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Mars NASA Science

NASA Announces Discovery of Salty Water On Mars ... Maybe 204

Posted by timothy
from the why-don't-they-just-taste-it? dept.
Today's promised mystery announcement from NASA has finally been made: dotancohen writes "A NASA orbiter has found possible evidence for water on the surface of Mars that flows seasonally. The water likely would be salty, in keeping with the salty Martian environment." Adds an anonymous reader: "Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring, NASA says, and repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars' southern hemisphere." You can find more on the claimed find at NASA TV.
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NASA Announces Discovery of Salty Water On Mars ... Maybe

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2011 @03:53PM (#36989910)

    How about a video?

    http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?collection_id=14483&media_id=104892521&module=homepage

  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @04:01PM (#36990012)

    Something like that.... It could be briny salt water or something else...

    Lisa Pratt used the example of putting a bottle of soda in the freezer to a reporter asking questions.... Before soda completely freezes, the bottle of soda forms an ice made of pure water and it is surrounded by a concentrated solution of sugars and syrup that is super sweet still in liquid form. A similar freezing process is believed to be happening in Mars, where they think it is a briny solution that is seeping out of the surface from the underground ice water as that solution has yet to freeze compared to ice water.

    It's pretty cool stuff. If there are seasonal cycles like this in the subsurface of Mars, then it is most likely that there are some extreme microbes in there that feed off of this solution... They say that if earth had no seasons, then there would be very little diversity in life and this finding shows there are seasonal cycles that might possibly support life.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @05:29PM (#36991026) Journal

    True, but what's the best way of doing that? It cost NASA half a billion every time they launched a shuttle. Sure, they do some research, but it's a fraction of their budget. Justifying NASA's budget because of spin-off technologies is like justifying military spending for the same reason - there's a grain of truth there, but you get a lot more results if you invest in results, rather than in explosions with a little bit of research around the edge.

    The problem with funding space travel now is that we really don't have the technology to do it well, and funding space research doesn't give us that technology. Most of the materials we need, and the computing power that's required, for the present generation of space craft came from other research. Space was just a side venture. The materials, medical, and energetic technology that we need for a space program that's anything other than dick waving is still decades away.

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