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NASA Mars Space

NASA Finds Evidence of Recent Flowing Water on Mars 238

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the some-bound-to-claim-theory-is-all-wet dept.
SonicSpike writes to mention that Scientists are claiming that they have evidence of water flowing on Mars within the last five years. From the article: "Subsurface aquifers or melting ground ice were floated as possible sources of the water. One of the springs even appears at a fault line, according to Malin, just as they often do on Earth. The shortness of the gulleys, which seem to flow for but a few hundred yards, might be accounted for by a process similar to a volcano's eruption on Earth, with water instead of magma building up underground, and ice, instead of fire, characterizing the resulting flow."
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NASA Finds Evidence of Recent Flowing Water on Mars

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  • by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:17PM (#17136678) Journal
    It would be cool if NASA could keep a few micro-probes in reserve in Mars orbit that could be de-orbited as needed to investigate these kinds of phenomenon as they are discovered. Nothing large and complicated like a rover, just a very hi-resolution camera and some very basic devices to measure the local environment. The real trick would be getting pinpoint accuracy on the landing. To save weight and increase simplicity they need not even be designed to survive landing, just to deliver a high speed data squirt to an orbiter as they collect the most relevant and valuable data on their way down by parachute. If they do survive the landing they only need enough power to last long enough to send a few more surface condition measurements -- again the emphasis on cheap and expendable.

    At the other end of the scale we need to develop landers that can investigate hard to get to locations like the very bottom of Valles Marineris. I assume this is where what little atmosphere there is would be the most dense, warm, and possibly moist. This would also be the most sheltered location on Mars from all forms of ionizing radiation.
  • by Chaffar (670874) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:28PM (#17136890)
    I find it interesting that NASA also mentioned this week that they want to build a forward base on the moon in order to allow for further exploration of the Solar System, specifically Mars.
    Are they trying to drum up some support for their project ? Or just coincidence ?
  • Re:Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:32PM (#17136964)
    I don't think NASA suffered from Dogma - more of an abundance of caution. Even know, I don't know how they can tell that the structures seen in the pictures are actual water, and not just sand that behaves similarly to a liquid.

    Personally, I'll believe the H2O theory when someone actually pokes one of those areas, and they find water in either ice or liquid form.
  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@nosPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:35PM (#17137020) Homepage
    It would be cool if NASA could keep a few micro-probes in reserve in Mars orbit that could be de-orbited as needed to investigate these kinds of phenomenon as they are discovered. [... snippage ...] If they do survive the landing they only need enough power to last long enough to send a few more surface condition measurements -- again the emphasis on cheap and expendable.

      "Cheap and expendable" and "in orbit around Mars in reserve for an indefinite amount of time" are mutally exclusive.
  • Mod parent up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zeromorph (1009305) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:48PM (#17137228)
    They just need more funding.

    You probably can't get closer to the reality. BBC [bbc.co.uk] is reporting it too and there they say:

    "Other scientists think it possible that gullies like this were caused not by water but by liquid carbon dioxide.

    One of the reasons for favouring CO2 was that computer models of the Martian crust indicated water could exist only at depths of several kilometres. Liquid carbon dioxide, on the other hand, could persist much nearer the surface where temperatures can drop as low as -107C."

    But for funding it just has to be water, that's science and that's sad.
    (I don't blame them, I know game too, different league, same rules.)

  • NASA PR (Score:2, Insightful)

    by solanum (80810) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @11:12PM (#17141078)
    Who is controlling NASA PR these days, and who decides to put these stories out? A few years ago there was the 'bacteria in meteorites' tale and they've been desperate to imply running water on Mars, with a pile of puff pieces over the last couple of years.

    Now I have the highest respect for the NASA scientists and I don't doubt their work, but both in the 'bacteria' case and in this one there are far more likely scenarios, which are supported by plenty of good scientists. They publish in the media anyway and in the long run it makes them look foolish, when the guys doing the work certainly are not. I've read a few of the published articles from the Mars research in scientific journals, well 'Science' anyway ;-) and sometimes they don't even have the same conclusions that the PR pieces have...

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