Mars Exchange
Does NASA’s recent discovery affect Mars One’s mission to Mars?

Does NASA’s recent discovery affect Mars One’s mission to Mars?

by Bas Lansdorp on Thursday, 8th October 2015 in People, Bas Lansdorp

Recently, NASA announced the discovery of liquid water on the surface of Mars during the planet’s warmer seasons. This discovery comes from data collected by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). MRO studied the chemistry of dark streaks that have been spotted on canyons and crater walls, which can reach hundreds of meters downhill. The analysis of the streaks confirms that they are formed by salty water.

How does this recent discovery affect Mars One's mission?

Articles about NASA's discovery appeared in the evening news in many countries, in newspapers, on websites - you'd have to live in a cave (or on Mars) to have missed it. The news received so much attention because liquid water significantly increases the odds of life existing on Mars. This discovery has fueled the interest in Space, and the relevance of robotic and human missions to Mars.

Other than the benefits of the increased relevance and attention, the liquid water does not immediately influence Mars One’s plans. Mars One's mission relies on frozen water in Martian soil. There is no doubt in the scientific community that the near-surface water ice exists. Mars One adviser Prof. John D. Rummel, PhD, recently co-authored a paper that outlines in depth the various regions in Mars that have frozen water.

"A New Analysis of Mars ‘‘Special Regions’’:Findings of the Second MEPAG Special RegionsScience Analysis Group (SR-SAG2)"

Photo Credit: NASA and USGS

The image above demonstrates where water ice can be found on Mars at shallow depths. A great potential location for the Mars One outpost could be at 35N, -150E, which is a lot further south than the 42 degrees N latitude where the outpost was initially expected to be when Mars One began in 2011. These mere 7 degrees improve the performance of the solar panels by almost 40% on the shortest winter day.

NASA's news is very exciting news for all Mars Exploration, due to the increase in the odds of life on Mars. Having humans there could make the search for life a lot more effective - To Mars!

Citations

Rummel, J. D., Beaty, D. W., Jones, M. A., Bakermans, C., Barlow, N. G., Boston, P. J., ... & Wray, J. J. (2014). A new analysis of Mars “special regions”: findings of the second MEPAG Special Regions Science Analysis Group (SR-SAG2). Astrobiology, 14(11), 887-968.

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