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Video of the 'water on Mars' press conference, big solar storm causes radio blackout, and more

29 Sep 2015, 15:26 UTC
Video of the 'water on Mars' press conference, big solar storm causes radio blackout, and more
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Flowing water on Mars:Yesterday's 'mystery solved' release from NASA seems to point to a certain kind of dark feature on the Martian surface being due to liquid water, stabilised against freezing in the Martian cold, or evaporating in the thin martian air, by the naturally occurring perchlorate salts in the Martian soil. It's a process that occurs on earth (well, similar to) and keeps a very strange lake called 'Don Juan Pond in Antarctica filled.Above: Don Juan Pond, Antarctica, is the saltiest lake in the world - it never freezes, not even in the - 50 degrees Celsius of Antarctic winter. Courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey.Reactions to this have been surprisingly mixed: A lot of people are happy to hear that our planetary neighbour is a bit less inhospitable than we thought, even if it's still damn inhospitable. Others are (maybe with some justification) pointing out that NASA has over hyped this a bit. They point out that  although this is the first really solid evidence for liquid water in this part of Mars, and solves the mystery of the 'Recurring Slope Linea' (RSL's), thin films of liquid water have been detected in results from the Phoenix Mars lander ...

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