“Is there water on Mars?”

A long ago Mars

“While there may have been abundant oceans in the past and water ice persisting in the present, could there be lingering liquid water on Mars? Tantalizingly, the answer may be yes. Using radar technology that penetrates the ground, the Mars Express orbiter found signals suggesting that bodies of liquid water also existed underground at the south pole, according to NASA. 

For water to be a liquid at these temperatures, it would have to be salty, almost a brine. But could such a briny salt water also allow liquid water to appear on the surface? 

In 2011, the MRO captured images of dark streaks that appeared seasonally in Martian slopes and which seemed to flow downhill. While some scientists argue that these streaks are owed to flowing sand, others believe they are the result of subsurface salt water that rises to the surface in more temperate temperatures, according to NASA’s MRO webpage. Remnants of water may therefore endure on the Martian surface billions of years after it lost its oceans. 

The Perseverance rover is carrying this insight into the future of Mars exploration, and it will use these signatures of water on Mars as a guide to search for ancient microbial life that may have once blossomed on the Red Planet.” livescience

Comment: This would make a big difference in terms of Musk’s Mars ambitions. pl

https://www.livescience.com/is-there-water-on-mars

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3 Responses to “Is there water on Mars?”

  1. EEngineer says:

    I wonder what the temperature gradient is as you dig down on Mars. Might be miles of frozen mud down there.

    Earth has a large molten iron core that’s heated by radioactive decay of heavy elements. Convection currents in the core give Earth it’s protective magnetic field. Mars lacks both so I wonder how far down you have to dig to get to what we consider a comfortable temperature. Theoretically, if you dug down about 30 miles or so the pressure at the bottom of the mine would be about 1 bar. No oxygen, but at least you wouldn’t need pressure suit.

    • TTG says:

      EEngineer,
      Mars doesn’t have a magnetic field like the Earth. That’s probably due to the lack of a molten iron core. It may not be any warmer below the surface. This lack of a magnetic field is what caused solar winds to strip away most of the Martian atmosphere and some of the surface water. That stripping action is ongoing. Those solar winds do create some kind of surface and atmospheric induced magnetosphere. Unfortunately, this induced magnetosphere offers no protection from solar radiation.

  2. TTG says:

    Studies from the MAVEN orbiter data points towards a very watery Mars at one time and that a lot of that water has been incorporated into minerals, anywhere from 30 to 99% of the water once on Mars may now be in hydrated minerals. I have no idea how useful those hydrated minerals will be to Musk’s plans to produce methane and oxygen.

    Right now Musk plans to establish his first base more towards the equator rather than the poles. That’s because he plans to power his fuel plant with solar power. I thought the biggest ice deposits were near the poles. Musk would be better off switching to nuclear for his primary power source. That way he can put his fuel plant where the most water ice is located.

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