Kelly Beatty, Nasa, Senior Editor discussed on Here & Now

Here & Now


For the first time scientists say they have detected water in underground lake on Mars. This raises the possibility of finding life on the red planet joining us now is Kelly Beatty senior editor at sky and telescope Kelly, hey, German. So how significant is this discovering? What do we know so far? This is an area of Mars that's near its permanent polar-cap south pole and the water's at the base of a thick layer of ice on top of the planet. We have things like that on earth under glaciers, for example. So this was expected, but it took years of probing this polar cap with radar onboard in orbiting spacecraft in order to get the right echo that gave them confidence in terms of its significance is really significant because we know the water's there. We, we suspected. It's been there for a long time, and now we have the proof and this was not nessa that found this. This is the Italian space agency, right? Because radar system is on European spacecraft called. Ars express. It's been there for fifteen years. NASA also has a spacecraft where the radar on it, but those scientists, the NASA scientists interpreted these same echoes as the temperature issue, not as liquid water. So there was a little bit of a competition there to see who would come up with this first. So what's the next step in terms of figuring out if there's life? Oh, boy. So the problem is that the temperature they suspect is about ninety degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and it's very difficult to get water to stay liquid that gives you unless you loaded up with a lot of different kinds of salts and freeze if you will, and whether life could be, you know, happy in such a in incredibly salty environment remains to be seen, maybe a little microbe. I mean, that's all that's the, that's the best you could hope for and and there are sorts of microbes who can tolerate salt on the earth. So maybe speaking of Mars, this is actually a great time for people here on earth to view the red planet Mars is making its closest. Coach to the earth since two thousand three. It's going to be brighter than all the planets, except Venus, what's the best time to see it? Well, Mars is reaching what's called opposition, which means it's opposite the sun in the sky, the sun sets on the other side of the horizon in the east. The March will be rising. So I would try as early as c. about ten o'clock the actual time when it's closest is three fifty AM eastern time on the thirty first. And at that time it will be about thirty five point eight million miles away which sounds like a long distance. But for Mars, it's really close. The planet itself will be brilliant and obvious. It'll be like a glowing ember in the sky. I have noticed in recent days that you can see a number of planets right now. They looked like these really bright stars. There are a lot of them in the sky at the moment. That's right. If you start in the west after sunset, that brilliant star, there is Venus and righteous planet. Then moving to the left toward the east. You have Jupiter Saturn, which is the demo. Of the lot. And then finally Mars, and they're in a big arc which is following the zodiac in the sky, and that's why those planets were along there. It's a great time. We can see four bright ones all at once. And can.

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