We really need to extract oxygen from oxides in the rocks and soils of Mars instead of split it from the scarce water. What they found out is a catalyst found in the Mars meteorite that could split water. We already have efficient water splitting catalysts here on earth that can be easily transported to Mars as it doesn't require a lot of material, and we don't need to send a catalyst manufacturing factory to Mars, just send our best catalyst if the only intention is to split the very limited amount of water on Mars! Water on Mars is a finite very severely limited resource and must be conserved for other purposes when it is inhabited by humans, such as for farming or food production. The best solution is to develop a method to extract the oxygen from rocks and soils as they contain a lot more oxygen. So this finding isn't really helpful but the newly found catalyst might be better than the ones we have here on earth for splitting water but we'll have to get raw materials from Mars if we can't synthesize it here, and if we use it on Mars, we may need to bring a factory to process it there, which will be more expensive than using the best catalysts we already have.
I'm actually excited for Mars now and how we can colonize it in the future! Although i am a bit worried about how if people are going to colonize Mars, it will become a bit more crowded. These discoveries get us closer and closer to the future, to Mars we go! Oh and the metals and how we can extract air from it is really going a mile away! I am excited to go to Mars and explore the wonders that is space...
Although the Space.com article makes no mention of it, in order to split water into oxygen and hydrogen you of course need an input of energy, since when hydrogen and oxygen combine to form water the reaction is exothermic (i.e energy is released), so by conservation of energy you have to put energy back in to separate them. An uninformed person reading the article might assume that the catalyst splits water into hydrogen and oxygen all on its own! However if you go to the journal Nature Synthesis that is linked in the article it is clear that the researchers are proposing that the catalyst is used in an electrochemical workstation that uses electrolysis powered by solar panels to split the water, the catalyst just makes the electrolysis process more efficient than with no catalyst.
There is no free lunch, catalysts just speed up the waiter.
Put a conventional electrode into water, apply a voltage, a very small amount of current will flow and a small amount of water is electrolyzed. Each molecule of oxygen takes a certain amount of energy to dislodge.
Make the electrodes out of a catalyst and the reaction speeds up dramatically. The current will also rise. The amount of energy per oxygen molecule remains the same.
We(human beings) come with nothing. We must hunt and consume resources and materials and manufacture tools and structures to exist. And to make life even partly comfortable we must convert materials into needed products at high in-efficiencies.....usually with heat. This has given us a modern life.....via electricity.
Lucky for us, this planet can take our waste and recycle it into the resources we need. And we are not alone in this process, all life forms have and need this dynamic.
All lifeforms consume and deplete the environment around them. They also excrete waste. Life also consumes energy, converts it and excretes it. And comparing other energy densities, life has energy density much higher than dead matter......thru-out the universe.
What's the chances of you finding such an environment? Another world like that?
What's the chances of A.I. Terra-forming such an environment with stability or balance?
I believe from what I have read that we have plenty of resources for hundreds of years. And for this climate worry, we will know within ten years if these CO2 theories and predictions are true.
We should realize by now that yearly increases in CO2 is going to be a reality. Only great war or great disease/famine can prevent it.
And with our current climate predictions, we haven't the needed time or resources to colonize anything.
It would be easier to colonize Greenland or Antarctica than Mars. Both have valuable resources. It would be easier to farm under a mile of ice, than farming on Mars. We could do that.
What if it turns out that water is the result of a bio-process and chemically induced water(molecule, not condensed) is a rarity? Maybe water did not come......it might have been made.
In the last 20 years we have found new life forms that over double the present known life forms in bio mass of this planet. Many suspect much more to be found. This was done with environmental DNA and most have not been found naturally and studied, grown and analyzed. We know nothing of what they do OR where they fit into the environment. Or how they fit in the recycle scheme.