Searching for Water on a Planet Near You

Image (Credit): Water levels in the Overton Arm, which is the northern portion of Lake Mead. (NASA)

While we get excited about NASA discoveries of water on exoplanets, NASA is also monitoring water levels here on Earth, and it is scary in some areas. The images above from NASA’s Near Earth Observatory show water loss in the Overton Arm of Lake Mead. The lake is currently filled at 27 percent of capacity, threatening the availability of drinking water, electricity from the Hoover dam, and recreational boating. You can read more about water projections in the region here.

Luckily, we have plenty of water covering the majority of our planet, so alien civilizations will still be able to pick up on water signatures as we do elsewhere. However, the loss of drinking water is something we need to resolve, be it overdrawing on such resources or pushing the climate into a direction that threatens this resource. If we hope to keep our civilization intact as we look to the stars, we need to make some changes as soon as possible. We want to travel to Mars, not mimic its dried-up river beds.