Why NASA can't examine Martian water

Why NASA can’t examine Martian water

Space law prevents rovers from contaminating H2O on Mars.

By: Kristen Bobst

October 1, 2015, 1:55 p.m.

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The Opportunity rover and Curiosity rover (pictured) cannot approach Martian water without running the risk of contaminating it. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Wikimedia Commons)

With Monday’s announcement of the likelihood of water flowing on Mars, the Red Planet is a hot topic this week. This new discovery leads to the question of how we can further understand the nature of Martian water. Also, since there has been no first-hand witnessing of H2O on the Red Planet, water on Mars is only strongly suspected, but not confirmed.

Scientists know where water most likely is, however, so the most obvious solution would be to point the current Mars rovers in the direction of the recurring slope linea (RSLs) where briny water is suspected to be flowing. At these sites, the rovers could take liquid samples and report the data back to Earth. Read more.