DailyDirt: Water On Mars (Again!)
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
For decades now, scientists have been looking for, and finding, evidence of water on Mars. Some might remember that Dan Quayle even said, “We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water.” Quayle wasn’t exactly right about the surface of Mars, but it does appear that liquid water exists on Mars during Martian summers. The liquid water on Mars wouldn’t look familiar to most people, though, as it’s only a liquid brine that flows when it’s just above -23 °C. However, there could be more liquid water somewhere that we haven’t seen yet — and that might make Mars more hospitable to life as we know it.
- NASA announced that it has discovered what causes “recurring slope lineae” (RSL) — which look like streaks of dark lines where fluid has run down a crater wall on Mars. Liquid water containing dissolved salts makes this phenomenon, but it’s still uncertain exactly where the water comes from. [url]
- If we’re going to look for life on Mars, it’d be good to not contaminate the Red Planet with microbes from Earth. NASA is testing how well microbes can survive in harsh environments like the upper atmosphere — to see if they could hitchhike a ride to Mars. We already know (by accident) a few forms of life from Earth can survive surprisingly long in the vacuum of space, so some controlled experiments are in order. [url]
- NASA’s plans to get to Mars by first landing on an asteroid… aren’t going anywhere soon. The Asteroid Redirect Mission isn’t about astronauts taking a ride on an asteroid headed to Mars (though that sounds much cooler, only way more impractical), but it could help test experimental ion thrusters and other technologies that might be used on a journey to Mars. However, it does seem a bit strange to aim for an asteroid instead of a more direct shot at Mars itself. [url]
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