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Water Discovery Is Good News For Mars Colonists

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the especially-the-thirstiest-ones dept.

Mars 247

astroengine writes "By now, we probably all know that there was once significant quantities of water on the Martian surface and, although the red planet is bone dry by terrestrial standards, water persists as ice just below the surface to this day. Now, according to a series of new papers published in the journal Science, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has found that the Mars topsoil is laced with surprisingly high quantities of the wet stuff. And this could be good news for future Mars colonists. 'If you take a cubic foot of that soil you can basically get two pints of water out it — a couple of water bottles like you'd take to the gym, worth of water,' Curiosity scientist Laurie Leshin, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, N.Y., told Discovery News."

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247 comments

water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963863)

I know that US public education is going to hell, but do we really need articles to explain what a pint is?

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963901)

Pint, quarts and gallons are US measurements. In my region, we use milk jugs. We added the conversion to water bottles for heathens outside the US who haven't been educated in how to properly measure liquid.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (5, Funny)

pla (258480) | about 7 months ago | (#44964677)

Pint, quarts and gallons are US measurements. In my region, we use milk jugs. We added the conversion to water bottles for heathens outside the US who haven't been educated in how to properly measure liquid.

Heathens??? Pot, meet kettle. All the "civilized" countries use metric nowadays - decijugs, centijugs, millijugs, and so on.

/ And the same units work for bra sizes, too!

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963979)

Lousy explanation using lousy measures ... if your audience can't understand standard units, just say what fraction by weight would be extractable water.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | about 7 months ago | (#44964007)

Lousy explanation using lousy measures ... if your audience can't understand standard units, just say what fraction by weight would be extractable water.

And if they don't understand fractions?

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (0)

roc97007 (608802) | about 7 months ago | (#44964131)

Lousy explanation using lousy measures ... if your audience can't understand standard units, just say what fraction by weight would be extractable water.

And if they don't understand fractions?

I dunno, you'd say "the amount you'd drink with a big mac". But you're probably wasting your time because they don't believe in other planets.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 7 months ago | (#44964849)

Lousy explanation using lousy measures ... if your audience can't understand standard units, just say what fraction by weight would be extractable water.

And if they don't understand fractions?

is it mandated by law in US not to offend stupid people by exposing them to something smarter than a rock?

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (3, Insightful)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 7 months ago | (#44964037)

A fraction by weight of a quantity specified by volume? Brilliant...

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964003)

Yes. I'm not american and I have no idea how big a pint is. Can I get that in litres please?

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964145)

If you take a litre of that soil you can basically get 33 mL of water out it. Metric also instantly gives you the fraction of water by volume: 3.3%.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#44964353)

What size are your glasses of beer? I thought that was a pretty standard glass size. It's the most beer you can drink at a reasonable pace before it gets warm.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964525)

American beer glasses are approx. 350 mL (12 oz). The British "pint" is significantly larger, and the German "literstein" is [strike]about the right size[/strike] larger still.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964589)

Only small american beer glasses are 12 oz, the vast majority are 16 or 20 oz.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 7 months ago | (#44964595)

395 ml for a standard bottle, I'd like to know how they came up with that number as it's not a pint. A pint is almost half a litre, about 475 ml

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964707)

One pint is about 0.47, 0.56 or 0.55 litres. Depending on what and where you measure.
I (nor wikipedia) has any info on how much a martian soil pint is.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (5, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | about 7 months ago | (#44964087)

water bottles like you'd take to the gym

These comparisons are ridiculous- how can we know the amount of water indicated without knowing which gym we're taking it to, or what kind of workout we'll be doing? Is it aerobics? Weightlifting? Spin class? Are we just pretending to work out while ogling attractive people? Treadmill? We would need different amounts of water for each of these! Please provide information in units we can actually use.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (1)

a1cypher (619776) | about 7 months ago | (#44964153)

Dumb it down for me.. how many library of congresses is 2 pints?

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (0)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 7 months ago | (#44964223)

Dunno, but if it helps two pints is one-eight A Night on the Town with Ted Kennedy.

.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964245)

"there /was/ once significant quantities of water"

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (4, Insightful)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | about 7 months ago | (#44964331)

'If you take a cubic foot of that soil you can basically get two beer glasses-worth of water out it'

I think that's pretty much an international standard, right?

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (1)

Artraze (600366) | about 7 months ago | (#44964763)

It's really quite bizarre. Nevermind 2 pints is a quart or 4 cups, both of which would carry more intuitive meaning than "2 pints", but they opt to provide an analogy for that when most people have no idea what a cubic foot looks like. I think it's more a comment of how reporting is going to hell than the education system. (After all, there's no evidence that the populace actually needed that 'helpful' comparison.)

Here's a thought, writers, maybe instead of a crap analogy just convert it to something useful. Google and I took less than a minute to establish that 2pint/ft^3 is:

1/2 cup per gallon
(Or a bowl of ramen per two mulch bags worth of Martian soil.)

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 7 months ago | (#44964803)

Well they did say:

a couple of water bottles like you'd take to the gym, worth of water

Which is 1-liter. I don't know why they felt we couldn't handle that measurement and instead rounded it to pints and then added a metric-by-proxy measurement.

Re:water bottles like you'd take to the gym? (4, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 7 months ago | (#44964871)

The average American kid probably knows better what a pint is better than what a gym is, or what kind of bottle you'd bring to one.

That's a whole lot of dirt, but... (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 months ago | (#44963881)

If you couple it with water/fluid recycling techniques, you stand a good change of doing well.

I find it strange that they would focus on just drinking water in the summary, when water will give you fuel and oxygen as well, and will likely be the greatest byproducts of this type of mining.

Re:That's a whole lot of dirt, but... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 7 months ago | (#44964889)

They also said "like you'd take to the gym" as a way of explaining pints, and used cubic feet.

In other words drinking water was the most "understandable" part of it for the audience it was written for, and oxygen and fuel would have just drawn blank stares.

How much is that in shot glasses? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963883)

I thought since a certain missed orbital maneuver, people talking about Mars had agreed to only use metric...

Re:How much is that in shot glasses? (5, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 months ago | (#44964081)

No. We agreed to use imperial only. Didn't we? Oh, shit! I have a phone call to make.

Re:How much is that in shot glasses? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964167)

I thought since a certain missed orbital maneuver, people talking about Mars had agreed to only use metric...

Scientists studying Mars have only used metric for decades. American reporters only use imperial units. If you don't translate for them, they nearly always mess up the conversion. As far as that failed orbital maneuver, it was the defense contractor that use imperial units. As I said before, NASA and the scientists have used metric exclusively for a very long time.

Re:How much is that in shot glasses? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 months ago | (#44964327)

As long as you label your units you're generally ok but for some reason people feel they don't need to maintain unit labels when they're programming.

Re:How much is that in shot glasses? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 7 months ago | (#44964405)

That is why they should code in Ada, forced units of conversion for the win.

Re:How much is that in shot glasses? (2)

Antipater (2053064) | about 7 months ago | (#44964645)

As long as you trust your eyes and common sense you're generally ok as well. Regarding that "certain maneuver" mentioned above, it was NASA who refused to correct course, despite their own (not mixed-up) sensors telling them that the probe was coming in too low.

Even properly converted and labeled units are no match for stupid management.

Re:How much is that in shot glasses? (2)

osu-neko (2604) | about 7 months ago | (#44964893)

American reporters only use imperial units. If you don't translate for them, they nearly always mess up the conversion. As far as that failed orbital maneuver, it was the defense contractor that use imperial units.

Um, no, definitely not. Very few people in the US use imperial units. They tend to use US customary units. If you used imperial units, especially when talking volume, you'll confuse the heck out of everyone, since that's one of the areas where US customary units are quite different from imperial units.

burns the eyes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963893)

Cubic foot... pints...

Oh jesus.

Re:burns the eyes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963971)

In approximately one cubic light-nanosecond of Martian topsoil you will find approximately 3*10^25 molecules of water.

Is that better?

Let me be the first to point out (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 7 months ago | (#44963905)

Water Discovery Is Good News For Mars Colonists

Well, duh.

Now beer, that would be news!

Re:Let me be the first to point out (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#44963953)

Now beer, that would be news!

If you have yeast, hops and barley ... you can make your own beer if there's water there.

Red Planet Ale sounds tasty.

Re:Let me be the first to point out (4, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | about 7 months ago | (#44964097)

Yeah. I'm pretty sure the discovery of martian yeast would be big news on its own.

Re:Let me be the first to point out (0)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 7 months ago | (#44964673)

I'm pretty sure the discovery of martian yeast would be big news on its own.

Well, if Men are from Venus, and Women from Mars ... (ducks)

Colonists will be great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963919)

One day a rich and prosperous nation that values science and space exploration will colonize.

As a citizen of the US of A, I can't wait to see which nation steps up to the plate.

Re:Colonists will be great. (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#44963961)

Not just a matter of values but of fear of risk. Risk tolerance has become quite low and seems to just be getting worst as the place gets safer and the perception of the world gets smaller.

Risk is a relative concept. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 7 months ago | (#44964455)

Risk is a relative concept. When you think of how working conditions used to be when most people worked in factories or on farms, it's easy to see how people of the time would view the risk Apollo astronauts took as acceptable. But along with moves toward large scale agriculture and automation, the standards changed. It's not a bad thing, as production has become cheaper, there should be more resources available to make exploration safer. The reason the Space Shuttle disasters were so shocking is they shouldn't have happened. They were the result of political decisions which should not have been a part of the technical design of the spacecraft. They were not a result of the risk inherent in space-flight (which most people are willing to accept).

Re:Colonists will be great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964509)

Fine, you like risk? Quit your job. There. That's risk. So, step up to the plate, Oh Risk Taker and show us how it's done. What's that? Not interested? I see.

Re:Colonists will be great. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964093)

As a citizen of the US of A, I can't wait to see which nation steps up to the plate.

Probably the one dumb enough not to realize that space is an endless money/resource sink with no practical value.

Venus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964229)

As a citizen of the US of A, I can't wait to see which nation steps up to the plate.

Probably the one dumb enough not to realize that space is an endless money/resource sink with no practical value.

The study of Venus gave a practical model on what happens when there's a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere - for one.

The study of other planets helps with the understanding of the Earth and could very well give us information that will save our Bald Ape Asses.

But aside from that, I'd like to think there's more to our existence than consumption, superstition and being "spiritual" by practicing ancient religions based on superstition.

Re:Venus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964845)

"The study of Venus gave a practical model on what happens when there's a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere - for one."

People already knew about that in the 19th century. And we didn't need to send people to colonize Venus, did we? We observed Venus by radar from right here on Earth on our computer chairs. So how is that a defense for colonizing Mars again? Oh yeah, it isn't.

"The study of other planets helps with the understanding of the Earth and could very well give us information that will save our Bald Ape Asses."

The first part is true, but again, no one needed to go colonize these planets, sending machines is fine. The second part of your sentence, at best, could be said of anything we do, and at worst is just a religion.

"But aside from that, I'd like to think there's more to our existence than consumption, superstition and being "spiritual" by practicing ancient religions based on superstition."

There's more to existence than clutching to ridiculous Space Age myths and propaganda.

Not everything must have "practical value." (3, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 7 months ago | (#44964477)

space is an endless money/resource sink with no practical value

Not every human endeavor must have "practical value." You must be a lot of fun at parties. I'm just kidding, you obviously don't got to parties because they are an endless money/resource sink with no practical value.

Re:Not everything must have "practical value." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964625)

You are perfectly free to waste your own money on whatever you want. You are not free to waste other peoples money on whatever you want.

Re:Not everything must have "practical value." (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 7 months ago | (#44964779)

I'm sorry, but this obviously untrue. Pennies on the tax dollar actually go un-wasted. I agree that's not a good situation, but that's how it is. Also, I'm not the one who decides how to spend the tax-money. I wish they'd only take what they are willing to put to good use (or maybe nothing at all) and if that were the case, maybe we could use the money left over to fund a private space venture. But as long as they're taking it and wasting it, they might as well waste it on something interesting.

Re:Colonists will be great. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964417)

Russia "valued space exploration". They beat you to the first satellite, the first animal in space, the first man in space, the first woman in space, various LEO firsts like docking and staying a long time, they sent a sample return mission to the Moon and a Venus lander. Did that make them rich and prosperous for all that?

You seem to confuse cause and effect. About the only commercially viable thing you can do in space is NOT send people and put communication satellites. That's it. Anything else is a SHOW. If you think space has any connection to wealth, how's Norway's space program going? Oh yeah, they don't have one.

Re:Colonists will be great. (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about 7 months ago | (#44964713)

"Russia "valued space exploration". They beat you to the first satellite, the first animal in space, the first man in space, the first woman in space, various LEO firsts like docking and staying a long time, they sent a sample return mission to the Moon and a Venus lander. Did that make them rich and prosperous for all that?"

Actually yes. For the people in that sector. The rest of the economy which was far from world-leading was the disaster.

Re:Colonists will be great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964613)

Wont be you, your nation will just wait until someone else does it and then under the pretext they are a socialist gubberment either invade or get the space cadets in the CIA to cause a coup on the half of your fruit industry.

Great, let's send plants (4, Interesting)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 7 months ago | (#44963933)

Ok, next step, let's find some plants that might be able to grow there. Let's make Mars a green planet. I think that's really the next step, can we take a desolate planet and make it remotely suitable for life. I'd like to do the same thing with Venus, which I'm sure will be much more of a challenge.

Re:Great, let's send plants (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964025)

Ok, next step, let's find some plants that might be able to grow there. Let's make Mars a green planet. I think that's really the next step, can we take a desolate planet and make it remotely suitable for life. I'd like to do the same thing with Venus, which I'm sure will be much more of a challenge.

Actually the soil is fine to plant things in, you literally just have to accommodate for the temperature. At least from what the last rover showed us.

Re:Great, let's send plants (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 7 months ago | (#44964117)

Ok, next step, let's find some plants that might be able to grow there. Let's make Mars a green planet.

Actually the soil is fine to plant things in, you literally just have to accommodate for the temperature. At least from what the last rover showed us.

Cool. Start in a big geodesic dome at nice temperature and gradually change the atmosphere to make O2!

Re:Great, let's send plants (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#44964783)

Wouldn't really help. Mars can't hold a sufficient atmosphere. If it were 100% O2, that'd still not be enough O2 to sustain humans without mechanical assistance.

The only practical planet to terraform is Venus.

Re:Great, let's send plants (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 7 months ago | (#44964221)

As long as you landed your plants along the equator, some should be able to live. Find some high desert plants or lichens. Land them on Mars and wait 30 years to see what happens. Unfortunately, some boring people oppose putting foreign life forms on the surface of Mars. Boo. This is the most important and interesting study of climate and evolution we could possibly ever make.

Re:Great, let's send plants (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964099)

Yea, problem is that liquid water is in really short supply and most plants pretty much require some in the soil to get going. It is way too cold for that.

In addition, the normal atmospheric pressure is drastically reduced on mars, making the existence of liquid water very fleeting, even at the equator in the dead of summer. I just don't see how tera-farming is going to be successful on a scale that might be able to sustain even a small number of humans on Mars. Don't get me started on what's actually in the atmosphere and how inhospitable it is.

So.. If you want to heat up some martian soil to get H2O, power to you, but getting plants to grow outside on Mars is NOT going to happen.. Maybe if we could get a dozen or so large comets to impact Mars and release their water.... What am I saying??? That's NUTS! Even as a Hollywood movie plot.

Lets not forget Mars' Ice Caps... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 7 months ago | (#44964605)

Polar ice caps

Main article: Martian polar ice caps

Both the northern polar cap (Planum Boreum) and the southern polar cap (Planum Australe) are thought to grow in thickness during the winter and partially sublime during the summer. In 2004, the MARSIS radar sounder on the Mars Express satellite targeted the southern polar cap, and was able to confirm that ice there extends to a depth of 3.7 kilometres (2.3 mi) below the surface. In the same year, the OMEGA instrument on the same orbiter revealed that the cap is divided into three distinct parts, with varying contents of frozen water depending on latitude. The first part is the bright part of the polar cap seen in images, centered on the pole, which is a mixture of 85% CO2 ice to 15% water ice. The second part comprises steep slopes known as scarps, made almost entirely of water ice, that ring and fall away from the polar cap to the surrounding plains. The third part encompasses the vast permafrost fields that stretch for tens of kilometres away from the scarps, and is not obviously part of the cap until the surface composition is analysed. NASA scientists calculate that the volume of water ice in the south polar ice cap, if melted, would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 metres (36 ft). Observations over both poles and more widely over the planet suggest melting all the surface ice would produce a water equivalent global layer 35 meters deep.

On July 2008, NASA announced that the Phoenix lander had confirmed the presence of water ice at its landing site near the northern polar ice cap (at 68.2 latitude). This was the first ever direct observation of ice from the surface. Two years later, the shallow radar on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took measurements of the north polar ice cap and determined that the total volume of water ice in the cap is 821,000 cubic kilometers (197,000 cubic miles). That is equal to 30% of the Earth's Greenland ice sheet, or enough to cover the surface of Mars to a depth of 5.6 meters. Both polar caps reveal abundant fine internal layers when examined in HiRISE and Mars Global Surveyor imagery. Many researchers have attempted to use this layering to attempt to understand the structure, history, and flow properties of the caps,[4] although their interpretation is not straightforward.

Lake Vostok in Antarctica may have implications for liquid water still existing on Mars because if water existed before the polar ice caps on Mars, it is possible that there is still liquid water below the ice caps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_on_Mars

Re:Great, let's send plants (4, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | about 7 months ago | (#44964123)

I generously offer as the first plant to go to Mars a sample of the very hardy crabgrass found in my yard. I'm sure it will do fine there.

You would sacrifice that for our good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964257)

You are a hero sir.

Re:Great, let's send plants (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 months ago | (#44964607)

No, next step is heating Mars up with probably greenhouse gasses.

Re:Great, let's send plants (1)

Yosho (135835) | about 7 months ago | (#44964799)

But how are you going to get those greenhouse gasses to stay on the planet? With Mars' lower gravity and lack of a magnetic field, the solar winds will blow away any excess atmosphere.

Re:Great, let's send plants (1)

Syhra (1089779) | about 7 months ago | (#44964675)

I think that would be appropriate for the Mars One winners, send them a houseplant for their new home.

Imperial Dilemma (2)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | about 7 months ago | (#44963951)

I love how the dilemma of what units to use is highlighted by mixing feet, pints and the generic gym water bottle units. The Imperial system has dumbed Americans down to the point where they can only understand measurements by comparing distances, sizes, weights and volumes to things like football fields, elephants, bowling balls and water bottles.

Re:Imperial Dilemma (1)

bmo (77928) | about 7 months ago | (#44964085)

>Europeans use Wales as a measurement of area
>Criticize the US for using "comparative measurements"

Look at the troll. Look at the troll and laugh.

--
BMO

Re:Imperial Dilemma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964091)

You forgot big macs.

Re:Imperial Dilemma (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 7 months ago | (#44964265)

or you could you know, read the actual article which ignores metric or imperial measurements and just gives percentages...

âoeAbout 2 percent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource, and interesting scientifically.â

Re:Imperial Dilemma (1)

invid (163714) | about 7 months ago | (#44964281)

The Imperial system has dumbed Americans down to the point where they can only understand measurements by comparing distances, sizes, weights and volumes to things like football fields, elephants, bowling balls and water bottles.

Dumbed down! Are you kidding? The metric system is so simple and intuitive a two year old child can understand it! The American system of football fields and elephants is so complex and convoluted it takes a genius to get any real work done with it!

Translation to SI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44963959)

For 28.317 litres of soil, you get 1.1365, 0.94635 or 1.1012 litres of water.

Re:Translation to SI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964193)

Or just say you would get about 3.3% of the volume in water or 1 part water for every 30 parts soil (assuming US liquid pints).

How deep is the love (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 7 months ago | (#44964017)

What I'm curious about is how deep would this layer of water go. If it is just the surface then colonists would be ranging pretty far in short order for water.

Re:How deep is the love (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 7 months ago | (#44964149)

Don't know how deep the h20 goes, though it seems to be planetwide...

“Mars has kind of a global layer, a layer of surface soil that has been mixed and distributed by frequent dust storms. So a scoop of this stuff is basically a microscopic Mars rock collection,” said Leshin. “If you mix many grains of it together, you probably have an accurate picture of typical martian crust. By learning about it in any one place, you’re learning about the entire planet.”

http://news.rpi.edu/content/2013/09/26/nasa-mars-rover-curiosity-finds-water-first-sample-planet-surface?destination=node/40197 [rpi.edu]

Re:How deep is the love (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 7 months ago | (#44964301)

Now I RTFA and the other and my question still stands.

""If you take a cubic foot of that soil you can basically get two pints of water out it -- a couple of water bottles like you'd take to the gym, worth of water,""

A cubic foot (or should I convert to metric (sigh)) can be measured a varying number of ways from 1x1x1 to 1x2x.5 where depth can 1 foot to a few inches. To obtain water from such a shallow surface area would preclude the need for a large land source. I think it is grand that water could be that plentiful, but it would kind of suck that the major way to have a continuing water supply is to keep harvesting further and further out from base.

I look forward to when they drill to see if they can find some organics and perhaps to establish how deep the water may go down into the substrate. Obviously not in my lifetime, but a green Mars would be something to see.

Re:How deep is the love (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964391)

yeah, so would a Green-Party administration of a green Palestina; oh wait just a {insert max-possible length of israeli stalling} SEC, the negotiations are underway!

Re:How deep is the love (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964315)

well, considering the tunnels......
let`s all hope the israelis get banned from space (due to their violations of UN peaceful use of space Treaty)
because,

If they did get some waterrights on mars, judging from the deprivation of the entire Palestinian populace, the indigenous Martians might well be
  A. driven yet farther into space
  B. driven underground
  C. dead of thirst
  D. there were never Martians there before we got there
  E. forced to divert fuel for ambulances to fuel the reverse-osmosis plant or vice-versa
  F. forced to shut-down solar-power to melt the ice in the tunnels
  G. deprived of their gravity-fed hydroelectric and reverse-osmosis because of the depth of the dead-C wormhole.

So? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#44964499)

So Martian dwellers will not die of thirst and possibly starvation. There are still the following to deal with;
1. suicide
2. homicide
3. radiation
4. equipment failure
5. missed supply missions
6. funding cuts which end supply missions.

Water is only one part of the equation.

Re:So? (1)

Yosho (135835) | about 7 months ago | (#44964867)

1. suicide
2. homicide

There's nothing Mars-specific about those; they aren't even interplanetary travel problems. We have do deal with those here on Earth, so we're already pretty used to them.

3. radiation
4. equipment failure

Valid problems, but sufficiently well-engineered hardware and equipment can mitigate them.

5. missed supply missions
6. funding cuts which end supply missions.

Those aren't going to be problems because supply missions are pointless for a colony. It is so expensive and takes so long to send something to Mars that there's no point in building a colony that relies on resupplying from earth; a colony would need to be self-sustaining from near its beginning to be viable at all.

2% of a Cubic Foot is 2 Pints? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44964523)

It seems like some of the units are wrong here - the Science article says that it's 2% water. I find it hard to believe that this translates into 2 pints per cubic foot. That's some seriously wet ground.

Some good news about mars colonization. (1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about 7 months ago | (#44964775)

My wife wrote a PhD thesis about Mars Colonization. She wrote it in polish language. The good news is that it is now 50% translated to english. I will publish this translation in next two or days. Then you will find it on my homepage. I hope that translation will be fully complete in next several months.
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