Mars pole may be hiding salty lakes and life, find researchers

Researchers detect a large lake and several ponds deep under the ice of the Martian South Pole.

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
  • Italian scientists release findings of a large underground lake and three ponds below the South Pole of Mars.
  • The lake might contain water, with salt preventing them from freezing.
  • The presence of water may indicate the existence of microbial and other life forms on the planet.
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Tools for Mars are being developed in preparation for colonization

Turns out chitin is quite useful when you need a wrench.

Credit: Dotted Yeti / Shutterstock
  • Researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design constructed Mars-ready tools in preparation for colonization.
  • The team chose chitin as a cheap and abundant material to fashion a wrench and habitat.
  • Chitin occurs naturally in arthropod exoskeletons, fungus, and fish scales.
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Mars colony: Humanity's greatest quest

Just how close are we to setting up camp on another planet? It's complicated.

  • We are closer than ever to actually putting human beings on Mars, but exactly how close is very much still up for debate. Getting there is one thing, and we eventually may not have a choice, but there are a number of problems that need to be solved before our species can call the Red Planet home.
  • In this video, former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, educator Bill Nye, science journalist Stephen Petranek, astronomer Michelle Thaller, and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku consider mankind's fascination with Mars and explain why the planet may be the most viable option for colonization. They also share difficult truths about what it will take for this expensive dream to become a reality.
  • From finding a way to protect against radiation and adjusting to the difference in atmospheric pressure, to mining for ice and transporting food, to significantly lowering the cost of space travel, it certainly won't be easy. But that doesn't mean that it's not worth doing. As Leland Melvin says, the spirit of exploration and curiosity is in our DNA.

Here’s a map of Mars with as much water as Earth

A 71% wet Mars would have two major land masses and one giant 'Medimartian Sea.'

Image: A.R. Bhattarai, reproduced with kind permission
  • Sci-fi visions of Mars have changed over time, in step with humanity's own obsessions.
  • Once the source of alien invaders, the Red Planet is now deemed ripe for terraforming.
  • Here's an extreme example: Mars with exactly as much surface water as Earth.
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ESA's 'interplanetary cargo ship' to carry Mars rocks to Earth in 2031

The Earth Return Orbiter is part of a long-term mission to search for ancient alien life on Mars.

ESA
  • On July 30, NASA is set to launch the Perseverance rover toward Mars on a mission to search for biosignatures of ancient life within the planet's Jerezo Crater.
  • The soil samples collected by the rover would then be launched from the Martian surface into orbit, where a European-made "cargo ship" will intercept the container.
  • The cargo ship — a satellite called the Earth Return Orbiter — could return the samples to Earth for further study by 2031.
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