Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mars Science

Where in the World is Mars' Water? (axios.com) 102

An anonymous reader shares an Axios report: In the beginning, Mars was a water world. But at some point in Mars' distant past, much of that water disappeared, leaving behind polar ice caps and a complex geology. Figuring out just where it went has been a major priority for scientists -- life as we know it can't exist without water, and any future settlers would need a steady supply. A new study, published Wednesday in Nature, suggests that much of what remains might in inaccessible. Some went into space, but even more of it may have sunk into the ground like a sponge, only to become bound up in minerals deep within the planet. "Mars, by virtue of its chemistry, was doomed from the start," study author Jon Wade, of Oxford University, tells Axios.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Where in the World is Mars' Water?

Comments Filter:
  • by Deadstick ( 535032 ) on Thursday December 21, 2017 @10:01AM (#55782947)

    Do planetologists use the term "geology" when they're talking about another planet?

  • by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <thyamineNO@SPAMofdragons.com> on Thursday December 21, 2017 @10:02AM (#55782955) Homepage Journal
    It's really for our own benefit that it's so inaccessible.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Thursday December 21, 2017 @10:12AM (#55783011) Homepage

    I thought it was pretty much settled? Thin atmosphere, solar radiation disassociated water into hydrogen and oxygen, the hydrogen left, the oxygen combined with various minerals. At least, that's what I had learned...

    • I thought it was pretty much settled? Thin atmosphere, solar radiation disassociated water into hydrogen and oxygen, the hydrogen left, the oxygen combined with various minerals. At least, that's what I had learned...

      For our lifetime, or our kids lifetimes, absolutely... 500 years from now... I'm placing no bets.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The article implies that while photo-disassociation of water after the collapse of the planet's magnetic field was one factor in the loss, another larger process was the sequestration into the planets mantle.

    • No magnetic field either

    • Theres a lot of debate about the efficiency of atmospheric stripping and hence water loss. It apparently depends on a lot of modelling assumptions and there's also a fair amount of evidence for water locked up in the cryosphere of Mars. However, what we're saying is that irrespective of atmosphere loss or potential water stores, Mars was doomed from the off by virtue of its mantle chemistry. Liquid water would simply react with its surface rocks, forming dense hydrous minerals which then allows a transpor
  • earth. thats where.
  • A new study, published Wednesday in Nature, suggests that much of what remains might in inaccessible.

    Maybe they should invest in a sleepcheckers instead.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday December 21, 2017 @10:27AM (#55783135)
    but in my defense I was really, really thirsty. But at least I didn't blame it on Albino Nameks (too obscure?).
  • Underground in a structured form like H2O3, H3O4 or some other derivative.
  • If Mars had a Racnoss ship as its core like Earth does it might have been better at sustaining life.
    • by judoguy ( 534886 )

      If Mars had a Racnoss ship as its core like Earth does it might have been better at sustaining life.

      Until the children are awakened!

  • by ve3oat ( 884827 ) on Thursday December 21, 2017 @10:38AM (#55783199)
    I have long thought that much of the "evidence" for water on Mars, that is, the sculpted features of the Martian landscape, were due simply to the action of the thin wind there over thousands and millions of years. Living in Canada and having over the decades often observed the sculpting of snow by the wind here, it seems to me the parallels are obvious. The wind does surprising things to snow, both light and heavy snow, and I see many similarities in the thought-to-be-water-sculpted features on Mars.

    It ain't the long-gone water, it's the thin but ever-present wind.
    • Although there are also aeolian features on Mars, wind doesn't carve the particular kinds of features in the Viking images that are the ones mostly attributed to water, e.g., http://solarviews.com/cap/mars... [solarviews.com]

      Geologists argued for a long time, though, about whether the fluid that carved the features was actually water, or some other fluid. But now that we have ground truth measurements from the rovers, the case for water is pretty well established.

    • Your theory does not explain why the northern hemisphere has less visible craters than the bottom hemisphere. An ocean preventing impact craters would explain it pretty well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      author here. Some cross bedding features could be wind generated (ha! geography!). But theres also a lot of evidence of hydrous minerals - clays, etc - and evidence of frozen ice, especially in the Northern basin of Mars.
    • https://www.nasa.gov/sites/def... [nasa.gov]

      Wind doesn't produce branching riverbeds filled with rounded stones.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Did you check Uranus?

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday December 21, 2017 @10:39AM (#55783215)
    All the water was used to fill Waldo and Carmen San Diego's pool. Find them and you find the water.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Any thoughts that settling another planet is easier than dealing with the solvable issues on this planet are absurb. Establish a colony on Mars in the name of scientific exploration? OK, maybe it is feasible. But to view Mars as a new Earth with large human populations? Not feasible with foreseeable tehnology! The energy required is huge the likelihood of long-term success is small. We will never have a self sustaining settlement that is not vulnerable to a cascade of mechanical failures that lead to

    • One of the concerning things about it as well due to the failure of mechanical systems, it would seem such colonies would be constantly dependant on imports from earth to maintain it. Earth already has its own resource problems without supporting colonies on other planets. unless a colony can be completely self sufficient, it would damage earth's resources.

      At best, it might be able to host a small scientific colony but the idea of any large scale population is really, really far fetched.

      The absurdity of mar

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday December 21, 2017 @11:31AM (#55783601)

    ... into the ground.

    The earth's water is kept on the surface by geothermal heat. Any water that trickles down through fissures is quickly heated and vented back into the atmosphere as steam. Mars' geothermal output has cooled to the point that there is little, if any active volcanism. And so the water stays underground.

  • Martian water currently exists as a fictional entity in government grant requests.

    This is the same place it originated from.

    The intent is to burn off immeasurable amounts of tax payers resources just as the Martian atmosphere has been burned away by the Sun.
  • And as a LONG time slashdot botherer (yeah, I've lost my UID more than once....) I'm more than happy to answer questions (if I can!) shit - this is the pinnacle of my science career - SLASHDOT!!!
    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      Might it not be easier to reengineer the human body to no longer require regular intake of water, than to squeeze it from stones in other environments like Mars?

  • ... will be entrusted to Astronaut Carmen Sandiego [wikipedia.org] who is fully trained for space adventures [wikipedia.org].

  • Where is it??,maybe buried by zillions of years of space duct 100 feet below the surface. why not?

Help fight continental drift.

Working...