Thursday, December 07, 2006

recent liquid water on mars

Scientific American and NPR are both reporting on evidence of liquid water flowing on Mars' surface within the last decade. Here's the Sciam article:
Scientific American: Martian Gullies Show Traces of Flowing Water within the Past Decade and here's the NPR one: Water May Still Flow on Mars, NASA Photo Suggests. The short summary is that a pair of photos of a crater, spaced about a decade apart, show the sudden appearance of a feature that looks like a water erosion gully. The folks presenting the findings theorize there's still liquid water below the surface behind ice dams. Somehow pressure builds up (they didn't explain exactly how) and eventually the water breaks through the dam and flows across the surface.

I'm with Robert Zubrin on this one. Mars should have priority over going back to the Moon. It has more of the raw materials we'd need to live there. While it's a longer distance away physically, once you've gone to all the trouble of getting out of the Earth's gravity well, the extra distance doesn't make all that much difference. Mostly it means you'll wind up using e-mail instead of real-time communication, and you have to plan any resupply missions more carefully.

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