There are implications for the existence of life on the planet today, because any liquid water raises the possibility that microbes could also be present. And for future astronauts on Mars, the identification of water supplies near the surface would make it easier for them to “live off the land”.
Water means life! Hooray! And drinking water for astronauts. Hooray!
An interesting consequence of the findings is that space agencies will now have some extra thinking to do about where they send future landers and rovers.
Right? Cuz yer gonna want to get right on in there to scoop it up!
Current internationally agreed rules state that missions should be wary of going to places on Mars where there is likely to be liquid water.
Wait, what? Why? Isn’t that the whole mission? Buzz Aldrin gotta drink!
A UK space agency expert on Mars landing sites, Dr Peter Grindrod, told BBC News: “Planetary protection states that we can’t go anywhere there is liquid water because we can’t sterilise our spacecraft well enough to guarantee we won’t contaminate these locations. So if an RSL is found within the landing zone of a probe, then you can’t land there.”
Huh.? Wha-? Okay. So what you’re saying is, we’ll never know if there’s life or send astronauts to drink the water?
Why are we looking for life in the first place if it’s illegal to be within a certain range of it? We could accidentally have stumbled into it. We could have landed on it! Our toxins could be airborne and invading underground layers of life right now!
It would be apropos here to point out the absurd irony of Western colonizers worried about contaminating life on every planet but the one they’re living on except there isn’t one. There isn’t one because the second that rule about not getting too close gets in the way of “progress”, they will change the rule. Or Americans will say “That’s a U.N. rule – we’re above all that. ‘Murica, damn it!”
For all of our “enlightened” Star Trek principles, our practices look more like… well… like the action scenes of Star Trek. The best of us is always kept in principle. In ideals. The actuality is, this Western colonizing mind divides things into properties, into yours/mine, thereby creating an enemy out of you and a desire for something I want–what’s yours. Upon this foundation it builds an economic system, which necessarily devolves into a wartime economy and, if we don’t live in smaller clans but in larger nations, eats up the planet for “resources,” i.e., other things I want.
Or I could be wrong about the wartime economy and the devouring of resources. Those might not be inevitable outcomes. They might only be natural outcomes of the system we’ve built. You know… the one trying to colonize Mars. The one we’re actually living in right now.
All quotes taken from Martian salt streaks ‘painted by liquid water’, By Jonathan Amos, BBC Science Correspondent. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34379284