DeathscytheX

Curiosity finds water on Mars

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http://gizmodo.com/nasas-curiosity-rover-just-found-water-in-martian-soil-1403908591
 

Just when you thought ol' Curiosity was digging in for the winter, the little discovery machine came up with a doozy: It discovered water in Martian soil. NASA scientists just published five papers in Science detailing the experiments that led to the discovery. That's right. There's water on Mars.

Impressive as it is, though, the discovery comes with some caveats. It's not like Curiosity stumbled on a lost lake under a mountain or a stream trickling across the landscape. Rather, it found water molecules bound to other minerals in Martian soil. There's kind of a lot of it, too. Researchers say that every cubic foot of Martian soil contains about two pints of liquid water. All things told, about two percent of the Martian soil is made of up water.

"We tend to think of Mars as this dry place—to find water fairly easy to get out of the soil at the surface was exciting to me," Laurie Leshin, dean of science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, told The Guardian. She also explained how the discovery was made. Curiosity picked up and sieved a scoop of soil from the surface before dropping it into an on-board oven. "We heat [the soil] up to 835C and drive off all the volatiles and measure them," she said. "We have a very sensitive way to sniff those and we can detect the water and other things that are released."

Of course, this isn't the first sign of water on the red planet. Back in June, Curiosity scooped up a rock specimen that contained a type of clay only be formed in neutral water telling scientists that Mars was once home to running water. And of course, scientists have long suspected water once existed on the planet due to various formations across the Martian landscape. In fact, it's widely believed that water existed in abundance on Mars, perhaps just as prominently as it does on Earth.

The discovery is important for a number of reasons, but especially exciting because of what this means for future missions to Mars. "We now know there should be abundant, easily accessible water on Mars," says Leshin. "When we send people, they could scoop up the soil anywhere on the surface, heat it just a bit, and obtain water." She makes it life on Mars sound so easy; now we just have to figure out how to get around that the quantity of deadly radiation we'll encounter on the trip over.

Update (5pm) We reached out to Dean Leshin to ask what the discovery of water meant for the larger question of life on Mars, and she replied with a shade of optimism:

Although we found water bound up in the soil particles, it's still pretty dry. Also, we didn't find evidence of organic molecules in the soil. So, this doesn't have a very big bearing on the life on Mars discussion. However, we now know that our instruments are working beautifully, and our next step is to drill into rocks that may have been better places to preserve evidence or organics and of wet environments that could be suitable for life.

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And of course, scientists have long suspected water once existed on the planet due to various formations across the Martian landscape.

 

Wait.... if lots of water once existed on Mars.... And its no longer on Mars.... Then who would want to live on Mars knowing that the any (remaining) water on Mars might disappear as well?....


No Title II Net Neutrality, No Future.

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I'm glad they found water on mars. If there is water molecules in the soil, then there is a possibility of underground water reservoirs. I don't think Curiosity is equipped with ground penetrating radar.. it would be interesting if it could do random sweeps and maybe find possible underground rivers.


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It doesn't mater if there were rivers on Mars. Don't get me wrong, I think it would be awsome to start a colony lol but the problem is we can't safely get there.

 

 

Are we there yet?

 

Problem: Trip time.

A round-trip human expedition to Mars, using current technology, could take two to three years. The slower you go, the more supplies you are forced to take and the higher the odds of a catastrophic collision with a meteoroid. Astronauts would lose more muscle and bone mass as a result of the longer stay in microgravity. And they would be exposed to larger doses of cosmic rays and solar energetic particles, increasing the probability of cancer.

 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/story/2012-09-02/Mars-obstacles-for-humans/57516356/1

 

But I suppose finding water would be a start, but also while they spend Millions on Mars and other space programs, the economy takes longer to recover and the government shutdown didn't exactly help that either. 


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Yea I agree, every time they went into space they used 500,000 gallons. I think it would be cool and more efficient if they used a type of rail gun system like in Blue Gender.


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Whats really interesting is that NASA was looking into that for the past 3 years.

 

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-11/nasa-engineers-propose-combining-rail-gun-and-scramjet-fire-spacecraft-orbit

 

Basically they use a rail gun to launch a scramjet, which then accelerates even faster, gets up higher and then releases the space vehicle that then launches its thrusters to get into space. Significantly less fuel usage, but its much more complicated.

 

The US Navy currently has Rail Gun tech, but nothing close to being able to launch a scramjet:

 

 

And the US Air Force has finally succeeded in getting their new scramjet prototypes to reach mach 5 safely.

 

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/air-forces-x-51a-hypersonic-aircraft-sets-record-during-its-6C9764973

 

Maybe in another 10 years the initial cost of getting into space will be significantly reduced because of these methods. And once in space, maybe they'll deploy some sort of rail gun propulsion.


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Yea, I've always said they needed to take 10 to 20 years off and develop technology, I mean look how old the shuttles were. The shuttle Endeavour was built in 1991, most people don't even have cars that old. Granted the shuttles are way more expensive and should last longer, but look at the punishment they take every time they launch.

 

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/08/03/nasa-awards-11-billion-in-support-for-3-private-space-taxis/

 

Doesn't look like they took much time off lol


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NASA is paying a crap load of money to Russia to get into space. China will have a moon colony before the U.S. at this rate.. maybe thats why NASA has it internet ready.. they'll charge China outrageous prices for internet access so the US can pay off its debt. :P


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Atmosphere isn't feasible. Colonization would be hard with those storms and what not. Setting up an area that is habitable with oxygen is key. Then growing vegetation and recycling water, using solar panels I'd assume.


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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One of the best concepts I've read about for colonizing Mars involved sending robots and raw materials to the planet and having the bots use built in advanced 3D printers to build a framework and outer shell of entire colony.


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We could still do that with humans. The tech for robots to do that isn't there yet. But as for now now, we as humans could go there with a solar powered 3D printer and do it. In fact, NASA should have one up there for them, to help build shit they need to replace if it's within the parameters of making acceptable craft-material.


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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The tech is getting there:

 

NASA is planning on building things in space, with 3D printing Robot Spiders

 

But those are robots designed for zero g. On Mars, they'd need something completely different. I think the big problem with getting humans on the surface to build structures is the physical labor and the restrictions of the space suits.. and the potential for accidents would be far too high. A single puncture in a space suit and someone could be dead. That and they'd need a base like the space station on the surface to live in. The only manned vehicles to land on a body of mass in space was the apollo landers on the moon and those were very small. Getting Curiosity onto Mars was quite elaborate.. but getting an intact large habitable module onto the surface would be an amazing accomplishment.


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