Esoteric claims of Statue’s of Jesus, Space-Allah Graffiti, and even that pesky half-human half-feline giant head on Mars can now be calmly put back inside the crazy box for slow new days – we now have something real and backed by data – WATER on Mars (NASA, Wikinews, Independent).
This is interesting from both exobiology and terraforming angles. Liquid water would be potentially capable of sustaining life as we know it. Water sources, liquid or otherwise, would be a key to any human colonisation effort of our frosty red nature.
Mars is very cold, only reaching around 20 °C at its Summer high. Liquid (fresh)water is only thought to be a possibility in some select tropical regions. So it is not a big surprise that the water being discovered, is actually pellets of ice.
The “ice” has been visualised as white patches unearthed by the Phoenix lander. Scientists were not sure if it might be salt, but then it appeared to disappear after being exposed – the quote de jour being “Salt can’t do that”. The disappearing act is being explained as sublimation, ice turning into water vapour, the way carbon dioxide “dry ice” does. The Martian environment, temperature and pressure, would cause water to behave in such a way.Dillwp on Flickr – cc asa