By Mark Young, SouthFloridaReporter.com Managing Editor, Sept. 29, 2015 – Yesterday, South Florida Reporter told you to expect a “major” announcement from NASA about Mars. As anticipated, NASA said they had found liquid water on Mars.
Heart Be Still….
All of this boosts the odds of life on the red planet. I watched some of the announcement, live, and although much of it was geek speak, the announcement of finding water which could mean life on mars, was exciting.
By Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com, Sept. 29, 2015 – Water on Mars, so challenging to find today, may once have covered the planet with rivers and oceans. Where did all of the liquid water go? Why? Could some still remain?
Observations of the Red Planet indicate that rivers and oceans may have been prominent features in its early history. Billions of years ago, Mars was a warm and wet world that could have supported microbial life in some regions. But the planet is smaller than Earth, with less gravity and a thinner atmosphere. Over time, as liquid water evaporated, more and more of it escaped into space, allowing less to fall back to the surface of the planet.
Where is the water today?
Vast deposits of water appear to be trapped within the ice caps at the north and south poles of the planet. Each summer, as temperatures increase, the caps shrink slightly as their contents skip straight from solid to gas form, but in the winter, cooler temperatures cause them to grow to latitudes as low as 45 degrees, or halfway to the equator. The caps are an average of 2 miles (3 kilometers) thick and, if completely melted, could cover the Martian surface with about 18 feet (5.6 meters) of water.