A University of Iowa space physicist has won a four-million dollar N-A-S-Acontract to develop a system for finding water on Mars. Don Gurnett saysthe project will use radar aboard a European Space Agency spacecraft tolook for water. The radar sends out pulses to the surface, then reflectionsindicate water. Gurnett says Mars had water in the past.The spacecraft won’t be launched until 2003. Gurnett says it shouldn’t takelong after the craft begins orbiting Mars to get results. Gurnett believes the water may be around five kilometers below the surfaceof the planet. He says sucess in this project could answer the question ofwhether there had ever been life on the planet. He says water would alsoprovide an important resource for humans to travel to Mars. Water acts as apropellant, making it possible for humans to return to Earth after a Marsvisit. Gurnett is in the process of designing the antennas that will shootthe x-rays off the surface of Mars.
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