NASA Finds Water on Mars Near Curiosity Rover
It looks like the Curiosity Rover will be taking a bit of a road trip. Today NASA announced that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had identified several locations on Mars with evidence of liquid salt water. While ice was discovered on Mars years ago, liquid water could improve the possibility of life on the red planet, depending on how salty it is.
— New Scientist (@newscientist) September 28, 2015
One of the areas of salt water found was found a little over 30 miles from the Mars Rover, Curiosity. While often depicted as a small robot, Curiosity is actually about the size of a small SUV, according to Space.com. It’s about seven feet tall and the wheels are 20 inches in diameter. Using its various science instruments, Curiosity has been able to detect methane on Mars, another possible indicator of life, and is constantly sending back research to help us understand our planetary neighbor.
We weren’t kidding when we said that Curiosity had a road trip ahead of it, as the rover can only move about 660 feet per day. If it travels at top speeds, it will take over 200 days for the rover to reach the water on Mars and begin testing it. Even commuters caught in LA’s traffic will move faster than the Mars rover. It won’t run out of fuel, however, as Curiosity is powered, not by imaginative thought, but by a generator that makes electricity from the radioactive decay of plutonium-238.
We’ll see what Curiosity and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter can figure out about the water on Mars, and if it can sustain any life. We also hope that NASA is very careful with their discoveries. Doctor Who fans know about the monsters that can lurk in the waters of Mars.
— john tillman (@jtillhuman) September 28, 2015
News Source: New Scientist
Rover Facts: Space.com