A couple of days ago, it was big news when ice was found on Mars. Now, an upcoming study in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta claims that the Martian environment was once wet enough to produce morning dew. This finding runs counter to the more widely accepted view that liquid water on Mars seeped up from the ground, rather than falling from the sky as precipitation.
While the Phoenix rover is getting all of the press these days, the new study actually used records from older probes like Viking, Pathfinder and Opportunity. The study's authors looked at data collected between 1976 and 2006 at different locations on Mars. In the various samples the researchers looked at, the soil had been depleted of elements that should have been present at the formation of the particular rock types. The absence of those elements indicates that water washed out the soil while moving downward. In contrast, had the water rose through the surface as previously thought, the soil would have been enriched with minerals from lower levels of rock.
The always important subtext to discoveries of extraterrestrial water is the knowledge that where there is water, there is life. By introducing the possibility of rain to Mars, the study shows that the planet could have been wet far more recently than previously believed; that longer wet period would have provided more time for some form of organic material to develop. And while there is still no proof that there is or was life on Mars, at the rate scientists are discovering water, we may want to rethink the whole "Red Planet" moniker.
a good thing that should be funded by Congress and NASA to SAVE very much TIME and MONEY and launch GIANT probes/rovers to Mars and beyond:
First Look at the 10 m. fairing + 3 standard SRBs Ares 5+
It's the Phoenix lander, not rover.
gaetanomara - HOW does YOUR personal ISSUE with NASA have ANYTHING to do with THIS article?
Very exciting to see new studies into old data, wonder why they didn't check that before? Makes me wonder if there is other data that has been collected on all those missions nobody ever thought to cross-check before...
they need to address the +8 on the negaative - 5 , or maybe the 1, 2 1, 2 in other words your all a buncha dorks..lol
"Makes me wonder if there is other data that has been collected on all those missions nobody ever thought to cross-check before."
Yea thats a good point. We've been spending millions to send more and more complex robots to mars but have we been keeping up with what we started in the 70's. Hopefully this will encourage more scientists to rethink some of our generally accepted theories about mars. Cant wait for Phoenix to dig up something new.
PS. we need a moderator to ban gaetanomara. I dont know what the policy is for popsci.com but normally spamming ads for your blog and flaming are not acceptable. Besides getting angry and posting a whole bunch of hate towards nasa is just a waste of electricity.
yea hes just wasting our time with his nonsence ban this man!!!
hes like a disgruntled employeee.
It would be nice to see an article that is significant about Mars. We have been hearing the same story since the 70's. Speculative words are always being used such as "Apparently"& "Possibility" findings of water. What if "definitely" there is no water, would NASA lose it's funding? Where is the flip side to this argument? We never hear that water can NOT exist on the surface of Mars. Due to the low pressures, water will boil off the surface into space.
BTW... it is the Pheonix "Lander"... not a rover.
Well we can't jump to any conclusions here. We still need more info but NASA does need to send bigger rovers to Mars, no matter the cost. As long as it advances our knowledge of the planet and its resources.
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i think mars is gonna have a terraformed surface by 2061