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Did Mars Have Salty Oceans.
Clearing up the recent discovery of water on Mars...
I've had several people ask me essentially the same question, so I thought I'd send an answer to everyone: "Why is everyone so excited about this recent water discovery; didn't NASA already know there was water on Mars?"
Yes, NASA has known for a long time that Mars used to have water; when the first orbiters went to Mars back in the 60s and 70s they returned photos containing clear evidence of past water on Mars - oceans, lakes, rivers and floodplains. The photos also showed ancient meteor craters (over a billion years old) smashed into these features. Since the features have to be older than the craters, this indicates the water disappeared a long time ago.
The new photos taken by the Mars Global Surveyor show just the opposite: streams caused by water obscuring very young features on the planet. My favorite example is the runoff from a stream that obscures sand dunes. Sand dunes on Earth don't last long, and tend to shift around over time. This means the water was on the planet very recently.
Okay, so they've found evidence that liquid water's been on Mars recently, what's the big deal? Well, research on Earth seems to indicate that wherever you find liquid water you find life: a kilometer under the ground, in vents at the bottom of the ocean, in radioactive waste, inside rocks at Antarctica. Liquid water seems to be the only requirement.
So, if there's liquid water on Mars, or even under the surface, it significantly increases the chance of finding life there too. And if we can find life on the first planet we look at, it significantly increases the chance that life is abundant in the universe.
So, there you go. Hopefully this clears up why this is such an incredible discovery. If other news needs clearing up, just let me know.
Did Mars Have Salty Oceans?
Zvezda Launch Date Set
Proton Lifts Communication satellite Into Orbit
New Rover Tested in the Nevada Desert
DID MARS HAVE SALTY OCEANS?
Hot on the heels of the recent Martian water discovery, geologists from ASU believe they've found evidence that Mars' oceans used be salty. After analyzing a meteorite believed to come from Mars, and discovered in Egypt in 1911, the team found water-soluble ions that could have been deposited by an evaporating ocean. The similarities between Earth and Mars continue to grow.
ZVEZDA LAUNCH DATE SET
The long-awaited Zvezda command module for the International Space Station is just about ready for launch. Russian space managers tentatively announced that the module will launch on board a Proton rocket on July 12. If successful, the launch will put development of the spacestation two years behind schedule.
PROTON LIFTS COMMUNICATION satellite INTO ORBIT
After a one-day delay, a Proton rocket launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on Saturday carrying a Express communications satellite. This successful launch helps build Russia's credibility for the upcoming Zvezda launch on July 12th
NEW ROVER TESTED IN THE NEVADA DESERT
Back in May, scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab tested a new rover designed for a future mission to Mars. Named FIDO, the rover was put through its paces in the Nevada Desert, while being controlled from by JPL engineers in California. All communications with the robot were transmitted by a satellite overhead. If successful, the robot's technologies may be incorporated into upcoming Mars missions.
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