Water on Mars

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Brandon Guerreo , Staff Writer

Confirmation that water was located on the baron planet, Mars, came from NASA scientists on Sep. 28. The question, “Does life exist outside of our planet?”, has been asked ever since the discovery of planets other than Earth. The discovery of water on Mars could determine if life has existed on Mars or if Mars is habitable for life.

 

“This is tremendously exciting,” James L. Green, [director of NASA’s planetary science division], said. “We haven’t been able to answer the question, ‘Does life exist beyond Earth?’ But following the water is a critical element of that. We now have, I think, great opportunities in the right locations on Mars to thoroughly investigate that.”

 

NASA scientists are still rejoicing over their discovery of water on Mars, however, it might be short lived. New reports show that NASA might not be able to investigate the water with the drone Curiosity that landed on Mars Oct. 31, 2012. The reason being that the drone is not sterile and might carry dangerous Earth bacteria that could damage any organisms that live in the water.

 

“There will be heated discussions in the next weeks and months about what Curiosity will be allowed to do and whether it can go anywhere near the RSls,” Andrew Coates of University College London’s Mullard space science laboratory, said.

 

The origin of the water is still unknown; however that is one mystery that Mars is keeping to itself. The salt on Mars lowers the freezing temperature, and allows the water to remain liquid. The temperature on Mars averages to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, not that different from Earth. One theory is that the salt on the surface of the planet could be absorbing the moisture in the air, however, measurements show that Mars has very little humidity.

 

“There are two basic origins for the water: from above or from below,” Alfred S. McEwen, professor of Planetary Geology at the University of Arizona, said.

 

So far, NASA does not have any plans to get a closer look at the water on Mars. There have already been debates between scientists on whether the water can actually maintain life.