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Still Searching for Water on the Backup Planet

Posted on Jun 22, 2010

Gullies and narrow channels on the surface of Mars suggest the presence of flowing water, even if surface temperatures are normally too low for water to exist in liquid form. It’s possible that water bubbles up from underground where temperatures are higher.

Our ability to evacuate to Mars once we’re done wrecking the Earth depends on a lot, but the whole idea is a nonstarter if the fourth rock from the sun is dry. Ten years ago scientists discovered evidence of flowing water on Mars and we have reason to believe there’s plenty of the frozen variety, but we still haven’t caught Mars with its gullies wet.

Christian Science Monitor:

One of the main problems about proving whether or not water still flows on the surface of Mars “is that where we have seen gullies also tends to be where we don’t want to land spacecraft,” Meyer explained.

“The hope is that orbiter missions can catch something in the act involving liquid water near the surface today,” he said. “We do suspect there’s liquid water in the subsurface — it’s just depends on how deep you have to go.”

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 25, 2010 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

Actually they need to send more probes to see if there is sufficient water before sending people.

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By samosamo, June 24, 2010 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment



“”“What Went Wrong?

As an attempt to create a balanced and self-sustaining replica of
Earth’s ecosystems, Biosphere II was a miserable (and expensive)
failure. Numerous problems plagued the crew almost from the
very beginning. Of these, a mysterious loss of oxygen and
widespread extinction were the most notable.
Here’s the link to the rest of the article which isn’t long but
succinct enough to get the picture.

I wasn’t aware the chinese were working on this but it is best to
test these things out, and sure as shooting a wide awake crew
the whole trip would be costly resource wise and even 2 years in
hibernation is probably pushing some physiological and mental
limits with problems. It will be very interesting to see them work
it out and get there but, one thing this modern civilizations here
on earth aren’t proficient at is terra forming, we are great at
degrading environments but building them, that I feel sure
would be considered a socialist program and is unthinkable.

Any first manned mission to mars would probably be to
determine the available water. After that, it would be like playing
in the desert or some other hostile environment, seeing it as
cool and wonderful but I would be willing to bet that those that
would go would soon be wanting to go back home.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

That one had too many flaws, which is part of the reason to experiment here first. Aren’t the Chinese
who are sending their cosmonauts into a sealed environment for the duration of a fight to mars. About 2 years. For experimental reasons. They are serious.

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By samosamo, June 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment



I can’t wait for the first manned mission to mars and the
subsequent failure due not to just the egotistical stresses and
strains but the very fact of someone being cut off from the one
biosphere humans evolved on, the earth. Just imagine the one
year trip in space with the earth shrinking the further they go
and the loss of touch with the home planet. Then they land on
mars, that is if they survive the trip out and when they open the
door there is nothing but a big fucking desolate desert with nary
a blue, green, yellow, purple or the planets and animals that go
with those colors.

But if they make it to mars then there are all the bodily wastes,
excretionments, secretionments, and other packaged and
process foods for the crew to ‘enjoy’.

Much doubt of the mission returning intact.

Remember the biosphere I experiments a few decades ago that
didn’t last more than a few femtoseconds in the age of ‘man’?

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 23, 2010 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

If there is water there, and not just frozen CO2, it would be underground or locked into other materials and useless unless processed into water.

One way or another they are going to place something on the ground but in a heavily surveyed place where the likelihood of water is there. Where they can drill to be sure. Otherwise it will be a waste of time.

Even if they did how many could it support? They would have to recycle everything including bodily wastes to extract the water and minerals from. Something we may need to do right here.

We will need to bring out own everything. Unless we find a way of converting some materials into others that is.

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By emaho1944, June 23, 2010 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

How many millions and billions $$$ of our money has been spent on this idiotic, schoolboy fantasy of going to the moon…not to mention other planets?  In spite of the nice pictures from space, I think NASA ought to be mothballed.  It just doesn’t fit in today’s context.  Why not direct this admittedly talented group to solving some problems here on earth, making a difference in some areas that really matter???

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By beeline, June 23, 2010 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Don’t forget we’re having a practice stopover on the moon first.

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Peetawonkus's avatar

By Peetawonkus, June 23, 2010 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

If we keep on the present course Earth and Mars will look about the same in a few hundred years. These people who complain about the costs of preventing eco-disasters—how much would they pay to green the earth if everything was turned into the Sahara at noon?

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By Tobysgirl, June 23, 2010 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

I’m always amused by the brainless mentality that thinks we’re (read: the ruling class) going to move someplace else when we’re done ruining the Blue Planet. Stephen Hawking subscribes to this idiotic fantasy, which certainly points up his serious limitations. No sense that THIS planet gave us birth, no sense of connection (which is what got us into all the trouble we’ve caused in the first place), no sense of REALITY!

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By gerard, June 23, 2010 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

The very idea of destroying this world and moving on to destroy another is wildly ego=driven insanity. It, like the idea of “conquering” or “managing” the entire world to fit the limited prescriptions of one nation—or one notion—proves human beings to be maniacal if left to pursue conquests unchallenged and uncontrolled by mutually protective laws.
  We humans are just at that point now—in desperate need of getting together to save ourselves from destruction by agreeing upon and establishing a protective legal framework that will support the continuation of life here and now.
  Apparently such a time of need existed once before, early in human history.  The Ten Commandments was one memorable result, and must have appeared with such seeming magic that their directives were attributed to a power beyond human ability. Their awesome credibility gave them transcendent and oracular power.
  But the fact is:  Some human minds somewhere figured them out, some human voices shared them through song and speech, and eventually human hands figured out a way to write them down. 
  It was done once.  It can be done again.

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By rollzone, June 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

hello. the ‘backup planet’ may be the one colliding
with Earth, and again vying for galactic position: in
2012. beyond that, water is just the physical form of
oxygen. it would be the degree of solar bombardment
which would be prerequisite to any molecular
transformations; so any oxygen trapped there in the
Martian soil would be of different structure than any
we could drink or use to wash clothes. contemplate the
sources of oxygen, and conversion properties (and
requirements), and we will be comfortable wherever we
wander to destroy. and bring bottled water.

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