NASA Discovers Evidence of Fresh Water on Mars

NASA Discovers Evidence of Fresh Water on Mars

Mars once had a lake with water so law in salt content and acidity that it could have been drinkable.

NASA's Curiosity rover has sent photographs of a streambed, leading scientists to conclude there was once a fresh water lake on Mars with water that could have been drinkable. The fact that Mars once had water has been known for some time. Scientists knew the planet used to be warmer and wetter, but also very acidic. The evidence of fresh water could prove the planet was once habitable.

The lake would have been hospitable to organisms called "chemolithoautotrophs," or mineral-eaters. The data provided by the Curiosity rover does not, however, confirm whether these organisms, which exist in caves and deep-sea hydrothermal vents on Earth, actually existed on Mars.

This ancient lake in the Gale Crater, believed to have existed 3.6 billion years ago, was discovered earlier this year, but it was not until recently that the lake was confirmed to have neutral water low in salinity. Previous theories suggested Mars' surface and ground water had the quality of battery acid.

"Previous results from Spirit and Opportunity [rovers] pointed to very acidic water, but what we're seeing in Gale Crater is evidence of fresh water," Jim Bell, an Arizona State University scientist said. "Very neutral. Drinkable."

The Curiosity Rover studied 4 billion-year-old rocks in the Gale Crater. When heated, the rocks produced gases including water, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. Much of Mars still has not been explored. The now cold planet still contains many mysteries. NASA has approved a plan for a new rover in 2020.

Source: Washington Post

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Well, that's it, let's start the colonial expedition to Mars. Remember to pack the terraforming equipment...

The Gentleman:
Well, that's it, let's start the colonial expedition to Mars. Remember to pack the terraforming equipment...

And chainsaw.

I wonder if, in my lifetime, scientists will be able to deter radiation from Mars, making it to safe to return back to Earth, but also making Mars habitable by life.. Well, I await the day I get a postcard from Olympus Mons. Oh wait, my family hates me.

roseofbattle:
Mars once had a lake with water so law in salt content and acidity that it could have been drinkable.

That's low, not law...

But that is fascinating. At some point there were conditions supportive of life on Mars. Now we just need to find out whether there actually was any, and we'll have our first bona-fide evidence of extra-terrestial life.

And that would be amazing.

That's amazing.

The more we learn of Mars, it seems more and more like the possibility of it once being not so different from Earth is not as low as we think.

It's like looking into the future. A headstone for a dead planet.

And of course I will be rubbing this in the face of all the people who complained saying this rover mission was a waste of time and money.

The_Darkness:
That's low, not law...

Maybe that water rules. Hence, law.

I'm thirsty for some Mars law water.

gotta love science :D hey gale crater.. ive got a rover driving around that on take on mars. which reminds me i still have a few missions left to do

So what would be better to deal with the small atmosphere in a mars science facility? A dome to keep extra air in above ground. Or a underground facility where the air was denser.(FYI the atmosphere gets very thin at about 10ft up.)

I personally think a facility that was largely underground would keep the temperature more steady as the ground would act as a natural insulator.

Didn't they already find evidence a few years back? I can't remember... hey, the Internet can be my trusty thinker box. Internet ho!

Huh, turns out a few months ago: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/sep/26/nasa-curiosity-rover-mars-soil-water. IN fact, that's more fresh water than this dried up old lake was... is... stuff. The lake bed is a curiosity, as it doesn't actually have the water anymore. The water in the soil is the good news for potential colonists.

Or, we could always go the other route: THE UNIVERSE IS ONLY 4000 YEARS OLD! What's this 3.6 billions years crap? Take your fancy science elsewhere, nerd.

Heh, I'm joking, obviously. Still, I guess we get to learn more about how Mars was exciting at one time but isn't much so anymore.

roseofbattle:
Mars once had a lake with water so law in salt content and acidity that it could have been drinkable.

First thing that popped into my head:

This is ridiculous anyways. Mars is supposed to be fire. Mercury is water! Sheesh, people, really....know your inter-planetary heroines.

....wait, this is talking about the actual planet? Oh. Uh....I got nothing.

Huh, So shouldn't we be.... celebrating or something?

I mean this is a huge deal. If Mars harboured liquid water then maybe there's some dead microbes or something in that patch of land?
Also wouldn't it be incredibly tragic if a week from now Curiosity finds freshwater river flowing nearby, and nobody picked up on it because the telescopes never checked that exact spot?

Josh12345:

Also wouldn't it be incredibly tragic if a week from now Curiosity finds freshwater river flowing nearby, and nobody picked up on it because the telescopes never checked that exact spot?

Unless we also have made a grave mistake about the atmosphere that would be impossible. Even if such an atmosphere could sustain lakes carbon dioxide is quite acidic meaning the pH of that water would probably be quite low and thus not be considered fresh water.

What this tells us is that there has likely been some change in the atmosphere that proved itself to be quite devastating. However it might be possible to find signs of life which might give us a a clue to how evolution could go with a different origin. Sadly it's unlikely to find such a thing.

I just don't care for NASA. Rage at me all you like, it's a massive waste of money and this should not be news.

What I take from this is that if the planet right next to ours could have at one time supported life, then it's not that far off to assume that a bunch of other stars have such planets. Even if Mars doesn't have any life, there are billions of planets in our galaxy, and chances just got a whole lot better that we'll find life on one of them.

And the cycle continues... Now just to wait for the next announcement that Voyager 1 has left the solar system again...

Captcha: domestic spying

...

Gluzzbung:
I just don't care for NASA. Rage at me all you like, it's a massive waste of money and this should not be news.

Rage? No. But you may want to consider the following:

The investment in NASA over the years had a substantial rate of return in economic growth and technological development from the 60s through the 70s. Estimates of current economic gain from the space program range from $8 to $14 for every dollar spent.

You may not have any interest in it, but it doesn't mean it's not useful or profitable, and it doesn't mean other people don't like to hear about it. We are rather happy to hear news like this, and you are free to read it or not.

It's time for a manned mission to mars.

roseofbattle:
so law

so law, much justice. Typo. ^^

OT: I thought we knew this already. It has ice and seabeds and all of that.

I am still not entierly sure why we bother surveying other worlds. Even if we did find any life out there, there is only three outcomes:

Outcome 1:
We kill it or use it in some other horrible way, and that's just assuming these are animals.

Outcome 2:
Assuming we have the restraint to not do that, I am positive we will just leave it alone completely, in some paranoid fear we might alter the progression of an entire world by screwing with it's ecosystem.

Outcome 3:
They are sentient, and we just leave them alone completely. Humans have made it pretty evident we can't handle anything different from us. Hell, we can't even handle slight variations in other humans, and those are just superficial things. The differences in aliens won't be superficial at all... Even if they were friendly we'd likely not even allow them to set foot on earth, always treating them like malicious invaders, or worse, monsters/animals, since the chance of them resembling humans in any way is too small to calculate. It is really sad, but the reality of it all is far more boring and grim then sci-fi makes it out to be.

So as of now, it's a complete waste of time and money, at least until we decide to change.

Daaaah Whoosh:
What I take from this is that if the planet right next to ours could have at one time supported life, then it's not that far off to assume that a bunch of other stars have such planets. Even if Mars doesn't have any life, there are billions of planets in our galaxy, and chances just got a whole lot better that we'll find life on one of them.

I thought this was already apparent when they started discovering Earth-like planets around other stars. Still we may never find life in other parts of our galaxy because a) interstellar travel is still far off b) people who own substantial amounts of capital are more interested in investing in reliable sources of income rather than scientific endeavors.

roseofbattle:
Mars once had a lake with water so law in salt content and acidity that it could have been drinkable.

So law, much doge.

The Gentleman:
Well, that's it, let's start the colonial expedition to Mars. Remember to pack the terraforming equipment...

We first need to increase the Gravity on Mars in order to keep an atmosphere. The gravity is too low to do that.

I say we take asteroids from the near-by asteroid belt, and bombard Mars.

So in the spirit of the colonials before us,
LET US DECLARE WAR ON MARIAN SOIL!!!

Gluzzbung:
I just don't care for NASA. Rage at me all you like, it's a massive waste of money and this should not be news.

Well think about it.

If there's anything government funded that has always had a reasonable return of investments it's usually the space programs.

Not to mention that NASA get's an infinitesimal amount of money. I think it was below 1% of the tax-income that went to NASA.

So yeah. Millions sound expensive numerically, but statistically it is a very small portion of the money your government spends.

Gluzzbung:
I just don't care for NASA. Rage at me all you like, it's a massive waste of money and this should not be news.

Very tempting to rage. But I just fail to see how any one does not see the value in space exploration and advancement, Earth can not sustain humanity forever. Just look at the time lapse videos ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPj8D5KaPVU ) from the International space station look at how little our atmosphere looks. That is the only thing keeping us all alive that small blanket of air. And if we don't Destroy the atmosphere, The earth will eventually run out of resources, or the population will get to big to support, or an asteroid or comet can come and destroy all of us.

Space exploration is one of the only things worth spending money on and NASA's budget should be increased 100%, from its 4/10th of 1 penny of a tax dollar it gets now. We stopped dreaming of the feature ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbIZU8cQWXc ) people that say NASA is a waste are not thinking of tomorrow. Even if you personally have no interest in space there is no way NASA can be considered a waste. How do you put a price on our continued existence and advancement as a species.

here is a small list of some of the technologies devolved as a side effect of NASAs research http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_spin-off_technologies

image
That "Pale blue dot" in this picture is the farthest picture of earth ever taken, 3.7 billion miles away from home voyager 1 sent this picture home. Carl Sagan had these amazing thoughts about the picture, it is my personal favorite quote.

Carl Sagan:
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity - in all this vastness - there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

joeman098:

Gluzzbung:
I just don't care for NASA. Rage at me all you like, it's a massive waste of money and this should not be news.

Very tempting to rage. But I just fail to see how any one does not see the value in space exploration and advancement, Earth can not sustain humanity forever. Just look at the time lapse videos ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPj8D5KaPVU ) from the International space station look at how little our atmosphere looks. That is the only thing keeping us all alive that small blanket of air. And if we don't Destroy the atmosphere, The earth will eventually run out of resources, or the population will get to big to support, or an asteroid or comet can come and destroy all of us.

Space exploration is one of the only things worth spending money on and NASA's budget should be increased 100%, from its 4/10th of 1 penny of a tax dollar it gets now. We stopped dreaming of the feature ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbIZU8cQWXc ) people that say NASA is a waste are not thinking of tomorrow. Even if you personally have no interest in space there is no way NASA can be considered a waste. How do you put a price on our continued existence and advancement as a species.

here is a small list of some of the technologies devolved as a side effect of NASAs research http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_spin-off_technologies

image
That "Pale blue dot" in this picture is the farthest picture of earth ever taken, 3.7 billion miles away from home voyager 1 sent this picture home. Carl Sagan had these amazing thoughts about the picture, it is my personal favorite quote.

Carl Sagan:
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity - in all this vastness - there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Oh dear, I'm almost physically hurt from all the stupid in this, but you didn't rage so neither will I.

You see, the thing is, WE caused those problems to begin with. Destroying the atmosphere, first of all, is fixable, what with replenishing Ozone levels and, with luck, a general trend towards green energy and Nuclear power which don't pollute the atmosphere with CO2 or carcinogens or sulphides or other such disasters which we have only ourselves to blame for. An asteroid hitting the earth? Ummm, asteroids hit the earth every day, in their millions in fact. The Earth gains about 160 tonnes of mass each day and we're still here. You're talking about an enormous piece of space debris which has a miniscule chance of hitting Earth, or even coming into our atmosphere, but it's that sort of fear mongering that leads people to believe that NASA is somehow worthwhile. Also, just talking relatively here, should we discover, with a decent amount of time before it impacts, an asteroid that was large enough to wipe out all life on Earth heading our way, what do you think we're going to do to stop it. Is NASA working on that?

More to the point, any sort of relocation program, whether it be on a massive scale or only a few people, aimed at relocating human being to another inhabitable planet would be astronomically expensive, as in it would cost more money that there exists on the Earth today. The same with terraforming. Also, have you considered that, actually, it would be impossible to live for any long amount of time on another planet or in space? And when I say 'long amount of time' I mean more than a few years. First of all; gravitational and pressure differences would cause begin to cause huge changes in our bodily systems like blood pressure, bone structure. Even in the six months that people spend in the ISS they could suffer permanent bone degradation. Then you have things like disease and bacteria. In a tiny space capsule they would spread like wildfire and on another planet, not only would human bacteria begin destroying any local animals, if there were any, but also the local bacteria would then attack our bodies and our systems and, because we have effectively no immunity for it, we'd perish.

The inventions, I grant you, may not have happened without NASA, the key word there being 'may.' Artificial limbs probably wouldn't have taken long to develop without NASA, there were already crude ones in development and production before any sort of Space Program. The developments they made to how runways are made would likely have been implemented by another air company, a government or aircraft manufacturer. But the real reason NASA was invented was, of course, Rockets. The 'Space Race' was just a farcical show so the USA and Soviet Union could turn their minds more towards a more peaceful competition while still developing long-range and efficient aircraft and missiles, pincibly ICBMs.

Also, if we are to prioritise our survival, which is what your suggestion, perhaps you should make it clear that human beings deserve the life they are given "Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity - in all this vastness - there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."

 

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