On Monday, NASA announced its discovery of liquid water on the surface of Mars. While we’ve known of water’s existence on the Red Planet for quite some time, this is the first indication of flowing water’s presence on the planet’s surface. It’s the strongest evidence to date that life in space is possible.
Water’s ability to be broken down into oxygen is the reason the compound is often thought of as the key to human life as we know it. NASA has invented a way for water to be harvested from Martian soil. Through electrolysis, this water can be made into breathable air.
Although we are one step closer to making Mars inhabitable one day, there is a more immediate benefit of water collected from Martian soil: rocket fuel. NASA has projected human exploration of the Red Planet could begin in as little as 15 years. Electrolysis can also break down water to produce methane gas, guaranteeing that astronauts will always have enough fuel to return home.