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Mars liquid water discovery cast in to doubt

Posted on Thursday, 23 November, 2017 | Comment icon 36 comments

Are the darker streaks evidence of water ? Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Dark streaks on the Martian surface thought to be evidence of water may actually be little more than sand.
Back in 2015, there was much excitement in the scientific community when NASA's director of planetary science, Jim Green, declared that evidence of liquid water had been found on Mars.

Now though, a new study has cast this discovery in to serious doubt by suggesting that the dark streaks observed on the planet's surface may actually be little more than sand dunes.

Known as Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL), these distinctive surface features have been described by researchers as 'inconsistent with models for water sources' and are instead 'identical to the slopes of sand dunes where movement is caused by dry granular flows'.

"Water almost certainly is not responsible for this behavior, which would require the volume of liquid to correspond to the length of slope available, producing more liquid on longer slopes," they wrote.

Source: Sky News | Comments (36)

Tags: Mars, Water

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #27 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 November, 2017, 0:25
Interesting, I knew that the kicked up soil was a different colour, but I didn't know why. The evidence of the different coloured soil persists today in images of the Apollo landing sites taken by orbiting spacecraft, especially LRO, It's worth pointing out though that in the case of Mars it isn't necessary to exclude water entirely from any explanation, merely flowing liquid water on the surface. THere may well be subsurface ice but this would be expected to sublime on the surface.
Comment icon #28 Posted by _KB_ on 29 November, 2017, 6:25
and yet to get all those parts made without the mark up (just the raw materials) would cost a couple grand (even if they are custom made, honestly the microchips would likely be the most expensive part) that's what's called embezzlement, i mean have you ever made any machinery, i mean i suppose the price could be higher if they don't have their own manufacturing equipment, but if a organization that mainly specializes in engineering doesn't have that then it's just ludicrous, i mean i have some randomly lying around my garage even though i'm a programing student and while it may not be anythin... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by Peter B on 29 November, 2017, 12:42
I don't think you quite get it. Okay, let's say I'll take your word for it that the raw materials for making Curiosity would cost "a couple of grand" (personally I reckon you're understating that figure by a smidge - for example, how much does 4.8 kilograms of plutonium-238 dioxide cost - but I'll let that go). Where does the rest of the $2.5 billion go? Let's list a few things that contribute to the cost of the mission: 1. Putting together the case for the mission in the first place. How many work-hours went into that? 2. Designing the spacecraft. What scientific instruments are going to be i... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 29 November, 2017, 12:59
You would think so, but I remember _KB_ is the same person who said he could design a space shuttle in his spare time.  
Comment icon #31 Posted by TonopahRick on 29 November, 2017, 13:04
Sure, I could design one too but that doesn't mean it would work under all the conditions that the Rover has to go through.
Comment icon #32 Posted by _KB_ on 30 November, 2017, 5:25
1. don't know how many work hours but the people were definitely over payed 2. designing it in self should cost weary little 3. again designing things isn't that expansive 4. again designing isn't that expansive 5. this points fair enough 6. integrating stuff's pretty easy the average engineer could do it, especially if the thing is well designed 7. wasn't that on a separate budget report? fine you got me there, let's ram up the price a little bit 8. you can outsource that to any high end computer, writing the algorithm to do that should take under a hour 9. fine that's fair we programmers do ... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by toast on 30 November, 2017, 9:50
Yeah, its well known that you dont know much about space agencies and aerospace in general. Please back that claim by figures and not by an empty phrase only.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Saru on 30 November, 2017, 10:30
Back on topic please, _KB_, enough is enough.
Comment icon #35 Posted by AZDZ on 1 December, 2017, 0:12
Hmm. Not sure Schmitt's theory is correct, I thought bigger particles sink leaving the finer dust at the surface.  But yeah, I do remember seeing darker regolith kicked up by men on the Moon. IIRC, the official explanation for the darker bits , given way back in the days of those missions, was that color was 'bleached' out of the top 'soil' by solar radiation relentlessly baking the surface. When disturbed the darker stuff below was exposed. It's what makes activity at Lunar landing sites visible in orbital imagery.  I suppose I can buy the same thing occurring on Mars, but it has to be occurr... [More]
Comment icon #36 Posted by taniwha on 1 December, 2017, 20:24
What is the protocol in such a scenario that Mars becomes contaminated by the rovers?

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