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GEK 1520 Project group C 21

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Hey Alvin, stop sleeping! Tutorial end le! Wake up! Okay.. Do you know I read an interesting article last week? Yea yea.. Whey, I am talking to you. Do you know there could be fresh water on Mars? Huh?..Something like that? No, that’s Mars on water. I meant water on Mars. Like this. Since November 2011, Curiosity has been exploring Gale crater on Mars Yea curiosity killed the cat. No Curiosity is a car size robotic rover send by NASA. It is supposed to be in a 2 year mission but was extended indefinitely. Oh the rover which went to Mt Sharp. So what does it do there? It just walks around Mars? No. The rover roves. The rover is supposed to investigate the Martian climate and geology and from the study of the current Mars, we are able to reveal Mars’s past. Okayyy, so what has it found? Marvin the Martian? No Curiosity drilled holes into Mars and did a composition analysis on the fine-grained sedimentary rocks called mudstones. Hmm mudstones, sounds like things you will find in water bodies.. Yes! These mudstones contain clay minerals which are typically present in ancient freshwater lakes. Thus researchers strongly believe that freshwater lakes existed long long ago on Mars. Furthermore, the analysis also shows that there are key chemical ingredients for life in the samples, such as Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Wow! Water is really important for life. Life could really have existed on Mars! Very likely! The study suggests a series of freshwater lakes within the 154 kilometers wide Gale Crater. They are believed to have existed for hundreds or thousands of years at a time, and perhaps even longer! But I remember reading somewhere that these individual lakes were transient, drying out and filling up repeatedly over time so how can it ever sustain life? Hmm even if the lake goes away, there's still going to be a groundwater which means water present beneath the surface in soil pore spaces and in fractures of rock formations. This is a natural storage which acts as a buffer against shortages of water. With a habitat which is perpetually wet, microbes could exist. Oh so it will naturally be replenished by surface water from precipitation. Hmm I am guessing the water come from snow or even ice condensed out of the atmosphere! Yes you are right! A little more about Mars atmosphere, due to Mars smaller size compared to Earth, Mars’ atmosphere is also much thinner. It comprises of 95% carbon dioxide. Hmm with the thinner atmosphere and the longer distance from the Sun, Mars would be really a lot cooler than Earth! No wonder the temperature on Mars ranges from minus 143 to a maximum of only 35 degrees Celsius. Yes! That is an average of -55 degrees Celsius. That's very cold. The carbon dioxide atmosphere and the cold temperature makes it very difficult to retain liquid water on the surface of Mars. I remember reading another article that researchers believed that billions of years ago, Mars’s atmosphere might have been oxygen rich like Earth! Oh really? How could it be possible? This is due to photolysis of water. In the past, water vapour in Mars' atmosphere reacted with radiation from the Sun. This breaks it down to form Hydrogen and Oxygen. Most of it recombines back to give you water but some of the Hydrogen gains enough energy to escape the atmosphere. Thus leaving behind oxygen in excess. Hmm, but if that is the case why is it now all carbon dioxide? Hmm, there have been many theories regarding that. One of which is that the oxidation of surface rocks on Mars consumed most of its atmospheric oxygen. Another reason is because Carbon Dioxide is a relatively heavier compared Hydrogen and Oxygen. Hence it remains in the atmosphere while the lighter gas gets blown out of the atmosphere by the solar wind. Hmm so after so much of talking, do you think we can ever live in Mars one day? Hmm, the conditions in the past seems more favourable. I don’t think we will be able to live on Mars now with the current conditions and technology. But! Nothing is ever impossible in the future. Never mind then, since we cannot live on Mars now, let’s eat Mars instead.

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Duration: 5 minutes and 20 seconds
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Language: English
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Views: 19
Posted by: icyx on Oct 22, 2015

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