There’s no shortage of news out of our nearest planetary neighbor, Mars. The latest includes new information leading scientists to believe water currently exists and flows on the red planet in liquid form. And a study has been published in Science suggesting that liquid water was stable on the surface for up to 10,000,000 years, meaning it may be even more Earth-like than we previously thought.
The Curiosity rover has been studying Gale crater for over 2 years measuring the geometry and grain sizes of the strata. What they have found is that gravel and sand have eroded from the crater’s northern wall and were transported south in shallow streams. The deposits accumulated toward the interior of the crater and later relocated by wind-driven erosion. They conclude that the water table had to have been tens of meters deep to explain the accumulation in the delta and deposits in the lakes. This may suggest a much warmer and wetter climate in Mars’ past than previously thought, and over a long enough time table to support the idea of life on the planet.
Future Missions to Mars
To me the news just means it’s imperative that we head to Mars to conduct more in depth studies on our crimson neighbor. Manned missions may be able to definitively tell us whether the planet every had microbial life and what led to the planet’s changes. Fortunately, companies like SpaceX with Elon Musk at the helm are planning to take us there. They have recently outlined plans to establish cargo routes to supply the planned manned missions starting in 2024.
This is an exciting time for space exploration, here’s hoping for more awesome news coming out of Mars for years to come, including manned missions and a colony so we can move a few steps closer to Total Recall. For more information on this you can read the study here.