, for example. Trying to understand existence and learn more is part of our duty on this earth.
    Have you read my post? why you omitted the key word "priority"? that is why you missed my point Oz mate!
    when you take out an element in a logical sequence you would be committing a "felony" therefore you have the right to remain silent until you re-read the post with eyes wide shut: ) lol

    On a serious note, where did i say that i undermine the significance of X or Y or Z ? I simply and clearly stated the priority first. If you are sick and have a competition in the future, wouldn't be logical for you to be well first in order to excel in your next competition? the money is there, hence its being spent anyway. So i would rather spend it in what i mentioned first as it is a priority, but Greed is the obstacle here.
    understanding our existence does not rely on nasa's ambition, and i want to stress out the idea here is not about nasa's right to explore... its where the priority lies in spending in my pov. lets not deviate the core idea here.

    Add to that, it's better to keep those amazon parts unexplored because the second we explore them we ruin them.
    I like the duality in this "semantic" : )
    the same humanity who would be exploring those amazon parts is doing nasa's ambition : ) So does that mean we would be ruining Nasa's output too ? in the same token can we say "its better to keep those ambition(s) and focus on more urgent reality at hand?: )

    G'day !!
     
    JustLeb

    JustLeb

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    Hey I have a friend who actually worked on this project! They were at the launch in May! I was incredibly jealous :p
    a real friend, or someone you poked on Facebook :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
    Isabella

    Isabella

    The queen of "Bazella"
    Orange Room Supporter
    a real friend, or someone you poked on Facebook :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
    No I don't even know them, i just like casually mentioning people who worked on astronomical projects!

    Mission | Teams – NASA's InSight Mars Lander

    Above is how many people worked on insight, not saying my friend was a team leader or anything but they did contribute to the seismic calculations through IPGP and were invited to the launch
     
    Isabella

    Isabella

    The queen of "Bazella"
    Orange Room Supporter
    yeah it will change you, when you have a baby....
    you will become "whatever, but let me sleep ...." :D:D:D
    I think it was the opposite I got a lot meaner :p
     
    Top