Liquid Water on Mars? Maybe not.

Die Nasa hat heute bekanntgegeben, dass sie schwarze Schlieren auf dem Mars beobachtet, die in Sommer und Frühling einen Krater herunterfließen. Das ist cool, aber auch schon alles. io9 macht daraus eine Bestätigung von fließendem Wasser, was ziemlicher Bullshit ist. Dem ganzen Gawker-Kram kann man halt nicht weiter glauben, als man eine Website werfen kann.

NASA: „Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring. Repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars’ southern hemisphere. “The best explanation for these observations so far is the flow of briny water,” said Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, Tucson. “

Ich lese solche Meldungen noch dazu vor dem Hintergrund der massiven Kürzungen im Raumfahrtprogramm und dem Druck, unter dem die NASA deshalb steht. Da macht sich fließendes Wasser auf dem Mars natürlich besser, als „unidentifizierte Substanz schwarzer Färbung, die die Hänge runterdingst und die alles sein könnte, vor allem da die Daten die Spektralsignatur der spekulierten Salze oder gar Wasser nicht hergeben“. I’m sorry to tell you that, I know I suck.

Aus einem recht ernüchternden Interview mit Mark Lemmon,„ a planetary scientist at Texas A&M University who participates in day-to-day operations of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars“:

The paper posits that water exists on Mars today. How convincing is the evidence?
The paper is suggestive of liquid water, but the team has not found the smoking gun. A spectral signature of water or of the salts that are speculated would be a key step.

Prior to this publication, what was the thinking in the planetary science community on the possibility of present-day water on Mars existing?
There is debate over present-day liquid water, with brines as the suggested way to have a liquid and gullies as one possible expression of the water. But the evidence is, so far, weak. This paper does provide a fresh motivation and a new place to look. Water, of course, is present as vapor and ice around Mars in the atmosphere, surface, and sub-surface.

Will this paper move the debate?
Some.

Scientists find evidence of salt water flowing on Mars

Mehr:
New Scientist: Dark streaks on Mars bolster case for liquid water
CNN: Mars may have flowing saltwater, study says
NASA: NASA Spacecraft Data Suggest Water Flowing on Mars