Water on Mars
Yes, you've heard there's liquid water on Mars. But have you actually seen it? Now you have.
This gif shows what's probably salty water flowing in Newton Crater on Mars. The dark stripes are between 1/2 and 5 meters wide. Stripes like this appear on steep slopes at several locations in the southern hemisphere of Mars. They show up in the spring and summer, when the temperature can rise above the freezing point. They go away when it gets colder.
The photos here go from the early spring of one Mars year to mid-summer of the next year. They were taken by the HiRISE
camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. That stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.
These images not new! Here's a paper about them, written in 2011:
• Alfred S. McEwen et al
, Seasonal flows on warm Martian slopes,Science 333
(August 5, 2011), 740–743. Available at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6043/740
, free if you register.
So, what made NASA announce now
that there is liquid water on Mars? Could it have anything to do with the new movie, The Martian
? I don't know.
Some puzzles about the movie:Puzzle 1:
why is there no communication apparatus in the living habitat where the Matt Damon character winds up living? Does the book explain why?Puzzle 2:
what would it actually feel like to be in a dust storm on Mars? Puzzle 3:
could you really take off in a rocket on Mars with just a tarp on top?
For more about these flows on Mars, see:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_flows_on_warm_Martian_slopes #spnetwork
doi:10.1126/science.1204816 #mars #astronomy