It’s hard enough to know what our own planet looked like millions of years ago, much less other planets in our solar system. But science and technology have allowed us glimpses into other planets’ pasts, and news is slowly filtering back from NASA rovers on the surface of Mars.
The sister rovers Spirit and Opportunity has been on Mars’ surface for 10 years now, sending back data about a once-biologically-friendly planet that, somewhere along the line, turned into nothing but a big, dead rock. Since 2012, the rover Curiosity has been sending back evidence that supports and substantiates Spirit and Opportunity’s results.
Spirit and Opportunity were sent to Mars specifically to look for signs of water, and find it they did. Spirit is now defunct, but Opportunity continues to find evidence that there was once water on the surface of the planet believed to be most like Earth.
Other evidence like specific clays that form in PH-neutral water, water-bearing rocks, dry ocean basins, river trails, salt and minerals that form only in watery environments, and craters all combine to support the idea that water once existed in abundance on the surface of the planet.
Curiosity is roving Mars’ surface thousands of miles from Opportunity, but has found the same kinds of evidence. The latest photos show smooth, polished pebbles—the kind of pebbles that are smoothed by running water. Science suggests by the shape of the pebbles that the water was moving fairly vigorously.
Curiosity has found other evidence like water bound in Martian soil and polar ice. Even traces of methane have been found, though not enough to indicate that life once lived on the planet. However, the search for life on Mars has by no means been abandoned.
Snow on Mars
Earth-based telescopes, Mars orbiters, and the rovers previously mentioned have all proven irrefutably that Mars was once wet. But not only was it wet in the past, but in 2012 NASA reported that Mars was snowing. Not water particles, but carbon dioxide, which adds an intriguing layer to Mars’ atmospheric mystery.
Falling water/ice was detected back in 2008 around the planet’s northern regions, but this more recent evidence of snow is the first observation of a cloud and its composition.
What Does This Mean?
So what does hard evidence of water on Mars mean? It means that Mars was not always the barren planet science once thought it was.
Presence of water means life once potentially existed on Mars, and evidence of snow has possible implications for life as well. Water is essential for any life form (at least as we know it, and based on the familiar chemicals and minerals we see on Mars), and the presence of water is a spark of hope for lovers of the Red Planet.
Since we don’t live on Mars, we need water to survive. For pure drinking water on this planet, call us for more information on our water treatment services.