Friday, December 22, 2006

Water Currently Flowing on Mars?!

"December 06, 2006
WASHINGTON - NASA photographs have revealed bright new deposits seen in two gullies on Mars that suggest water carried sediment through them sometime during the past seven years.
"These observations give the strongest evidence to date that water still flows occasionally on the surface of Mars," said Dr. Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program continue reading..."

Before and after imagees depicting erosion. Source: NASA.gov

With liquid water this means there is an even greater possibility for life on Mars than previously thought. Other than potential life on Mars (and something the article fails to mention) is the potential of the situation.With liquid water underground the proposition of a permanent outpost doesn't seem so far fetched. The water could be used for fuel, energy, and obviously a water supply for humans. If there wasn't a reason to visit Mars with humans there certainly is one now.

This is also an interesting addition of knowledge concerning the possibility of terraforming parts of Mars or even all of it. There is already a tented city thats is going to be finished within the next year or two on Earth in Kazakhstan. Thats right, the same country that the character Borat is from... Now imagine for a moment, the 58th highest GDP country in the world with $125 billion in purchasing power [ref] ; what could a nation with $12.3 trillion [ref] accomplish? Building a tented outpost or colony on Mars doesn't seem that far fetched now. Imagine if another Paul Allen or Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) decided to invest a better portion of their net worth into a similar tented outpost.

Projected images of the completed city of Astana. Source: BBC News
Take for example Robert Bigelow (previous post), he has spent a scant $75 million to research, develop, test, and launch Genesis I into orbit and it took him a mere 6 years to get to this point from absolutely nothing. Now look at NASA on the other hand... it has cost them over $100 billion since 1993 to get to the point where they are now with the ISS [ref]. And while Bigelow is prepared to spend a mere $500 million through 2015 to complete several space hotels and sell them for $100 million a piece NASA is estimating costs $300-500 billion. Keep in mind that this is only NASA's contribution to the ISS and doesn't include the 14 other countries involved. So, with the efficiency of private
companies a mission to Mars or even an establishment on Mars doesn't seem too far-fetched, especially with the recent interest from wealthy individuals.

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