Saturday 3 October 2015

Curiosity and water on Mars

Last Monday NASA announced they had found evidence of liquid water flows on Mars today and being a lazy topical cartoonist I have drawn something nearly a week later.

What NASA announced after teasing a "major mystery" of Mars had been solved is strong evidence that dark streaks on the surface are likely caused by seasonal flows of water.

This was discovered by studying dark streaks on slopes (known as "recurring slope lineaeae" or RSL) that were seen to come and go in the Martian summer.  The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used its Crism instrument to analyse the chemistry of these streaks using spectroscopy and detected hydrated salts.  So not direct detection of water but a strong indication that salty water is flowing on Mars.

However NASA's Curiosity Rover won't be heading over to investigate because even if it could climb the steep slopes it has not been sterilised to the correct degree to be allowed into any areas where life could exist for fear of contamination.  So the scenario painted in this cartoon will probably not be allowed if there was deep water, aliens and a supply of swimming aids on Mars.

If you liked this cartoon I have had other space toons on the reality show that is Mars One, Voyager 1 not leaving the Solar System and the future of NASA's manned spaceflight.

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