Major Discovery: NASA announced that there is liquid water in Mars



NASA announced a week ago that it would make a major breakthrough about our "neighbor" Mars. Almost all of the media exploded over the weekend with speculation about the announcement to be made-conspiracy theorists hoped NASA would finally bring a Martian to the Monday press conference, while others suspected it would be the possible presence of liquid water on the surface of the Red Planet.

On Monday, as expected, NASA made a historical breakthrough: there is liquid water on Mars. We are not talking about huge amounts of salt, but about the "salty water" strands that run through the walls of craters and rocks during the summer months. Scientists already knew that Mars had solid water in the poles, and that there were large amounts of water in the past in the form of rivers, rivers, even a planetary ocean, but this is the first strong evidence of the presence of liquid water. The discovery raises serious questions about the existence of life on the red planet.

The journal Nature Geoscience published on Monday an article stating that water appears seasonally during the summer in the form of long and dark spots that can reach hundreds of feet in length. But they begin to fall in autumn, as the temperature drops to the surface of the planet. But scientists do not know where that water comes from, and if it can chemically support life. For the time being, this discovery has solved the mystery of the dark spots that appear and disappear seasonally on the cliffs and walls of the craters. "These are the most mysterious Martian forms," ​​said Bethany Ehlmann, planetary geologist at Caltech, for National Geographic.
These spots were discovered in 2010 by Lujendra Ojha, a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, then a student at the University of Arizona. Ojha studied the images sent on Earth by HiRISE, aboard the NASA MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) launched in August 2005 and reached Mars orbit in March 2006. Initially, he did not realize how important the discovery was they, but now, after 5 years, that discovery, initially not important, came to the attention of the researchers. They began to notice that those dark spots appeared, grew in length and then disappeared, all this only in the warm season. Stains always appeared in the same places, near the planet's equator, on crater slopes and steep cliffs. These spots are actually streams of water, which are in the form of salts soaked in liquid water. Salts are called perchlorates and have water molecules trapped in their chemical structure. NASA researchers have made calculations that show that pure water on Mars reaches the boiling point to just 10 degrees Celsius, compared to 100 on Earth. This proves that liquid water is extremely unstable on Mars. "The presence of hydrated salts in these streams suggests that stains are formed due to contemporary water," said Lujendra Ojha.

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A big question revolves around the origin of this water: where does it come from? One option would be that it comes from saltwater aquifers or underground ice melting. These scenarios would indicate that Mars would, in essence, sweat salty water on its slopes and slopes as the planet warms up. Also, water can originate in the atmosphere, a preferred hypothesis by scientists. Accordingly, surface salts absorb water vapor from the atmosphere. "If the humidity in the Martian atmosphere gets high, the perchlorates will absorb the water from the atmosphere until the dissolved salt forms a liquid solution," said Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA's Ames Research Center.
Whatever its origin, it is no surprise that there is water on Mars. The entire Martian landscape was carved by this water, about 4.3 billion years ago, when the planet was warmer and more humid. The "flotilla" of probes and rovers that are now studying the Martian surface are still transmitting data suggesting that water was once commonplace on the Red Planet.

Life on Mars?

NASA's announcement of the existence of liquid water on the Martian surface has restored enthusiasm over the possibility of extraterrestrial life on our neighboring planet. Liquid water is essential to sustain life, at least on Earth, and knowing that it flows to the surface of the Red Planet strengthens the chances that extraterrestrial life may be somewhere on Mars. Most likely, it would be in the form of micro-granaries, more "primitive" than those on Earth. This means that their discovery will be quite difficult, being very small and simple, hidden in the ground or in hard-to-reach places. These microorganisms might be similar to germs on Earth or might look completely different from what we have seen so far.
NASA officials have said in a press conference last Monday that Mars is already alive. "Because we sent her there. No matter how well the Curiosity was cleaned before being sent to Mars, there are bacteria on Earth that survive the road and who have arrived on the Red Planet. "
But to confirm the presence of these micro-organisms, NASA and other research institutions are developing many technologies to search for bio-signatures on Mars. A bio-signature is any substance of biological origin - anything from a fossil of 1 million years to a microbe. Some of these bio-signature detection tools will be incorporated into future missions, such as a NASA rover to be sent to Mars in 2020 or the European Space Agency (ESA) ExoMars mission.
Alexandru Mironov, SF writer, Romanian politician and journalist, told Digi24 that the discovery could represent a future for the fate of mankind over a few centuries, when Earth will be too crowded: "It means there are over 300-400 years, a future for the civilization of the Earth. Humankind exists for 200,000 years, humanity in the form of Homo Sapiens. We're not on Earth anymore, we're clear, we're 7.4 billion. Yesterday some extraordinary decisions were made at the UN. Earth's ellips are thinking of going out into the cosmos and thinking it very seriously. It's not SF what I'm telling you, but science "

We found it, but we can not touch it

The existence of hydrated salts in liquid form will never be 100% confirmed unless we touch them and we will analyze them. Of course, this will not be the work of a man soon, but we will have to study and analyze with rover. We just can not. Not so much as the rotors come from the Earth. At the moment, the Curiosity Rover (NASA) is about 50 kilometers away from the place where scientists suspect that there is liquid Martian water, but due to an international UN treaty of 1967, it is not even allowed to approach this place.

According to Article 9 of the Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploitation and Use of Extra-Mammalian Space, including Moon and Heavenly Bodies, "In the exploration and use of space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, the States Parties shall follow the principles cooperation and mutual assistance and shall carry out all their activities in the extra-mural space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, taking into account the respective interests of all other States Parties to the Treaty. States Parties to the Treaty shall study the extra-mural space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, and conduct their exploration in such a way as to avoid their harmful contamination and also to avoid harmful changes in the terrestrial environment resulting from the introduction of alien substances and, if necessary, take appropriate measures to that end. "
On its 225 million-mile journey from Earth to Mars, the Curiosity rover could have accumulated dirt, dust, or microbes that do not make it sterile. Because liquid water appears to be present, we must take extra precautions to prevent contamination with terrestrial life. The rovers present are not sterilized at the level at which they could go near an area where liquid water was found. Malcom Walter, an astrobiologist at NASA, said it would be possible for the Curiosity rover to be sterilized using huge amounts of radiation that would laugh at any survival trait that could survive space travel. Unfortunately, this would also involve frying the rover's electronic components.

The solution?

            We all know that NASA is already planning to send people to Mars sometime around 2030, so it's possible that some lucky astronauts will be able to see the water with their eyes. Another option would be sending robots that could also build robots and tools that could investigate water with a very low risk of contamination. Last year, NASA had already announced that it is developing robots that can print 3D infrasctructure on Mars. Until then, Curiosity and his rover friend, Opportunity, will have to go further into their ambiguous state of cleanliness and stay away from the water.

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