back to article 'Water on Mars' re-classified as just 'sand on Mars'

Scientists have revisited a 2015 sighting of water on the surface of Mars and revised the theory to suggest what we saw was sand, and probably not even damp sand at that. In a new paper titled Granular flows at recurring slope lineae on Mars indicate a limited role for liquid water seven authors from United States Geological …

  1. MyffyW Silver badge

    but where were the spiders?

    If ever we needed the manfromMars it was surely in this story...

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: but where were the spiders?

      Do you remember the time I knew a girl from Mars?

      1. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: but where were the spiders?

        I knew a girl from Mars. I don't know if you knew that? Oh we'd stay up late playing cards!

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: but where were the spiders?

        @Aladdin Cave

        ...a girl from Mars

        Helen Sharman?

        If Musk gets his skates on, he could offer the "Girl from Mars" a trip to Mars

        https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/18/blast-off-why-has-astronaut-helen-sharman-been-written-out-of-history

        She is fully in support of manned missions to Mars. And she herself would love to be on the maiden voyage.

        “It won’t happen now, but if I was younger I’d do it in an instant,” she says. “I’d still love to go back up. It’s a wonderful thing.”

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: but where were the spiders?

        I never knew one from Mars but I did know of a couple who liked to pig out on Mars Bars.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: but where were the spiders?

          Guilty as charged, @Mark_85, although not in the Marianne Faithful way, I hasten to add.

          [I really am so very glad I posted this....]

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is there enough water to build a sandcastle?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All that sand though....just imagine what it'll look like once the cement gets delivered.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        I'd like to see some data on the sand's properties. Not any type of sand can be used to mix concrete. The properties you want the concrete to have and the type of cement that is available are also vital factors. (Fun fact: Saudi Arabia has to import sand to make some types of concrete.)

        Being able to build concrete structures on Mars would help longtime Mars missions, from landing pads to crew shelters etc.

        Ideally Mars could have types of sand that cas cement-like properties, like puzzolani. The Romans used that for structures like the foundations of the Coliseum or the cupola of the Pantheon - 2,000 years ago.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Wait What? Someone is selling sand to the Arabs? Next you'll be telling me Eskimos buy ice.

          I had to search for that and apparently (it's the internet after all) Australia also export Camels to Saudi Arabia as well as sand.

          Further research gives me this book,

          "Ice to the Eskimos: How to Market a Product Nobody Wants"

          That's the B Ark right there.

      2. Steve K Silver badge

        That might be construed as a mortar attack and lead to retaliation?

  3. Forget It
    Coffee/keyboard

    To see a World in a Grain of Sand.

    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.

    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand.

    And Eternity in an hour

    or something like that

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43650/auguries-of-innocence

  4. Alister Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I recall at the time, posting on the original story, that whilst the headline, widely reported, was "Liquid Water Found On Mars" the reality was a bit more prosaic: "Strong evidence pointing to the presence of liquid water in the past, found on Mars".

    And now, not even that is true.

    1. hplasm
      Headmaster

      Rather-

      "Strong evidence pointing away from the presence of liquid water in the past, found on Mars".

      And now, that is true.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Rather-

        “WEIRD SURPRISE: Elvis found on Mars, NASA sources say”.

        In the end it was just rolling rocks.

    2. Lomax

      No no no

      > And now, not even that is true.

      You are misunderstanding - Mars' wet past is in little doubt, in fact we are pretty sure it had oceans of water on its surface at one point. This discovery has to do with whether liquid water is _currently_ present, even for brief periods, on the Martian surface. However, due to its now much thinner atmosphere, today water can only exist in liquid form at temperatures up to 10 degrees centigrade, above which it would boil, making the current presence of liquid water rather unlikely. Which is why the original story was so unexpected, and today's rather less so.

      It may also be worth pointing out that this by no means implies that there is no water Mars - in fact there is plenty; enough to cover the whole planet to a depth of 35 meters. It's just that it mostly exists as a solid.

  5. Christian Berger

    Seriously, how can that be sand?

    I mean it's clear, sand would be much more opaque:

    https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap050401.html

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously, how can that be sand?

      That's funny.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Water on Mars turns out to be damp squib

    Sorry.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Water on Mars turns out to be damp squib

      Damp squid. It's damp squid.

      Not that I put those of us who use english correctly on a pedalstool or anything.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Water on Mars turns out to be damp squib

        Damp squid. It's damp squid.

        No it bloody isn't, it's damp squib.

        Squib n a small firework or explosive device.

        A damp squib is therefore one that doesn't go off - more generally, something that doesn't live up to expectations.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Water on Mars turns out to be damp squib

          Wooosh...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Water on Mars turns out to be damp squib

            Your just missing someone whooose making an ironical point carnt yew sea that

  7. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Well, I see water on Mars.

    But then, I am currently watching Aria.....

    ....Calming....I'm free of the red mist for a while....

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Well, I see water on Mars.

      Is that the anime of a girl who wants to become Gondolière on Venise rebuild on Mars?

      I would like for this to come true...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Well, I see water on Mars.

        Yes.

        No peril in any of the Aria anime, just niceness (even very little fan service).

        For reasons I've not worked out yet, all the Undines (gondiliere) names begin with 'A' (but then I've yet to read the original Manga).

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    There will be a lot more of this

    A lot of evidence for water on Mars will turn out to be sand and rocks. We have no real experience of the geological conditions there.

  9. handleoclast
    Coat

    "That finding pours cold water on hopes..."

    Cold sand, shirley.

  10. Aladdin Sane

    Don't drink the water.

    Don't even touch it. Not one drop.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Musk's idea to explode nukes at the poles has a vital flaw

    Sure that'd get water released but because Mars lacks Earth's strong core/moon generated magnetic fields, water would be blown away by the solar wind, hence Mars is utterly unsuitable for long term human use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Musk's idea to explode nukes at the poles has a vital flaw

      Two words. Water hoovers.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Musk's idea to explode nukes at the poles has a vital flaw

      UNAMERICAN!

      We will MAKE it suitable!

    3. IT Poser

      Re: Musk's idea to explode nukes at the poles has a vital flaw

      Based on the little Martian exploration we've done, it appears that it took billions of years for the solar wind to create what we see today. Yes, the solar wind will eventually strip any Martian atmosphere, assuming we don't simply* develop an artificial planetary magnetic field. This will take millions of years. Unless your definition of long term human use is in time frames longer than humans have existed for, you have not stated a case against long term human use of Mars.

      * Simple for a civilization with the technology to construct a colony on anther planet than is large enough to justify the effort in nuking the poles. We know how to build Dyson-Harrop satellites today. Dyson-Harrop satellites can harness solar energy to create large magnetic fields in space. The solar wind is made up of charged particles, principally protons and electrons. Charged particles can be influenced by magnetic fields. A constellation of Dyson-Harrop satellites in Martian orbit** therefore can deflect the solar wind. I expect, if a better method is not developed, this style of system can be refined to capture the solar wind. As protons plus electrons equals hydrogen, this is one potential way to import lost-cost hydrogen(We also end up with helium and traces of heavier elements) to Mars. The same system could also be used to give the Moon it's own magnetic field, allowing a Lunar atmosphere.

      ** You may have seen the proposal for a similar shield placed at the Sun Mars L1 point. This doesn't work because the solar wind hits from the side. The solar wind is influenced by the Sun's magnetic field, which is dragged by the Sun's rotation. The Sun's magnetic field, when viewed from above the orbital plane, looks like a pinwheel.

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