Press Release: NASA finds water on Mars: Discovery may make Mars exploration easier than The Martian movie portrays

September 29 – MINNEAPOLIS, MN – With NASA announcing that water periodically flows on the surface of Mars, the push to find if there is life on Mars has grown significantly. Coupled with the opening of the highly anticipated movie, The Martian, due in theaters Friday, October 2, 2015, public interest in NASA’s Journey to Mars has never been higher.

NASA finds water on mars

These dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks called recurring slope lineae flowing downhill on Mars are inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water. 
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

The Martian, based on Andy Wier’s book of the same name, follows astronaut Mark Watney’s struggle to survive on the red planet after being stranded there. One of Watney’s biggest problems: the lack of water on Mars. While the water recently found on Mars may not be enough to have sustained Watney, it does pose several interesting questions. How much water actually flows on the planet? Where is this water coming from? Can it sustain life?

“Today’s announcement about current water on Mars is one of the reasons why I feel it is even more imperative that we send astrobiologists and planetary scientists to Mars to explore the question of ‘Is there life on Mars?'” said John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. Adding that this makes the Journey to Mars program, which aims to send humans to Mars in the early 2030’s, “more important than ever.”

Today, we are truly living ‘The Mars Generation,’ and must recognize the importance of continuing to engage and educate the public.

“Pop culture, including The Martian, can be a great way to get the public excited about something big like human Mars exploration,” said Abigail Harrison, known as Astronaut Abby on social media, Board Chair of The Mars Generation. “However, excitement inspired by pop culture can be fleeting, so it’s important to find ways to continue to take this excitement and turn it into something tangible. The Mars Generation is dedicated to engaging and educating the public about the importance of human Mars exploration.”

digital terrain model mars

Dark narrow streaks called recurring slope linear emanating out of the walls of Garni crater on Mars.   Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The Mars Generation operates three core programs to reach the organization’s mission, to excite young people and adults about space and STEM education and foster an understanding of the importance of these two elements to the future of humankind on Earth. The Future of Space Program is a worldwide outreach program designed to gain excitement about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and build support for space exploration. The Student Space Ambassador Program encourages teens and young adults to share their excitement about space exploration with their own communities. Finally, the Space Camp Scholarship Program provides financial backing for young people who lack financial resources but show an aptitude in STEM to attend Space Camp®.

Through these efforts The Mars Generation continues to inspire a new generation of NASA engineers, scientists and astronauts, who, hopefully, won’t have to worry about being stranded on Mars without any water.

Contact:

Nicole Harrison – The Mars Generation Executive Director
groundsupport (dot) themarsgeneration (dot) org
612-670-0337

 

Discussion

  1. As a graduate Chemical Engineer, I went back and checked my textbooks and came to the following conclusions. At the maximum temperature and normal pressure fresh water would have all boiled away over the eons, unless there was a huge source of it. But, you put sufficient concentrations of salt in that water, it won’t boil away, but it will freeze. So there is a seasonal liquid/solid/liquid/solid … equilibrium that allows water to exist in liquid form. I’m somewhat surprised that the results from the Phoenix lander didn’t show this as possible, but maybe it did but it was considered to be such a remote occurrence that it wasn’t deemed significant.

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