By: Dubem M
MARS – On September 28th, 2015 on a lucky landing, a MER (Mars Exploration Rover) stumbled upon several hydrated salt rocks that corroborate the statement that there is flowing water on Mars. This area around the finding has been dubbed “El Capitan”. In addition, the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) has several pictures that show impressions of previously summer flowing water on Mars.
The water that we saw through Orbiter was streaks left behind from summertime flowing water. Scientists are not certain where the water comes from, but they hypothesize that it originated in underground ice and water reservoirs, and during summer some water evaporated and rose to the crust of the planet where it formed rivers. This means that at this moment there is flowing water somewhere on Mars. These rivers have been so frequent that they have even made valleys and steep cliffs. And unlike Earth, Mars is very cold so its temperature would not have allowed for the water cycle to be present, so the water most likely soaked back into the ground at a common lake or area.
Beyond just meaning that Mars is slightly more wet than we thought, Mars may now hold much more depth in our planetary situation. Firstly, there are two opposite statements (that are equally terrifying) that we must ask ourselves when contemplating space. One, we are alone in the universe. This would mean that life is an accident, and that no other planet can hold life or ever had that spark to ignite the chain reaction leading to life. It also means that after this planet’s inevitable demise there is no chance for humanity’s survival out there in the deep dark void of space. Two, we are not alone in the universe. This option has been expanded through hundreds of alien movies and books. It means that there could be possible hostile, highly intelligent aliens on Earth’s doorstep, and if they were able to travel from wherever to Earth it means that they are much more advanced technology-wise than Earth dwellers. Moreover, this means that there is the possibility of actually living on Mars if our planet is ever to truly fail. All we would need is air. That would not be too hard since we have figured out how to have a confined atmosphere. For example, manned spacecrafts are already filled with air that has been recycled hundreds of times. Even airplanes have the technology needed. Then there is the issue of food. Technically, it would be possible to grow crops on Mars, but the procedure would be extensive. There are some major issues in this situation that would be needed to address they are the following: specific nutrients are needed, there are salts called perchlorate that are hazardous to humans, water is needed, and a warm enough climate is need to grow crops. These are all quite simply to fix with science but would it be worth it? How much money would be used for an expedition that may just be a fluke.
This is quite a spectacular finding because of two things the new Martian movie’s debut and Apple’s newest operating system OS X El Capitan. The new sci-fi, adventure movie, The Martian (starring Matt Damon), shows the trials and hardships a lone man trying to survive on Mars goes through, and the lengths others go to try and rescue him. It is has been critically acclaimed by many scientists. If you had an entire planet to yourself what would you do? Additionally, Apple’s OS X El Capitan software debuted just in time for the Mars probe landing, even though they were not named after one another, they still make a nice coincidence.
But what are the chances; we found signs of life right in our solar system back yard. It is extraordinary and very lucky. This means that humans may be making trips to Mars in the near future; this scientific discovery will most definitely broaden our horizons to explore even more worlds and maybe find over life in the universe. Who knows maybe there is Martian life that exists underground?