Tuesday, October 21 2003 @ 06:14 PM CDT
Contributed by: bobmoody
Dr. Derek W.G. Sears is a professor in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and is the director of the Arkansas Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences. Recently, he led a team of graduate students into new territory by first building a special chamber where the conditions on the surface of Mars could be duplicated, and then determining whether liquid water might be able to exist there. Their conclusion? YES, liquid water CAN exist on Mars!
Since the days of Percival Lowell and H.G. Wells in the late nineteenth century, Mars enthusiasts have thought that the Red Planet might harbor liquid water. Lowell believed he could see "canals" on the surface of Mars, which he mistook for a vast planet-wide irrigation system that brought liquid water from the frozen polar regions down and across the arid desert regions of equatorial Mars. When mankind's first spacecraft visited in the mid-60's, what we found was a cold, dead landscape not too different from the way the surface of the moon appeared. Water, it was thought, couldn't possibly exist under such dry and barren conditions.