Come 2018, Mars will have a potential water farm cruising around to investigate the presence of surface moisture.
Confirmed earlier this year, Mars’ water is a brine-like liquid that evaporates and condenses in cycles.
A Mars-exploration partnership between European and Russian space agencies known as ExoMars will launch a rover and surface platform in May 2018. After a nine-month journey, the rover — capable of exploring the surface and drilling up to 2 meters beneath — will land on the Red Planet.
The surface platform will observe the climate, atmosphere and radiation, as well as capture images of the landing site. One of the instruments aboard the platform will be the Habitability, Brine Irradiation and Temperature package, aka HABIT.
New Scientist reports that HABIT will absorb 5 milliliters of water daily — 25 milliliters total — through the use of salts. Over the course of a Martian year, HABIT will cycle through 50 liters.
Javier Martin-Torres, one of the researchers involved in the initial Mars water discovery, helped to design the new instrument.
HABIT can be easily scaled up for “water farms,” he told New Scientist. “This cyclical and natural separation process that extracts pure water is key for future applications” and requires no additional energy.
The tool will monitor other meteorological phenomena as well, such as temperature and humidity, and will trap atmospheric dust to track seasonal changes.
Will the ability to harvest water on Mars be a game-changer for potential habitation? Comment below or tweet @MNetKatie.