General Question

Steve_A's avatar

If we transport water from Mars to Earth?

Asked by Steve_A (5125points) March 13th, 2010 from iPhone

How would it change Earth?

Would it change Earth in a overall sense?

What amount would be needed to see or feel a change or would any amount be enough?

Do you think it would be wrong in a way to take things from planets to help Earth?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

31 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

If it was a few gallons, I fail to see how it would make much difference. I don’t see how we could carry back much more. In fact, I doubt if we could even carry that much back.

mrrich724's avatar

It would take too much money to make it worth it. We currently don’t purify salt water from the ocean to make it potable b/c it’s too expensive so there is no way we are going to build rocketships to go to mars and bring enough water back to make any kind of difference.

talljasperman's avatar

I would do it the other way around… Earth has enough water(and when the tides rise from Global warming) Mars needs it

Steve_A's avatar

I am asking what would happen if we did what would be the effects of it?

Not the amount of money it would take or if we should do it the other way around.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

A small amount wouldn’t have a large affect, but large amounts could lead to drastic changes. We have a finite amount of resources on Earth, in a (globally) closed system. Removal of some of these resources would change the system entirely.

Weather patterns are greatly influenced by water, so changes in weather patterns and climate would likely be the biggest change seen if water was removed from Earth.

Also, if water is less available, plants will be less active. With less available water for photosynthesis, plants would be less able to produce oxygen and utilize CO2, which would lead to great changes in our atmospheric composition (which in turn would further influence weather patterns).

Plants are at the bottom of the food chain, and the effects of fewer plant resources would be felt all the way to the top of the food chain. All in all, probably a very bad decision.

Your_Majesty's avatar

I don’t think there’s water in Mars. Mars is just like the other harmful,desolate,and dry planet. Why shouldn’t we even waste time and consequences for this water adventure from planet to planet.

talljasperman's avatar

Earth has too much stuff already… Unless your going to get Urainium from the Asteriods nothing else is worth the trip.

davidbetterman's avatar

If you drink it, you would become Martian.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Yeah, so I just now saw that you meant transporting water from other places to Earth, not the other way around. My first thought was that you were proposing some sort of colony on Mars, and bringing resources there. Oops! Perhaps I should be going to bed soon.

Steve_A's avatar

Ok thanks all. I got the answer.

Bugabear's avatar

Hold on a minute. Dont you mean take water from Earth and give it to Mars? Last time I checked we had all the water we need.

davidbetterman's avatar

If we transport water from Mars to Earth?”

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@mrrich724 Lots of water is desalinated and more desalination capacity is brought on line each year.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@wundayatta I don’t know why we would want to but we could carry back millions of gallons using nuclear propulsion (see Project Orion).

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@talljasperman Why does Mars “need” any more water than it has?

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@talljasperman What about helium-3??? Wouldn’t that be worth transporting.

wundayatta's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish There are so many other technical problems to solve to bring back water. How do you mine for water on Mars? How would you design and deliver a spaceship and program it to land, load the water, and blast off again to come back? Enormous technical difficulties. Not to mention that the nuclear propelled rocked doesn’t yet exist.

In any case, if you had a fleet of Orions bringing back ten million gallons of water per trip, it still would take centuries before you’d have any noticeable impact on earth. In fact, I seriously doubt if there is even enough water on Mars—in total—to make a difference to Earth if it was all transported here. In any case, it wouldn’t be worth the energy expended. We’d probably want to use that water on Mars to help make the planet a little more livable.

Buttonstc's avatar


I recall a commercial that ran quite frequently several years ago but can’t remember the company.

Anyhow, the visual was pretty striking and unforgettable. A huge net was being hauled by winch on a large fishing trawler. It proceeded to dump out massive quantities of those clear plastic water bottles.

There was no sound until the end where they spoke of obtaing huge amounts of sea water and desalinating it for drinking water.

Presumably they’re making a profit or they wouldn’t be doing it and paying for commercials to boot.

Or am I missing something here ?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Any water we might find on Mars would differ from Earth water only in the water soluble elements or compounds it may contain. Unless these dissolved substances are somehow dangerous or toxic, then this water would be of little consequence.

Anything we would bring back would be carefully screened as if if contained the worst possible risks and would never be released into our environment even if found to be absolutely harmless.

Buttonstc's avatar

YouTube never ceases to amaze me. I found that commercial.

I can’t do links from iPhone but if anyone wants to see it jus go to YouTube search bar and enter


It’s really short, but extremely well done.

So why go to Mars when we have plenty of water right in our own oceans ?

(and apparently figured out a cost effective way to desalinate it judging from the looks of this commercial )

talljasperman's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish for tera-forming the planet

jackm's avatar

when it contacts the earth water it will “teach” it to form a new form of crystal instantly freezing all water even at high temperatures.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@wundayatta: I do not see a reason to bring back more than sample-quantities of water from Mars. My point was that it is possible.

wundayatta's avatar

Anything is possible. Even things that break the laws of physics as we currently know them. That doesn’t there enough probability of it happening to make any speculation useful for anything more than pure entertainment purposes.

CMaz's avatar

What it would cost to bring water back from Mars. We could fix our water issues here on earth.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@wundayatta: The future use of super-heavy-lift nuclear propulsion is highly probable. There are no scientific barriers. The cost barrier is <= Apollo. The only real barriers are political.

mrrich724's avatar


it does happen. It’s just not economically pheasable on a mass scale. Which is why there are places throughout the world who still don’t have drinking water. It’ll happen one day.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@mrrich724 @Buttonstc: Desalination is entirely feasible for industrialized populations. Still, there is enough non-desalinated water available in most places so it isn’t necessary. I hear costs for desalinated water all over the map but if we assume 0.3 cents per gallon a twenty gallon shower with desalinated water would cost an extra six cents. To put this another way residential customers could use 100% desalinated water for LESS than they currently pay in taxes for existing water.

Buttonstc's avatar


Did you watch that video ? It would certainly suggest otherwise.

You mentioned many areas not having potable water. Without more specificity, I have no idea to which areas you refer.

I do know that a major problem in third world countries is far more related to unclean disease carrying water than it is strictly to simple lack of water.

I’m not techy enough to explain it well, but I saw a 60 Minutes piece on Dean Kamen. He’s a multi-faceted inventor who does a lot of thinking ” out of the box”.

He demonstrated a self contained system he developed which could easily filter water to drinking standards for small villages at minimal operational cost.

I haven’t checked on whether he goes into that much detail about how it works on his website. But I found the demo he did fascinating.

Desalination and potability are two separate issues. It wouldn’t be necessary to transport desalinated water to a landlocked area if a simple filter system could result in potable water.

I’m going to go check out his website and see how much progress has been made on making his system more widely available.

mrrich724's avatar

Which video?

Buttonstc's avatar

Go to YouTube and type into their search bar:


I can’t do links on iPhone but I mentioned it in my post. It’s a real short piece. You’ll see what I mean.

I guess your one who doesn’t read all the posts in a thread :)

I usually do cuz I’m so nosy I don’t want to risk missing something :D

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther