“If you look at the field of robotics today, you can say robots have been in the deepest oceans, they’ve been to Mars, you know? They’ve been all these places, but they’re just now starting to come into your living room. Your living room is the final frontier for robots.” –Cynthia Breazeal
Before we ever landed on Mars, there was evidence of water on its surface.
Seasonal icecaps, transient clouds and frozen lakes are all abundant.
From orbiters, we could see what looked like a large number of dried-up riverbeds.
Many of these contained oxbow bends, while others contained flowing features similar to what we see arising from mountaintops here on Earth.
There are canyons that show evidence of formation from water-based erosion, akin to the canyons on our own world.
From the surface itself, layers of sedimentary rock show further support for a watery past.
By scraping the dirt on the martian surface, water-ice was revealed, which then sublimated.
Hematite spherules, known as “Martian blueberries,” provided strong indirect evidence of water.
As water diffuses through the surface rock, minerals precipitate out of solution and form erosion-resistant spheres: geologically forming concretions.
But by far the strongest evidence comes from the recurring slope lineae.
These “gullies” are seen to be actively growing, but not from landslides.
Our orbiters show these lineae have perchlorate salt deposits inside.
As liquid water dissolves the salts and flows, it sublimates/evaporates, leaving the deposits behind.
Mostly Mute Monday tells the story of a single astronomical phenomenon or object in visuals, images, video and no more than 200 words.