The Waters of Mars

February 6, 2013

By:

Kate Cline

It’s a story straight out of “Doctor Who”: In recent weeks, two reports were released detailing new discoveries about water on Mars. One, from NASA, revealed that a crater may have once held a groundwater-fed lake. The other, from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, reported that a Martian meteorite held evidence of water on the planet’s surface.

OK, OK – so no aliens were discovered, and it’s not nearly as exciting as when the Doctor traveled to the future to visit Earth’s first colony on Mars, only to discover that the crew was infected with a waterborne disease that had been trapped in the planet’s polar ice cap by an alien race.

Science fiction aside, these new reports are beginning to answer questions that we Earthlings have been asking for centuries: Has there ever been liquid water on Mars, and was this water ever able to support life?

Being involved in the water treatment industry, I find myself wondering about other things as well. What was the quality of water on Mars like? Did it contain the same contaminants that we deal with here on Earth? (I can only imagine that on the “red planet,” iron removal would be a doozy.)

We may be years away from answering any of these questions, but it is certainly interesting to wonder. Perhaps someday humans will travel to Mars and be able to investigate the ice trapped in the ice caps and underground firsthand – and we can only hope that if anything goes wrong, the Doctor will be there to save the day.

 

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