Space Ramblings

Does Mars Have Water? Yes? No?

Mars has regularly been the most controversial planet in the solar system, astronomically speaking, more so than even Uranus (no not for the reason you think, shut up!) from the supposed Lowell canals which turned out to be microorganisms in Percival Lowell’s eyes which kickstarted the grand vision of a Martian civilization based around canals whose water dried up, to the present day where despite multiple visits by mobile sensory platforms we are still arguing over whether or not Mars ever had water.

A few months ago we believed that Mars at one point had water that was trapped under the surface of the ice on Mars’ polar caps. Now we have satellite photos that suggested the curves across Mars were not actually caused by water but by other means. It’s ironic that at a time when on Earth the passionate debate is over whether the ice caps will melt, drowning most of our coastlines, scientists are busy debating what amounts to global warming on Mars.

I suppose a good deal of Science Fiction is responsible for the romanticisation of Mars’ water from John Carter of Mars to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars and in our minds a Mars flowing with water was a fairly earthlike place and one that might have been home to a civilization like our own. In the end the Mars water debate is more about us than it is about Mars.

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