NASA finds liquid water on Mars

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RCT Bob
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NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby RCT Bob » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:51 pm UTC

Now there's some positive news.

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I think it's quite amazing, after searching for so long there's finally real evidence of liquid water on Mars. What do you think?

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Jave D » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:54 pm UTC

My reaction is: so what? What does this really mean, for humans? That if "we" went to Mars, we'd have some water? Yay. Water. Big deal. Let me know if science ever solves that problem where humans continuously fuck each other over and billions live in suffering and misery.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby RCT Bob » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:56 pm UTC

Meh, people are difficult, space is much easier. Besides

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Envelope Generator » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:57 pm UTC

How is this different from the previous times NASA has found water on Mars?
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby ahammel » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:59 pm UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:How is this different from the previous times NASA has found water on Mars?

It's liquid.

Live stream of the press conference: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science ... rence.html
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby RCT Bob » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:00 pm UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:How is this different from the previous times NASA has found water on Mars?
Image

As far as I know up until now they only found frozen water on Mars, there was no solid evidence yet of liquid water on current Mars, only that liquid water has been there at some point in the history of Mars. Evidence that it's actually currently still there is quite huge, it could potentially be useful if we ever manage to go there and grow some plants or whatnot.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby ahammel » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:01 pm UTC

RCT Bob wrote:As far as I know up until now they only found frozen water on Mars, there was no solid evidence yet of liquid water on current Mars, only that liquid water has been there at some point in the history of Mars. Evidence that it's actually currently still there is quite huge, it could potentially be useful if we ever manage to go there and grow some plants or whatnot.

It's a bit salty for agriculture, which is how it stays liquid in the Martian atmosphere.
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Whizbang » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:09 pm UTC

So we grow seaweed or something. ;)

Anyway, liquid water increases the chance for existing life. Existing life on Mars would be a huge scientific discovery.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Jave D » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:13 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:So we grow seaweed or something. ;)

Anyway, liquid water increases the chance for existing life. Existing life on Mars would be a huge scientific discovery.


True. It would mean that there's less pressure on humanity to succeed in life, not being the only ones around. We can fail at Earth but somewhere, something else would survive. It's a comfort.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby ahammel » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:15 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:So we grow seaweed or something. ;)
Sodium perchlorate, not sodium chloride. Good thought though.

It's probably a big mass savings to send the purification equipment rather than the water, so that's good. They pointed out earlier in the press conference that sodium perchlorate dissolved in water is basically rocket fuel with the atoms in the wrong places.
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Whizbang » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:23 pm UTC

Jave D wrote:It would mean that there's less pressure on humanity to succeed in life, not being the only ones around. We can fail at Earth but somewhere, something else would survive. It's a comfort.


We don't need life on Mars for that. There's just a shit-ton of other life forms right here on Earth for that.

Life on Mars would be huge because either they share certain traits with us (namely DNA) or they don't. Either way, that's huge. If the former, then that is strong evidence for Panspermia. If the latter, that would give us another perspective on life and how it was formed and be a huge factor in Abiogenesis research. Either way, Biology would be impacted at every level.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Jave D » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:26 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:
Jave D wrote:It would mean that there's less pressure on humanity to succeed in life, not being the only ones around. We can fail at Earth but somewhere, something else would survive. It's a comfort.


We don't need life on Mars for that. There's just a shit-ton of other life forms right here on Earth for that.


Less and less shit-tons every day.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Angua » Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:22 pm UTC

RCT Bob wrote:As far as I know up until now they only found frozen water on Mars, there was no solid evidence yet of liquid water on current Mars, only that liquid water has been there at some point in the history of Mars. Evidence that it's actually currently still there is quite huge, it could potentially be useful if we ever manage to go there and grow some plants or whatnot.

It's not a solid, that's the whole point ;)
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby PolakoVoador » Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:58 pm UTC

Jave D wrote:
Whizbang wrote:
Jave D wrote:It would mean that there's less pressure on humanity to succeed in life, not being the only ones around. We can fail at Earth but somewhere, something else would survive. It's a comfort.


We don't need life on Mars for that. There's just a shit-ton of other life forms right here on Earth for that.


Less and less shit-tons every day.


Try as we might, humans will have a hard time erradicating life as a whole in the planet. Even in the most apocalyptic scenarios, something will still survive and life will go on.

On the news itself: is hoping for life on Mars overly optimistic? Because that would be awesome on so many levels (as Whizbang pointed out)

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby duckshirt » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:06 pm UTC

Jave D wrote:My reaction is: so what? What does this really mean, for humans? That if "we" went to Mars, we'd have some water?

Liquid water means substantially better chance of finding traces of life on Mars, which would be an incredible research opportunity.
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Whizbang » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:24 pm UTC

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:40 pm UTC

I'm surprised this is news - I thought there was evidence of water flowing during the summer-summer, and it's known that there's a ton of ice on Mars.

Hmm. Either way. More water more places, hooray!
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Diadem » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:58 pm UTC

Finding water on Mars is good news, but let's hope we don't find life. Finding life on Mars would mean humanity will almost certainly go extinct in the next century

At least that's the theory. Not sure if I entirely agree, but it's a thought-provoking idea.

tl:dr summary: There's a distinct lack of intelligent extraterrestrials out there, at least so far as we are able to detect, despite the huge number of stars and planets in the galaxy. Apparently intelligent spare-faring civilizations are rare. This must be either because life is rare, or because it is rare for life to become spare-faring life. If the former, the future of humanity is bright. If the latter however, then this means we are probably going to blow ourselves up before advancing to the stage of interstellar travel. Finding life on Mars would strongly imply that life isn't rare.
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Whizbang » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:11 pm UTC

Alternative hypothesis:
Space-faring life is common, yet the vast distances still limit communication and travel between life-islands.

After all, even at near light speeds, it would take a lifetime to cross our stellar neighborhood, let alone travel to another part of the galaxy. Attenuation may account for the reason we haven't received/intercepted a signal as well. The problem of contacting other space-faring life is more than just shouting "Here we are!".

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby SDK » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:48 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:After all, even at near light speeds, it would take a lifetime to cross our stellar neighborhood, let alone travel to another part of the galaxy.

A lifetime is a very short time.

Rather than take the lack of an interstellar civilization as proof that life is hard, I take it as proof that near-light space travel is a practical impossibility. Even 1% the speed of light is a ridiculous speed - 3000 km/s, over 100 times faster than we've ever sent anything ever. Travelling at that speed you could make it to the nearest stars in about 1000 years. Still not long on astronomical timescales, but good luck getting a system that could function after that length of time, and with enough power to actually do anything meaningful once it got there.

In any case, water on Mars! That's cool. Good work, NASA.
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:58 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:At least that's the theory. Not sure if I entirely agree, but it's a thought-provoking idea.
I have an extremely hard time taking this as academically worthy. It makes a couple of amazing leaps to arrive at the conclusions it does.

The Great Filter hypothesis is interesting and thought provoking, but also makes a couple of amazing leaps to arrive at the conclusions it does.

Water on Mars at best suggests it's possible that if life was on Mars, that it might still be on Mars. It doesn't change anything about anything really, because it's long been known that Mars gets above the melting point of ice, and thatwater occasionally flows. This 'finding' is a confirmation of that.
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Negated » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:10 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:It doesn't change anything about anything really, because it's long been known that Mars gets above the melting point of ice, and thatwater occasionally flows. This 'finding' is a confirmation of that.

We only knew that liquid water once flowed on surface of Mars. Now water ice on Mars boils to vapor instead of melting to liquid water because the atmosphere on Mars has very low pressure. The discovery of liquid water that still seasonally flows on the surface is new.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:47 am UTC

No, since at least 2011 we've known about water flowing on Mars.

Seriously, this isn't a new hypothesis, it's a more assured observation based on better coverage.
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby New User » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:02 pm UTC

Here is a question more about life on Mars instead of the water found on Mars.

I remember hearing a few years ago about one of the Mars rovers finding what may have been evidence of life on Mars (at least, that's what the news companies claimed. Anything to get you to click on their story!) Because the media kept running click bait stories like, "Is this evidence of life on Mars?" and "See how the Mars rover may have discovered signs of life on Mars", there was a great demand from laypeople to the scientists at NASA, requesting the use of the rover to identify such life - if it exists - which even the laypeople knew would be microscopic. NASA's response, as I recall, was something along the lines of: "we can't use the active rover on Mars to identify life, because it wasn't designed or equipped to do that. This rover is equipped with cameras for imaging and some tools to identify geological samples, and that's all. We can tell you how much iron oxide is in the soil, but we can't use the rover's equipment to search for microorganisms in the soil. Even if we could, we'd get false positives because the Mars rover is not sterile and there are undoubtedly microorganisms on the rover already."

I heard this a few years back, and more recently I tried to search the web for this information but I couldn't find it. It's possible that my memory is faulty. So my question is, does anyone know about this? Is it true that the missions to Mars have been bringing organisms from Earth to Mars for several years now? Presumably, nobody knows if these microorganisms could survive the trip to Mars and the Martian environment (because all equipment sent to Mars has never been tested), right? Are we already contaminating Mars with invasive species? Have we proven the hypothesis of interplanetary contamination (panspermia?) by causing it ourselves?

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Whizbang » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:35 pm UTC

We have no way of completely sterilizing the equipment we send (to the best of my knowledge). No matter what we did, there might still be a spec of life in some nook of the equipment. The radiation it received on the way to Mars would help destroy more, but even still chances are that something would survive the trip. *insert Jeff Goldblum gif here*

If we were to send something with the purpose of discovering microscopic life, very careful precautions would need to be taken. Even still, the hope would be that the life discovered would be different enough from Earth life that it would be apparent that it was not contaminated.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby PolakoVoador » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:44 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:We have no way of completely sterilizing the equipment we send (to the best of my knowledge). No matter what we did, there might still be a spec of life in some nook of the equipment.


There's a species of bacteria that has been detected only twice so far: inside the clean rooms of NASA and ESA.

So, yeah. Life... uh... finds a way.

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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby mathmannix » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:33 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote: *insert Jeff Goldblum gif here*

OK!
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:58 pm UTC

I could have sworn it was in this thread that someone posted the argument for slathering the rovers in yogurt, as the lactobacillus would out compete anything else, and then die in transit.
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

What if there's lactobascillus on Mars, eh? What then?
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:31 pm UTC

Then we can make yogurt on Mars!
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Re: NASA finds liquid water on Mars

Postby SDK » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:33 pm UTC

Water and food! What more do we need?
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