Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NASA and Mars

By Levena Lindahl

A really exciting fact came from NASA on November 4th, and it might affect future trips to the red planet.  During the press conference, NASA confirmed evidence that liquid water flows on Mars, an announcement that is incredibly important to the question of, “Could there be life on Mars?”  This also is important for the possibility of future human colonies on Mars, as water is essential for life.

As seen here, these dark lines called recurring slope lineae, are thought to have been formed by contemporary flowing water, though it must only be present intermittently.  The bands come from hydrated salts and the mineral pyroxene.  The streaks ebb and flow, seeming to darken during warmer seasons, and fading during the cooler seasons.  The bands have also been seen in several locations on Mars.

The water on Mars would be briny, kind of like what would be found in runoff in areas that salt roads during the winter.  Briny or not, the shallow run off is enough to be noticeable by scientists here on Earth.  What makes this briney water special is the presence of minerals called perchlorates.  These are important because they have the ability to keep liquids from freezing in temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This discovery of water on present day Mars is exceptional due to the fact that, before this, all discussions of water were about ancient or frozen water, not water that is currently there.  This lets scientists learn and discover how life could be supported on Mars and what resources are there to support life now and in the future.

If you’d like to read more on this, check out NASA’s website at !


Post a Comment