Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Water on Mars!

Caught this late-breaking story just as I was winding down my workday. Looks like all that money spent on "cameras to take pictures of rocks," as critics have called Opportunity and Spirit, those plucky little Mars rovers, may have paid off. The Mars rovers have found a pile of supporting evidence for Mars being a surfer's paradise at one point in time. But before we get into our spaceships packed with swimming trunks and snorkeling gear, it's still going to be some time before we know if any of it is left on the surface of the planet.

Joking aside, this could be huge for a manned mission to Mars happening within my life time (read: sooooo cool). Water in frozen form at the red planet's poles or locked away in soil could mean that a human voyage there would be a lot cheaper. Once the astronauts set up a camp near a reserve of water, they could start to process it and live on the surface for much longer and much cheaper than if they had to ferry all the water they'd need in themselves. And they would ultimately be able to turn the water into breathable oxygen, reducing the required reserves of that, too. Landers would become mini processing plants for extracting the building blocks of life from the Martian soil.

Sounds like a sci-fi novel....today!


Post a Comment

<< Home