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NASA Radar Could Find Water In Earth’s Deserts

April 2, 2010

A NASA radar probe being used to find underground ice on Mars could be used to help find water in the desert climates of the Middle East, an Egyptian scientist said on Thursday.

Speaking at a United Nations (UN) conference in Alexandria, NASA member Essam Heggy said that the Marsis probe, a radar sounder with a 130-plus foot antenna attached to an orbiter, discovered a massive supply of water beneath the deserts of Mars. Theoretically, Heggy says, it could also be used detect the presence of water 6/10 of a mile below the Earth’s surface.

“We, as Arab nations, must use space technology to find water. It is a duty, not a choice,” Heggy told those in attendance at the conference. “The Arab world is the world’s largest oil-producing region, but the poorest in water resources. It is the largest investor in oil exploration, but the poorest in water exploration. This should be reversed.

“Water is the basis of all life on Earth. We must monitor the desert as a part of the global warming indicators,” Heggy added. “Millions of years ago Mars was a blue planet, like Earth. Then it turned from that blue planet to the desert we see now”¦ This changes our conception of how climate change could take place in Earth”¦ This is not just a problem for the far distant feature over millions of years. This could take place in the next few hundred years.”

More than 880 million people in the world currently lack access to a reliable source of clean drinking water, according to PopSci.com. Heggy notes that the Marsis probe could locate areas where wells or manmade oases can be constructed, thus solving the H2O shortage and easing tensions between different nations or factions that has led to violent conflicts in African and the Middle East.

Image Caption: This true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image provides a cloud-free view of the Middle Eastern countries surrounding the Fertile Crescent. Courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

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