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When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

Water seems to flow freely on Mars

RATE THIS! +43
Posted in Science on 17th Dec, 2013 04:17 AM by AlexMuller

Dark streaks that hint at seasonally flowing water have been spotted near the equator of Mars. The potentially habitable oases are enticing targets for research. But spacecraft will probably have to steer clear of them unless the craft are carefully sterilized; a costly safeguard against interplanetary contamination that may rule out the sites for exploration.

 
River-like valleys attest to the flow of water on ancient Mars, but today the planet is dry and has an atmosphere that is too thin to support liquid water on the surface for long. However, intriguing clues suggest that water may still run across the surface from time to time.
 
In 2011, for example, researchers who analysed images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft observed dark streaks a few metres wide that appeared and lengthened at the warmest time of the year, then faded in cooler seasons, reappearing in subsequent years. "This behaviour is easy to understand if these are seeps of water," says planetary scientist Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who led that study. "Water will darken most soils."
 
The streaks, known as recurring slope lineae, initially were found at seven sites in Mars's southern mid-latitudes. The water may have come from ice trapped about a metre below the surface; indeed, the MRO has spotted such ice in fresh impact craters at those latitudes.

Tags: MarsMars lifespacespace explorationNASAwater on Mars

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+3
Finding evidence that there is water on Mars would be an enormous boost for exploration and colonisation. Everyone believes that water was there once upon a time but finding it now would be a great resource - we have to wait and see
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+2
Scientists have no doubts that oceans and rivers once pooled on the surface of Mars, but what happened to all that water is a long-standing mystery
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+0
The prime suspect is the sun, which has been peeling away the planet's atmosphere for billions of years. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+2
Finding exactly how Mars water evaporated is the goal of NASA's new Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission- Maven
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+0
Maven will be the 10th orbiter to be launched to Mars by Nasa; three have failed, testimony to the difficulty of the task. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+0
Interest comes from countries. In September this year Mars is going to have many visitors: when Maven reaches Mars it will join three functioning spacecraft, two US and one European. India's Mangalyaan also will be arriving about the same time. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+2
Water is of great importance as a possible source of fuel. If we can make fuel in space that would mean a leap forward for all further explorations Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+0
For many finding water also supports the possibility that life existed on Mars or if they find some now- that it actually supports it now Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+0
Finally, Mars is getting attention that it deserves. Learning history of Mars could give us important pointers about our own planet Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+1
Mars was so far explored just enough to be very intriguing. Many speculation about life forms and water have been debated- it is time to find out more
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+0
It is important to understand Mars better-what the history of the atmosphere has been, how the climate has changed through time and how that has influenced the evolution of the surface and the potential habitability – at least by microbes Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+1
NASA scientists suggest that regions with reappearing streaks that they report here could be added to the special regions under the current definition because of their potential connection with water.
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-17
+0
It seems taht water is the most likely explanation for the streaks and it would be great to find out the source. Reply
Reply


 

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