News has spread throughout the planet that water has been observed flowing on the surface of Mars. Heralded as a major breakthrough for the future of space travel. Dreams of rapid rivers, fluorescent waterfalls, and red oceans filled minds while hopes of alien fish and chips filled stomachs. All of these notions were revealed to be fantasies. Crucial details were revealed in the final minutes of the official NASA news conference ‘Water Flowing on Present-Day Mars‘ when a participant tried to answer the question on everyone’s mind:
If the process of deliquescence occurs, if that’s how the water’s being made it’d be much much saltier than the Earth’s oceans. How much water? We made an attempt to estimate in part of Valles Marineris how much water might be the minimum amount to explain the darkening assuming only 5% water which is sufficient photometrically to darken it and only 10 millimetres thickness which is enough for it to actually flow down the slopes. The minimum was ten to the fifth cubic meters of water, which sounds like a lot if it was all in one place, I don’t know how many olympic swimming pools that it is, but that’s dispersed over very wide areas. So what we’re dealing with is wet soil, thin layers of wet soil, not standing water, but Mars has a lot of surface areas so if you could add it all up it could be a significant volume.