back to article WATER SURPRISE: Liquid found on Mars, says NASA

NASA has had the space community on tenterhooks for the last week, and on Monday made its big reveal – there is liquid water on Mars. "Liquid water has been found on Mars," said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters at a press conference on Monday. The research, published in Nature Geoscience, analyzed …

Boffin

Dark Streaks

"We found the hydrated salts only when the seasonal features were widest, which suggests that either the dark streaks themselves or a process that forms them is the source of the hydration," said Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology, lead author of a report.

Aha! Dry Canals! Can Tars Tarkas be far behind?

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Re: Dark Streaks

Not so much the canals of Mars as the rivulets of Mars.

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Alien

Re: Dark Streaks

"Water is patient, Adelaide, water just waits. It wears down the clifftops, the mountains, the whole of the world. Water always wins!"

- The Doctor in The Waters of Mars

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Re: Dark Streaks

alien skidmarks

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Devil

Tasty Morsel

"...the Curiosity rover was sterilized of Earth life as much as possible, but it might be determined that the decontamination process wasn't enough, and that this may skew the results."

How will they determine the decontam wasn't sufficient? When a hardy Earth bacterium gets to that wet soil and mutates into "The Mould that Ate Mars"? It would serve us right for skewing around...

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Re: Tasty Morsel

"When a hardy Earth bacterium gets to that wet soil"

It'll have to be hard with soil containing chlorates and perchlorate in high-ish concentration

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Re: Tasty Morsel

Sounds like a job for Dechlorosoma sp.

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Things people said in the past, which have since been regretted...

Nobody will mind if I bring a parakeet into the UK, they can't survive outdoors can they?

This Japanese Knotweed looks kinda cute. Think I'll smuggle a cutting in my baggage see if it will grow in the garden. what harm can it do?

etc.

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Re: Tasty Morsel

Or perhaps several other microorganisms. If the wikipedia article on perchlorate is correct (in the very short "Biology" section), over 40 microorganisms have been identified that can grow via perchlorate reduction. As that process usually produces both water and free oxygen, could this be one of the tools to terraform Mars? Assuming we can warm the soil enough for the microorganisms to function, of course!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tasty Morsel

We are probably already past the when we contaminate the planet, it was confirmed years ago that some of the earliest probes sent there were not sterile, given how crazy the wind is there if that can spread it has. I guess we could still contaminate it further.

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Terminator

Re: Tasty Morsel

Good! CON-TAMI-NATE!

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Re: Tasty Morsel

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

You can call it contamination, or you can call it preliminary terraforming.

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Re: Tasty Morsel

"Priming the pump," so to speak.

That's assuming there aren't ancient bacteriods lurking within the dunes, honed by 4000 million years of selection/adaptation to any remaining niches. I feel sorry for the Earth bug that gets mixed up with those hard cases.

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Re: Tasty Morsel

Since the atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide surely Thermageddon is imminent and so the soil will soon be hotter than the hinges of Hell.

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Re: Tasty Morsel

Well.... anything brought from Earth that's still viable and able to jump-and-thrive into something that hostile to most of life here, especially after surviving cleanroom treatment, launch, a rather lengthy bit of space travel and irradiation, atmospheric entry and a lengthy stay on the martian surface....

It would pretty much deserve living there on Mars and inherit the planet before we figure out how to live there, if ever.

Unlikely as it is already, as pointed out above it then has to compete with the highly specialised life that may possibly exist in that environment already, with precious little chance of beating those specialists at their own game.

The scenario is conceivable, but it's so far down the probability curve it's cuddling up to the event horizon of "ludicrous".

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Re: Things people said in the past, which have since been regretted...

What we really need are cane toads.

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Re: Tasty Morsel

"Sounds like a job for Dechlorosoma sp."

Nice spot !

However there's no indication that this organism could cope with the concentration of such salts ( assumed to be high due to the freezing point depression), either from the toxic effects or just the osmotic effect

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Re: Tasty Morsel

"When a hardy Earth bacterium gets to that wet soil

I cannot think of anything on Earth that is hardy enough to survive in perchlorate at -70.

In fact, any(micro)organism capable of living in this will have to have a metabolism different to anything we know of.

Someone pointed to Dechlorosoma as an example of something that can eat this kind of substrate. Sure it can. Not at -70 and not in the concentrations capable of changing the water boiling and melting point.

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Alien

Re: Tasty Morsel

Nobody could have imagined, in the early years of the 21st century...

</DanDanDaaaaan!>

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Re: Tasty Morsel

There could be a weird Wellsian backflip that occurs there, where a relatively benign bacterium from Earth carried by one of our own probes, learns new tricks from some nasty corrosive environment, flickknife wielding Martian bacteria and turns into the thing which prevents human colonization of Mars, much as the 'common cold' did for the Martians in War of the Worlds.

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Anonymous Coward

Caught a glimpse of interview on BBC news with what appeared to be an Ian Gillan tribute act.

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Did they do Space Trucking?

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Let me be the first

to Yawn.... probably not.

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Anonymous Coward

@Chivo Re: Let me be the first

Dude!

You have no imagination.

This means that when the astronauts (mixed company) get to Mars, they can now host the first actual wet t-shirt contest using 100% Martian water.

I for one am looking forward to that... (not!)

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Re: @Chivo Let me be the first

The 8-breasted Martian babes will win those wet t-shirt contests every time!

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Re: @Chivo Let me be the first

I thought they only had three breasts?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Chivo Let me be the first

Wrong film! John Carter showed us the reality that alien women are always unfeasibly hot...

.

...and the brunette wasn't bad either.

.

badoom tish or should that be barsoom tish, geddit?

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Scientists have conclusively proven that water might be on Mars. But, they don't actually know as they have yet to see it. But it's there. Oh yes, it's there, and this new $5million grant will it...

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With NASA that should be $5 Million Billion. TFTFY.

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Anonymous Coward

Water surprise, I see what you did there, H2ho ho ho

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bed

Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

Pure water can exist below zero, usually as ice, and I am reasonably sure it exists above 10 degrees centigrade as well, though this depends on ambient air pressure - the lower the air pressure the lower the temperature at which water will boil, hence the problems getting a decent cup of tea in Tibet.

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Re: Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

The whole schtick is "liquid" water, not frozen. Frozen water can be found anywhere.

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Re: Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

errrr yes and I think that can be read as the air pressure on Mars = Low enough that it doesn't really exist above 10C.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

What problems with tea in Tibet? It's the UK that gets the floor sweepings. Chinese green tea is pretty good.

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Re: Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

Never mind tea, you can't cook potatoes on Everest, boiling point at the summit is about 70C, means most post pub neckfillers are screwed. Just as well there are no pubs there I suppose.

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No Pub on Mars?

Hmm, if there were, it would be called the Mars Bar.

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Re: Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

well the atmosphere at the summit of Everest is highly hospitable compared to Mars..

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Flame

Re: Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

"" The whole schtick is "liquid" water, not frozen. Frozen water can be found anywhere. ""

even on the surface of our twin VENUS "YEH SURE "

ICON FOR HOW HOT VENUS IS

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Re: Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

Ice has been spotted on the poles of Mercury so Venus, no sweat (it sublimes to quickly!!!)

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Devil

Re: Pure water can exist only between zero and 10 degrees centigrade???

" Frozen water can be found anywhere."

Volcanoes?

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Pint

Hydrated salts, eh?

Pah!

Sounds like they've just found a martian urinal.

At the slight risk of being accused of taking the p**s, might I humbly suggest that a certain German car fiddler might be very interested in this?

Icon because some might suggest.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hydrated salts, eh?

Putting perchlorate in a Diesel engine would certainly reduce emissions. Not all salts are equal.

You could power an engine with perchlorate and sugar, but I doubt a VW car unit could be easily converted. It would be a little like the Lawrence Livermore pellet fusion experiments but only needing one laser and no neutron absorber

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Surf's up!!! Maybe, maybe not.

"Everywhere we go there's liquid water we find life," said Green.

So other than Earth, where else has liquid water been found? And the life that goes with it? Or is this something that we haven't been told... yet.

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Re: Surf's up!!! Maybe, maybe not.

I'm putting that down as one of the stupidest scientific quotes of all time. You can always get a 1:1 correlation if you adjust your sample size down to the one instance where you have found life. Clearly there's no intelligent life in his office.

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Joke

Hang on didn't we see something about this being a bad thing on the documentary Doctor Who ?

Think it was "The Waters of Mars".

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Pint

Facebook

Ye ye yeye ye ye yeah yes. Water between 0 and 100 centigrade.

Anybody noticed that Facebook has gone titsup????

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Re: Facebook

That is Good News!

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So, waters of Mars then...

Where's a Tardis when you need it?

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Re: So, waters of Mars then...

Dispersed.

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