Monday, September 28, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere - Even on the Moon - Again

"Out There: Water, Water Everywhere" (September 28, 2009)

"It's now official that water has been found on the moon, and scientists have long seen it on Mars as well. In fact, water is all over the solar system and the rest of the galaxy – and since water is key to life as we know it, these discoveries raise the hope that we are not in fact alone.

"The inner planets

"Although the moon remains drier than any desert on Earth, new observations from three different spacecraft have uncovered what has been called 'unambiguous evidence' of water across the surface of the moon.

"On Mars, giant cracks were recently found etched across crater basins that hinted at ancient lakes, and liquid water is thought to have been common across a vast region of ancient Mars billions of years ago. Craters recently even revealed that more water ice is buried closer to the red planet's equator than would be expected, 'which implies there was more water in the atmosphere of Mars in the not too distant past,' explained Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program.

"But liquid and frozen water are not limited to Earth's closest neighbors in space.

"Even hellish Venus may once have been lush with oceans...."

The good news is that water seems to be quite common in the cosmos. The bad news is that it's not often in liquid form.

Still, it looks like the moon and Mars may not be quite so inhospitable as they sometimes seemed. Sure, there's no air to speak of on the moon, and the carbon dioxide atmosphere of Mars is too thin to breathe, even if there were free oxygen: but both places have more of the raw materials we need to live than we thought.

The article also makes a brief mention of a life-not-quite-as we-know it possibility.
Other posts, about "Mars, Mostly."

Related posts, at

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