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Is there water on Mars?

asked 2016-05-05 16:58:58 -0600

Rob Mueller gravatar image

updated 2016-05-07 11:15:44 -0600

Where is the water on Mars - is it accessible?

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answered 2016-05-07 07:47:20 -0600

Spacerobots gravatar image

There are some indications that there is. The Phoenix lander found ice underneath a shallow layer of Martian soil. Orbiters have detected seasonal changes near the Martian equator which have been tentatively interpreted as freezing and thawing of saline water. Most recently there's this: http://news.discovery.com/s...

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answered 2016-05-07 10:02:35 -0600

Rob Mueller gravatar image

updated 2016-05-07 10:08:27 -0600

A comprehensive study was recently completed by a very qualified group of experts from government, industry and academia. It is called the Mars Water In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Planning (M-WIP) Study and can be found at the NASA Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) web site: http://mepag.nasa.gov/repor...

From the report:

"ISRU would significantly reduce the total overall mass which needs to be sent to Mars. The baseline assumption would be that we are only producing LOX using atmospheric ISRU. However, for a relatively small increase in the initial mass of ISRU equipment sent to Mars, CH4 could also be produced, dramatically increasing propellant produced by a factor of 6 per kg of total ISRU system mass.

There is reasonable potential to produce mission-significant quantities water on Mars, using systems that may be compatible with the architecture of a human mission, from at least 4 potential resource types:

Ice, Polyhydrated sulfate concentrations, Phyllosilicate concentrations, Regolith.

One of the most exciting findings is that there are receding glaciers on Mars that could have water ice near the surface at latitudes as low as 30-40 degrees latitude: image description

image description

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Asked: 2016-05-05 16:58:58 -0600

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Last updated: May 07 '16