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NASA Mars Space

NASA Finds Evidence of Recent Flowing Water on Mars 238

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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  • I bet.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xx01dk ( 191137 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:13PM (#17136598)
    they are going to be looking at a lot of before / after pictures now. I'm looking forward to as well. Very interesting.
  • by moehoward ( 668736 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:21PM (#17136750)

    For water to flow, it has to have gotten to the source of the flow first. So, there has to be a mechanism for transport back to the source of the flow. Like rain moves water on Earth back to higher ground. The article offers no speculation on this transport mechanism. I would, of course, suspect evaporation and then dew/frost. But, that would be picked up easily from our probes and even from Earth-based observation.

    What am I missing here?
  • Move over... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BinarySkies ( 920189 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:22PM (#17136774) Homepage
    Move over, Dasani, Poland Spring, and Evian... Here comes Lunar Liquid!
  • Funny (Score:3, Interesting)

    by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:23PM (#17136812)
    There's been pictures indicating recent water flowing for years. Guess the evidence got overwhelming. There's been also strong evidence of seasonal darkening as if the ground was damp during summer months. I found a camera shot years ago that showed the ground next to the rover that seemed to show a patch of water maybe the size of your palm. The ground around that was dark. NASA definately suffers from dogma. The current dogma had been for a dry Mars. Just glad they are surrendering finally and accepting the evidence. Given the resistence to change I think it'll take samples brought back from Mars to prove life. There was evidence as far back as Viking but still no missions looking for direct signs of life. I'd love to see that resolved during my lifetime but I have my doubts. It may have to wait for the manned mission and even then there'll be debate for years if something is found if NASA brought it there themselves.
  • by silentounce ( 1004459 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:34PM (#17136998) Homepage
    That moon base plan has been the works for a long time, but the timing of the announcements may not be a coincidence.
  • by jespley ( 1006115 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @06:45PM (#17138176)
    For what it's worth, I should point out that this is perfectly consistent with the story that's been gradually developing over the years. We know that there are substantial amounts of hydrogen in the first few meters of most of the Martian crust (cf. the MO Gamma-ray spectrometer) and hence there is likely water ice there. We know that in the distance past large quantities of liquid water flowed on the surface to carve the fluvial geomorphological features we see (cf. MGS MOC images). We know that liquid water sloshed in at least some areas to form certain minerals (cf. MER results). We've seen gullies on the sides of craters that looked recent (cf. MGS MOC images). And now this study which shows gullies being created over the timeframe of a few Earth years. Basically, this is just one more little increment in our understanding of the distribution of water on Mars. This is how science usually works but sometimes press releases unduly hype things.
  • recent (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:17PM (#17138602)
    when I read "recent" i thought it might be 1000-2000 years old but five years is, like, fresssh.
  • by pln2bz ( 449850 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @08:05PM (#17139302)
    I'm going to throw a bunch of links at you here, but this should answer your question.

    First, look at the electric dust devils of Mars etching the ground black as it moves across: 16dustdevil.htm []

    Now look at the scalloped curled trenches that would result from a pair of Birkeland Currents twisting around one another (as happens in plasma globes). The scalloping and flat bottoms are exactly the same thing you notice on asteroid and cometary craters too ... 29curly.htm []

    More Martian electric rilles. You've seen the electric dust devils now, so this should not be any great mystery ... 18europamars.htm []

    Domed craters on Mars look precisely like things that have been generated in the lab with electricity ... 16domes.htm [] 25blueberries.htm []

    And next, the "collapsed lava tubes" ... "Lava tubes on Earth are only a few meters wide. The width of channels on Ascraeus Mons are measured in thousands of meters. Even with Mars' lesser gravity, solidified lava is not strong enough to span such distances: None of the channels should be covered.": 11ascraeus.htm []

    Rilles exist on the Moon, Earth, Mars and Venus (among other planets), and yet we ascribe different geological mechanisms for nearly all of these. Shouldn't we also consider that one single phenomenon is possibly causing many of them? We know, for instance, that the Grand Canyon was not carved out by the Colorado River because it would have had to plough straight through a gigantic plateau called the Kaibab Upwarp. Interestingly, scientists to this day cannot agree on what caused the Grand Canyon and the fact that entire geological records are missing for that canyon doesn't help either ... 08marineris.htm []

    Remember this? When the rover was mysteriously cleaned? What's so mysterious about electrostatic cleaning? 31roverclean.htm []

    But my favorite of all time is the mysterious Martian geysers popularized in the news media like here: rs/ []

    The fact that somebody can look at these images (pictured below) and conclude that they are geysers rather than the remnants of electrical strikes ... well, let's just say that I rest my case with this article ... 24spiders.htm []

    Water on Mars? I'll believe it when astronauts are drinking it.
  • (!Water - !Life) ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by l0cust ( 992700 ) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @05:27AM (#17143374) Journal
    I don't understand this particular stand which most of the professional/amateur scientists seem to have about the conditions necessary for 'Life' to exist anywhere. Surely we can say that life, as we know it on earth (or the type we have seen so far on earth), needs water to exist but why the generalization ? Why is it necessary that all types of life everywhere in the universe has to be carbon based ? Why should even the lowest level consciousness need water to exist ? We frequently talk about the future when AI will be indistinguishable from human intelligence and still put water as one of the indispensable ingredients when we go looking for life in other planets.

    Its a huge flight of fantasy but why can't there theoretically be Sulphur/Silicon based life in say Mars or Venus (or even Mercury) The life we know as it exists on Earth will not be able to survive in those condition but then that is probably the reason we are not living there. If there is actually life in those places then I am sure it is well suited to survive in those "extreme" conditions.

    Yeah I know the primary purpose of searching for signs of water is to decide if we can someday colonize that particular planet or its satellites but when someone proclaims something like "No evidence of water therefore no life possible on that Planet", I really wonder about the possible pockets of Life we may be ignoring.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde