Scientists have long suspected that there was water on Mars, and the recent discovery that water currently flows down steep slopes on the planet’s surface confirms it. The finding has elicited enormous excitement from the scientific community, but what does finding water on Mars mean to the average earthling?
Ridley Scott’s newest film ‘The Martian’ couldn’t have been released at a more appropriate time. Without getting into spoilers, the film revolves around Mark Watney who gets stranded on Mars, and must survive weeks in the planet’s hostile environment. The plot of the film directly relates in theme to what the flowing water discovery means to humanity. It means life could survive on Mars, in fact it is very likely that at some point in time there was life on Mars. With the building blocks of life it’s possible that there were rivers, lakes and oceans full of plants and creatures that humans wouldn’t recognize. Of course, that’s a pretty big leap with not much evidence to support it, but a month ago it would have been considered infinitely less possible than it does now.
Even more important to humans is that the possibility of terraforming Mars has become that much closer to our grasp. Terraforming is the process of transforming a hostile environment into one suitable for human life. As humanity continues to grow exponentially and therefore devours the limited resources available, the idea of sending colonies to other planets becomes that much more appealing. Before now, it appeared that if we were ever to find a planet suitable for terraforming it would be multiple lifetimes away. Now we have found water in our own backyard. Mars will never maritime cities, but a planet resembling the state of Arizona could be very possible. That sounds terrible at first, but it’s truly amazing if it can save humanity.