Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Flowing Water Discovered on Mars 378

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the john-jones-homeworld dept.
Dolphy writes "BBC News has the latest big scoop on the Mars phenomenon. Researcher Tahirih Motazedian apparently uncovered proof quite some time ago of flowing water and surface change on Mars."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Flowing Water Discovered on Mars

Comments Filter:
  • by chill (34294) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:50AM (#5510088) Journal
    How long before they find the first Martian Starbucks? Probably right next to the McDonald's and Walmart.
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:54AM (#5510099) Homepage Journal
    It even has a name. In Martian the word "Grok" means "to know", "to eat", "body" and, of course "water".

    M. V. Smith

    PS: Anyone want to join my weird telepathic sex cult?
  • by _Eric (25017) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:54AM (#5510100)
    One thing I always wondered is why the hell rivers have to be water on mars.

    Mars's surface temperature goes down pretty low at night to some -100 degree Celcius, at which nitrogen (roughly our air) is liquid as well (at earth ground pressures).

    Can't all those riverbed come from other liquid that only flow at night time and vaporize during daytime. As we only observe the daytime mars, the "water" is always gone.

    Anybody have an idea about that?
    • It may be water (Score:3, Interesting)

      I seriously doubt liquid nitrogen can exist at that low pressure. I figure either BBC is way off (their science stories are always a bit out there) or it really is water. There is certainly ice at the poles and below the surface... we've discovered that.
    • If the liquid nitrogen is evaporating during the day what is the ambiant light source for the pictures? Just a thought but good point.
    • Wouldn't the fact that there is only a very thin atmosphere on Mars and therefore very low pressure change the temperatures at which substances change to liquid?

      perhaps at -100C at these low pressures water is a liquid.
      • by _Eric (25017) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:16AM (#5510169)

        OK one step further: Martian Atmosphere [nasa.gov]

        Surface pressure: 6.36 mb at mean radius (variable from 4.0 to 8.7 mb depending on season)
        [6.9 mb to 9 mb (Viking 1 Lander site)]
        Surface density: ~0.020 kg/m3
        Scale height: 11.1 km
        Total mass of atmosphere: ~2.5 x 1016 kg
        Average temperature: ~210 K (-63 C)
        Diurnal temperature range: 184 K to 242 K (-89 to -31 C) (Viking 1 Lander site)
        Wind speeds: 2-7 m/s (summer), 5-10 m/s (fall), 17-30 m/s (dust storm) (Viking Lander sites)
        Mean molecular weight: 43.34 g/mole
        Atmospheric composition (by volume):
        Major : Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - 95.32% ; Nitrogen (N2) - 2.7%
        Argon (Ar) - 1.6%; Oxygen (O2) - 0.13%; Carbon Monoxide (CO) - 0.08%
        Minor (ppm): Water (H2O) - 210; Nitrogen Oxide (NO) - 100; Neon (Ne) - 2.5;
        Hydrogen-Deuterium-Oxygen (HDO) - 0.85; Krypton (Kr) - 0.3;
        Xenon (Xe) - 0.08

        So we're talking carbon dioxide. Pressure is 7mb or 7hPa or 0.7kPa (earth pressure beeing around 1000hPa or 100kPa)

        Here's a phase diagram of CO2 [wisc.edu]

        So at such low pressures, CO2 is vapor at diurnal temperature ranges. My theory seems not to hold. Please go back to sleep.

    • by umofomia (639418) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:06AM (#5510138) Journal
      Mars's surface temperature goes down pretty low at night to some -100 degree Celcius, at which nitrogen (roughly our air) is liquid as well (at earth ground pressures).
      Um... the temperature at which nitrogen turns liquid is -195.8 degrees Celcius. With Mars' lower air pressure, I'm sure it's even less.

      Meanwhile, even at the poles, Mars does not go below -150 degrees, so there is no place on Mars at which nitrogen will turn into a liquid.

    • by panurge (573432) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:08AM (#5510150)
      First, the boiling point of nitrogen is much lower than -100C. And the atmospheric pressure of nitrogen you would need to get a river to flow when the temperature dropped would mean a planet much bigger than Mars.

      Second, the remarkable thing about water is that based on simple chemical rules it should not be a liquid at ordinary temperatures: ammonia, with a similar MW, is a gas. It is the strong hydrogen bonding between water molecules that gives it the high melting and boiling points, and the very wide range between them. The ideal liquid to sustain life has a wide range between MP and BP, dissolves a wide range of substances, is itself mostly unreactive, is made from elements common in planets, does not react with oxygen, hydrogen, carbon or sulphur in the liquid state at ordinary pressures, and is easily formed in chemical reactions (which implies a small molecule). Water fits the bill extremely well. Another liquid which is quite good is ethyl alcohol. The other small molecules (ammonia, nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide, methane, methyl alcohol, hydrogen cyanide) all fall down badly or one or more of the criteria.

      Water may not be the only liquid that makes a suitable carrier for life, but it would be really hard to find a more suitable one. Human experiments to use alcohol instead are rarely successful for very long.

      • Water may not be the only liquid that makes a suitable carrier for life, but it would be really hard to find a more suitable one. Human experiments to use alcohol instead are rarely successful for very long.

        With the life we know, this indeed holds true. But I'm sure there could be life based on any number of weird building blocks, we just don't have them here. If you ask me, DNA/RNA aren't even required for life, life is a different concept altogether, very hard to define though.

        But seriously, water has
        • With the life we know, this indeed holds true. But I'm sure there could be life based on any number of weird building blocks, we just don't have them here.

          With a little application of the anthropic principle, why should we expect other life-bearing planets to be wildly different? I agree with your point that we shouldn't be looking just for what we have here, but we have two reasons to do that: 1. we know our data is good, and 2. we really don't know what else to look for.

          In fact, it reinforces my total agreement with you that [D|R]NA is not necessary for life. I believe that a good minimum for definining life is just adaptive behavior, i.e. evolution. Of course we aren't inclined to say things like evolutionary algorithms or simple adaptive chemical processes "are" life... but perhaps part of the problem with that is that we simply haven't let these things go on long enough to recognize them as life.

          In a universe this vast, it seems impossible to me that we could be the only life. One thing which I expect we'll find if we explore the universe in greater detail is that it's full of weird things. The weirdness of life doesn't come across when we sit at home in ultra-introspective mode, categorizing the minute differences between insects as though they're legendary incredible differences. The weirdness will come across when we're confronted by complex interrelated chemical and physical processes on other worlds, and our biologists won't want to call it life, while the rest of us will (or vice versa).

          For once a little manifest destiny would have been just fine. Instead, we're peering through expensive telescopes, while our ancestors are pointing at the leaning tower and asking us why we aren't dropping things from the top of it.

          --
          Daniel
          • In a universe this vast, it seems impossible to me that we could be the only life. One thing which I expect we'll find if we explore the universe in greater detail is that it's full of weird things. The weirdness of life doesn't come across when we sit at home in ultra-introspective mode, categorizing the minute differences between insects as though they're legendary incredible differences. The weirdness will come across when we're confronted by complex interrelated chemical and physical processes on other
        • by tigersha (151319) on Friday March 14, 2003 @09:03AM (#5510537) Homepage
          There is a large difference between D/RNA and water. Water is an extremel simple molecule and acts as the carrier for the processes in life. Nucleic acids are
          extremely complicated molecules that are used to store information (used to encode proteins)

          Now, it is quite possible to envision an organism which uses some non-nucleic acid information storage system. However, for the trivial carrier molecule there is not really that much choice.

          There are only so many simple molecules out there.

          In the medium-complexity range, whould there we any other chemical structures which could replace proteins? I am not a biochemist...

          I agree that we should not look for life just as ourselves. Alien life would probably not have DNA and might not have proteins. So we should not look for those.

          However, they would probably be water based and therefore that is a good starting point.

          AFAIK there is not many reasons to replace Carbon either, so they would probably be organic too. Another thing to look at.

          Anyways, I am not an biochemist, again. Soany comments from the experts are welcome.
      • by Xilman (191715) on Friday March 14, 2003 @07:24AM (#5510322) Homepage Journal
        Second, the remarkable thing about water is that based on simple chemical rules it should not be a liquid at ordinary temperatures: ammonia, with a similar MW, is a gas. It is the strong hydrogen bonding between water molecules that gives it the high melting and boiling points, and the very wide range between them.

        While that is true about water, it's also true about ammonia! There's quite strong hydrogen bonding in ammonia, which is why its boiling point and freezing point is so much higher than methane which genuinely doesn't have any hydrogen bonding. Methane has molecular weight of 16, ammonia of 17 and water of 18, so all these hydrides are quite similar in that respect. Their boiling points at atmospheric pressure are -161.6C, -33.4C and 100C respectively.

        ... does not react with oxygen, hydrogen, carbon or sulphur in the liquid state at ordinary pressures, and is easily formed in chemical reactions (which implies a small molecule).

        I fail to see why a life-sustaining fluid must not react with oxygen at ordinary pressures. (I fail to see why it need not react with the others noted for that matter, but oxygen is the odd one out.) Oxygen is such a viciously reactive gas that it reacts with almost anything that isn't already heavily oxygenated. There is only free oxygen in the Earth's atmostphere because it has been generated by living organisms which have reacted water with CO_2 to produce useful stuff and a nasty toxic byproduct. Organisms capable of withstanding the corrosive atmosphere came much later and those which actually require free O_2 even later.

        A biology that didn't use a hydrolysis reaction wouldn't produce a oxygenated atmosphere and ammonia would very probably serve well as a working fluid. An ammonia-water mixture would possibly be even more suitable.

        Paul

      • Water may not be the only liquid that makes a suitable carrier for life, but it would be really hard to find a more suitable one. Human experiments to use alcohol instead are rarely successful for very long.

        Well, I know a few people that have been sustaining such "experiments" for many years now . . .

      • Water may not be the only liquid that makes a suitable carrier for life, but it would be really hard to find a more suitable one. Human experiments to use alcohol instead are rarely successful for very long.


        Well, here in Texas there are a variety of human lifeforms that live off of alcohol instead of water.
      • Human experiments to use alcohol instead are rarely successful for very long.

        Mmmmmmm, Beer.
    • The porosity of the bed would be as much a factor as the presumed liquid. Factor in an alternate gravity, etc., and I'd say the odds of neo-water are 50/50.

      My $$ is on the theory that if there was an alternate liquid, it wouldn't flow as much as pool, and stay put, meaning we'd see it.
  • High res images (Score:5, Informative)

    by t0qer (230538) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:58AM (#5510109) Homepage Journal


    Higher res images [msss.com]


    (o) <----put that karma right here :P



  • by aerojad (594561) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:59AM (#5510113) Homepage Journal
    Until we stop looking at pictures and send some more probes and people over there. It can be done, and we'll finally know for sure.
  • by jade42 (608565) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:01AM (#5510117) Journal
    1. Beach resort
    2. Evaporate it for salt
    3. Water fights
    4. Endless discussion about life on Mars
    5. Experiments to see if fish could live on Mars
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:02AM (#5510121)
    "Mars is essentially in the same orbit... Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."

    - Vice President Dan Quayle, 8/11/89
    • by tjstork (137384)

      Hey, the guy wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but, during the really big budget deficit days of the late 80's and early 90's, Bush Sr was like, well let's axe NASA. Dan Quayle intervened to get NASA put back into the budget.
    • Yeah, I remember the movie Total Recall with R'Nold...a movie essentially about a colony on Mars. The scariest scene in the movie is when they show Quayle on the screen as President. I just about peed my pants! ;)



      • Yeah, I remember the movie Total Recall with R'Nold...a movie essentially about a colony on Mars. The scariest scene in the movie is when they show Quayle on the screen as President. I just about peed my pants! ;)

        You know what bothered me about TR? What did the martians breathe **WHILE** they building the air oxygen machine?

        Yeah, I know, Arnold movie - check your brain at the door. I love his movies, though. (Guilty Pleasure) My least-favorite-consequence -of-the-second-law-of-thermodynamics is tha
    • Maybe we can get ole Danny Boy to ride along with the next Mars mission [nasa.gov]. Let's tell him he'll be allowed to play fetch with Red Rover...
    • You know if you take that absolutely literally its funny as most people take it but few understand that fundamentally the guy is right on.

      Relatively speaking compared to other planets mars is in roughly the same orbit as earth.. I belive withen 1-2% difference actually.

      The canals are more and more likely turning out to be the result of flowing water or possibly CO2... good chance of both.

      With water or CO2 there is OXYGEN. cO2 O is for oxygen, the 2 stating there are 2 oxygen atoms per molecule. H2O has o
  • by Matimus (598096) <mccredieNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:04AM (#5510126)
    Although its exciting, It would seriously hinder us from engineering Mars into a livable planet. If we discover life there, people will have a big problem with messing up the eco system. I am all for dumping tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, warming the place up, and planting a bunch of trees. It would still be a long time before the environment would be safe for humans.
    • by bfinuc (162950) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:25AM (#5510196) Homepage Journal
      I disagree for two reasons:

      1) Going to Mars would probably suck. For example, I think living in Anarctica sounds a lot better. I predict the population of Mars will never exceed that of Antarctica.

      2) Finding life on Mars would be a massive boost to understanding life in general. I bet that if things get better in the next few centuries it will be because mankind improves things on Earth, and that understanding biology is going to be important in that process.

      So destroying life, however primitive, on Mars, is probably a bad bet, because colonizing Mars isn't going to help anyone anyway, and studying alien life may very well..
      • you lack the imagination to think 10 000 years forward, heck, 100 000 years should do it, or just make it a nice round million years. far by that if we don't get nuked to stone age(and even if we do) we can do it for relatively cheap and then we will do it.

        colonizing mars is not going to help anyone anymore than colonizing america.
      • Going to Mars would probably suck. For example, I think living in Anarctica sounds a lot better. I predict the population of Mars will never exceed that of Antarctica.

        You know, the Spanish empire ignored North America because it thought it was just a useless, barren wasteland. I can imagine them saying something similar. The Moon is a like Antarctica, Mars is more like northern Canada - difficult, but liveable.
      • Don't worry,

        I have it on good authority that the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one.

      • I predict the population of Mars will never exceed that of Antarctica.

        And I predict that no one will ever need more than 640k.... oh, wait...
    • by FFtrDale (521701) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:31AM (#5510211)
      Ours! Most of us old farts were sure when we were children that there would be colonies on Mars before 2003.

      Maybe Mars will be a great place to try our hand at terraforming, but whether there's life there or not, we'll see outrageous political battles over the attempt. Let's go anyway! Perhaps it'll have to be some far-off planet that gives us the chance to really engineer the place without massive protests by people on Earth who aren't doing anything themselves. That's no reason not to go to Mars and see what we can find out about the place with actual people there on the ground.

      And sure, [i]t would still be a long time before the environment would be safe for humans." Hey, this planet isn't all that safe for humans in the first place. Let's go.

      • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday March 14, 2003 @07:15AM (#5510307) Journal
        Most of us old farts were sure when we were children that there would be colonies on Mars before 2003. There would be except for the horrible politics that occurs here. Just when X-33 was about to yield some results, W. Kills it. We should be through the testing phase of it.
        Nixon killed NASA by cutting the budget massivly and leaving us with the shuttle. The original version would have gone to space at a fraction of the price of the current shuttle.
        Clinton totally perverted the Space Station from being a possible low-cost factory type assembly into a multi-nation nightmare.
        Raygun and Bush were not much better. Suggest ideas and then cut the budget. When projects are underfunded, we have accidents becuase managers up top push for what bit of money you have to go further. Engineers get ignored.
        The only thing holding us back is our politicians. I only hope that Zubrin is able to privitize space travel as our current politicians are killing it - literally.
      • A trip to mars right now is a one way trip.

        How, oh wise one, would you get back? Where would you find someone skilled enough to go to Mars that was willing to go there to die? Much less a whole crew?

        Also, our technology for renewable, self sustaining life, ON EARTH, isn't there yet. How would you expect to send up a living module complete enough to allow the group of suicide scientists to survive for any length of time AND still have time to do any exploration?

        Give it another 100 years, we'll get ther
        • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday March 14, 2003 @01:46PM (#5512855)
          >A trip to mars right now is a one way trip.
          >
          >How, oh wise one, would you get back? Where would you find someone skilled enough to go to Mars that was willing to go there to die? Much less a whole crew?

          How would you get back? You probably wouldn't. So what?

          Skills 1? Spaceships fly themselves for the most part. Martian colonists on one-way trips are spam in a can until they land.

          Skills 2? After spending six months in a can reading geology textbooks, they break out the pickaxe and start digging and taking pictures. Any of us reading this could do more in five minutes on Mars than has been done in the past 30 years.

          Volunteers? You ask for them.

          "Congratuations. You're going to Mars.

          Since there's nothing on Mars to spend your money on, we are going to pay one person of your choosing your "salary" of $100K/year for the rest of your life, or until you come back, whichever comes first.

          We will put you on the cheapest spaceship money can buy. Some of you will blow up on the pad. Some of you will have air leaks and suffocate or freeze en route. Some of you will burn up on re-entry. But at $50M per launch, some of you will land on Mars.

          Your mission, en route, is to read about rocks and learn how to use a microscope. Once there, your mission is to break big rocks into little rocks and tell us what you found.

          Your ship has an RTG (or better yet, a small nuclear reactor) that provides your capsule with electricity to break water into oxygen for you to breathe, alcohol to drink, and hydrogen for you to refuel your engines with. If you manage to find enough water, you will also be able to use that hydroponics lab to grow food for a while.

          Some of you will figure out how to get enough food, water, heat and oxygen out of your setup to last for months, maybe years. Some of you will live long enough to make it to the point where we've already landed half a dozen unfueled crew and sample return vehicles.

          We will pay you or your beneficiary $100,000 per pound of Mars rock that comes back. The return vehicles can carry 500 pounds. Whether you launch that thing with 500 pounds of rock, or 350 pounds of life support, your 140-pound ass, and 10 pounds of rocks, hey, that's up to you.

          I won't lie to you. Many of you will not be coming back, but we will see to it that you have one hell of an adventure."

          Every day, people sign up for what is fundamentally the same deal: If you're willing to do something you believe in, even knowing you might die, we will give you the equipment to do it. Soldiers have vastly better odds of survival than my Mars colonists, but keep in mind that they do it for a tenth of the pay.

          Believe me, a faster-riskier-cheaper manned space exploration programme would have no shortage of volunteers.

  • Oil :P (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:06AM (#5510137)
    That black stuff looks more like oil to me... Maybe mr. Bush will rush to Mars next.
    • you jest, but I think that would be outstanding. Nothing would change the administration's mind like the thought that crude oil is so abundant there that it flows freely on the ground. Talk about getting something done. Then you run the risk turning mars into something that looks like a boomtown with oil derricks everywhere. /sigh

      The point is moot, of course, owing to the fact that crude oil is biological in origin. Maybe millions of years ago, there were rainforests, martiansaurs, etc, and they became cru
    • Damn tootin'! Mars is a dangerous rogue state with a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. We have intelligence which proves Mars has worked with Al Qaeda to terrorize our world [fourmilab.ch] (but we can't share our information--it's classified). It is imperative that Mars dismantle its weapons of mass destruction; if they do not (or, heck, even if they do), we must disarm the Martians by force.

      War is our last option (wink wink nudge nudge), but sanctions and inspections have proven ineffective. Mars' continued

  • by ThresholdRPG (310239) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:06AM (#5510140) Homepage Journal
    All of this speculation really gets us no closer to any valuable knowledge than any probes, robots, or analysis from the past.

    We really need to get some actual PEOPLE there to gather some real data. This photo interpretation is only a little bit better than Rorschach Ink blot for crying out loud.

    The only real good that comes out of this is hopefully it will generate interest in the nimrods who don't see the value in getting some people on the planet.

    To quote Arnold: "Get your butt to Mars!"
    • The more likely it is that there is life on Mars, the more circumspect we should be about sending people there. I can't see how it would be possible to send people to the surface for any duration, without running a significant risk of the mars biosphere becoming contamined.

      Just by being there, we could destroy a biological system that has evolved in isolation for billions of years.
    • In order to send people, we would need to know that there are in-situ resources the crews could use. It would be far too expensive to send all of their consumables with them. Water provides many useful products: direct consumption, Oxygen to breathe, fuel for return, Power for fuel cells, etc...Same situation for the Hydrogen discovered on the Lunar Poles by Lunar Prospecter

      We know from Odyssey that there is hydrogen in the subsurface (at most a couple of meters from the surface), and it has been propos
  • I was just thinking at what temprature does water freeze on mars? Surely if there is running water it raises hope that there might some microbes living in it, however I would think that it might depend on the temprature water. Anyone got any ideas? Or am I just talking rubbish?

    Rus
  • by MegaFur (79453) <wyrd0.komy@zzn@com> on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:14AM (#5510167) Journal

    It's a nice idea, but, as usual, the details don't seem to reinforce the headline much. I can't blame Slashdot (much) for being sensational this time--the story submitter copied the headline from the BBC article. Although the submitter did manage to make it just that tiny bit more sensationist by removing the quotes from the word flows.

    The article says how the observed phenomena do all these various things that water should do. As Eric points out, water is not the only liquid. More generally, the question of importance is: what are the other possible causes for the observed phenonena? All we've really got are Dark Streaks and possible Dynamic Fluid Flow. That's not really so much to go on. Sure something's definitely happening down there, and it could be water or some other fluid--but that's all we know right now.

  • and at the same time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lingqi (577227) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:23AM (#5510184) Journal
    radiation on mars is killer [ananova.com]

    darn, eh?

  • by x136 (513282) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:25AM (#5510197) Homepage
    Water? Look at the pictures. It's obviously the black oil from The X-Files.
  • Uhm. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by skrotnisse (616131)
    Why the rush in making Mars an inhabitable planet when we are doing just the opposite on Earth?

    Shouldn't we at least try to fix THIS eco-system before we go screw another one?
    • Why would we wait to fix a current problem before making a new one.

      Fixing stuff is hard work. Wrecking things is easy, maybe even... fun.

  • So, fans of the exotic, do you thirst for MarsHydro? [marshydro.com]. How much would YOU pay for a litre of the purest of the pure?

    Postage and Shipping not included. Add $4995.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2003 @07:51AM (#5510373)
    I read this story and my first thought was "Is mars still volcanically active?" Not by earth standards, but supposedly, it is [spacedaily.com].
  • Not new! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Squareball (523165) on Friday March 14, 2003 @08:29AM (#5510443)
    Over 2 years ago Richard C. Hoagland was on Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell and sad discovered this very thing after looking through images that came back from our mars explorer.
    Enterprise Mission [enterprisemission.com]
    So not only is echelon real, not it's confirmed that RCH was right all along. Starts to make these conspiracy shows a little more credible doesn't it?
  • I really don't see -- and am hoping to be enlightened by the Slashdot masses -- why it is so interesting if there really is water on Mars. I clearly understand that this may be an indication of simple forms of life, ie. microorganisms, inhabiting the planet, but what does this really do for humanity over the long run?

    Does this lead people to think that the herculean effort of trying to terraform a planet like Mars is more feasible?

    Does this lead credence to the concept of Mars previously having been in

    • For one it would dramatically simplify colonization of Mars: You wouldn't have to bring huge quantities of your own water, and you'll have hydrogen readily available for fuel (for return flights). Both dramatically reduce the mass you'd need to transport to Mars to set up and maintain a colony.
    • why it is so interesting if there really is water on Mars.

      If there is simple life on Mars, there is the possibility that life in this Solar system began on Mars, not Earth. Problems with life beginning on Earth are that it was too hot (around 4 billion years ago when they figure life should have begun) with meteors crashing into it continually so that the surface was basically a sea of lava. Mars was more hospitable at that time.

      We've found fragments of Mars, blasted off by impacts, on Earth, so life

  • by Slashdolt (166321) on Friday March 14, 2003 @09:30AM (#5510644)
    "Placitas, NM, 07/19/2000 -- New research by investigators for the Enterprise Mission (www.enterprisemission.com), a private, not-for-profit space science research organization, has revealed strong evidence of present day liquid water on Mars in recent Mars Global surveyor images. Coming on the heels of the June 22nd, 2000 NASA press conference in which Malin Space Science Systems investigators Michael Malin and Kenneth Edgett asserted the possibility that Mars may have had liquid water in the geologically recent past, this new photographic evidence confirms that liquid water is almost certainly existent on Mars today."

    The rest is below.

    http://www.enterprisemission.com/press-water.htm l
  • Life on mars = ??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Drunken_Jackass (325938) on Friday March 14, 2003 @09:40AM (#5510698) Homepage
    So I was wondering. If there is, in fact, water on mars. And if because of that, there was life on mars - microbiotic. What would we do?

    Aside from all of the theoligical implications, what would our response be? Would we collect it to near extinction ala early biologists (let's kill it, stuff it, and put it under glass) or would we just leave it alone? Would we bring it back here (unlikely) and if so, where would we put it?

    I always kind of assumed that if we found life, it would be more simple than science fiction has postured, but i never really thought of the implications of that simplicity.
  • In the article, they mention that geothermal heat could be causing the ice to melt... This dredges up some foggy memories: I seem to recall having heard that Mars no longer had any active volcanism, and that mantle may have solidified (a lack a magnetic field being a strong indicator of this)

    I'm not a geologist (or exogeologist for that matter) and so I'm not claiming any special knowledge here, but it keeps bugging the back of my mind - Any insights?
  • Anyone fancy a swim ?
  • pack a bowl (Score:3, Funny)

    by EvilStein (414640) <spam.pbp@net> on Friday March 14, 2003 @12:03PM (#5511872) Homepage
    Water on Mars? Woah...that might make some really kick ass bong water!
  • by bluyonder (643628) on Friday March 14, 2003 @12:38PM (#5512201)
    As I understand it the median atmospheric pressure on Mars is very close to the triple point of water. In my opinion this is not a coincidence. The fact that Mars atmosphere is balanced at a point where liquid water will form indicates to me that water is a controlling factor in Mars' environment. Since the median pressure on Mars is close to the triple point of water that means, at the lowest altitude areas on Mars, liquid water could exist on the surface at temperatures just above freezing. The water would quickly evaporate though because Mars' atmosphere is so dry.
  • by barakn (641218) on Friday March 14, 2003 @02:51PM (#5513425)
    Credible scientists as well as the lunatics were claiming the stains were a sign of water quite a while ago. What is new about this most recent observation is that newstains have been found (i.e. we now have photos before and after their formation). This just strengthens an old argument; it isn't a new argument.
  • More details (Score:4, Informative)

    by Drog (114101) on Friday March 14, 2003 @03:18PM (#5513662) Homepage
    Another article on this (with a ton of links) can be found here [scifitoday.com].

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai

Working...