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> Water Ice Found On Mars
The Uncreator
post Jun 21 2008, 05:50 AM
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http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/0806...ice-update.html

New update on Space.com about the Phoenix lander, It has apparently found water ice on the martian surface away from the martian polar ice caps, Which is really exciting to me smile.gif

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Scientists said today they have "found proof" of water ice on Mars away from the polar ice caps, a discovery made by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander.

The finding is a crucial first step toward learning whether the ground on Mars is hospitable, because all life as we know it requires water. Now scientists can get on with the business of studying the chemistry of Mars dirt in more detail.

When the probe took photos of a ditch it had dug four days before, scientists noticed that about eight small crumbs of a bright material had disappeared. They concluded those crumbs had been water ice buried under a thin layer of dirt that vaporized when Phoenix exposed them to the air.

"It's with great pride and a lot of joy I announce today we have found proof that this hard material really is water ice and not some other substance," Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson said at a briefing Friday.

The finding had been discussed tentatively yesterday, but in a press conference today, researchers left no doubts.

Phoenix's robotic arm first revealed the crumbs about 5 cm deep in the trench called "Dodo-Goldilocks" on June 15. By June 19, they had vanished. If the crumbs had been salt, they wouldn't have disappeared, scientists said, and if the ice had been made of carbon dioxide, they wouldn't have vaporized.

"What this tells us is we found what we're looking for," said Mark Lemmon, a Phoenix co-investigator from Texas A&M University. "This tells us that we've got water ice within reach of the [robotic] arms, which means that we can continue the investigation."

The $420 million mission landed on the arctic plains of Mars May 25, embarking on a quest of at least four months to search for signs that the environment was once habitable to life.

A "significant result"

Finding ice on Mars isn't completely shocking, since observations from past satellites sent to orbit the planet, such as the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, have indicated that ice is likely to lie beneath the planet's surface. Still, if confirmed, this would be the first direct finding of that ice by a probe on the ground.

"We certainly expected to find ice there," said Bruce Jakosky, a geologist at the University of Colorado who has been involved with past missions to the red planet. "It was the [previous] evidence for ice that sent us to that location. But there's a difference between expecting it and finding."

Jakosky called the discovery a "significant result" that allows the Phoenix mission to go forward with its wet chemistry experiments, analyzing the soil for the history and composition of the ice.

"If they had found no ice, which was a real possibility, that would make this much harder," he told SPACE.com. "I'm anxious to see the results of the chemical analysis."

And although the 2001 Mars Odyssey satellite could measure the average water ice content in roughly the top meter of ground over areas of several hundred kilometers, these data didn't reveal how that ice was spread out, said Maria Zuber, a geophysicist at MIT who worked on past Mars missions, including the Spirit rover.

"We don't know the form of the water, beyond the fact that there is too much there to be explained solely by water bound in minerals," Zuber said. "So chunks, a layer, etc. are all possibilities. The [Phoenix] observation is an important advance in our understanding of water on Mars, and continued sampling will undoubtedly add to the story."

Next steps

The next questions to answer are what chemicals, minerals and organic compounds might be mixed in with the water.

"Just the fact that there's ice there doesn't tell you if it's habitable," Smith said. "With ice and no food it's not a habitable zone. We don't eat rocks — we have to have carbon chain materials that we ingest into our bodies to create new cells and give us energy. That's what we eat and that's what has to be there if you're going to have a habitable zone on Mars."

To find this out, mission scientists plan to eventually put samples of ice into Phoenix's oven instrument, the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA), which is designed to bake Martian dirt and analyze the vapors it emits to detect its composition. They also plan to use the onboard Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) instrument, a wet chemistry lab that measures levels of acidity, minerals, and conductivity in dirt samples.

"Now we know for sure that we are on an icy surface and we can really meet the science goals of our mission at the highest level," Lemmon said. "I am just sitting at the edge of my chair waiting to find out what the TEGA and MECA can tell us about these soils."

Expect the unexpected

Although the ice finding was expected, until Phoenix actually found it, many scientists were still holding their breath.

"As for the ice, we were expecting to find it, but science is full of the unexpected, so until they actually found the ice and can begin to study it there are real questions about whether or not the hypothesis was correct," said Phil Christensen, a geophysicist at Arizona State University who worked on 2001 Mars Odyssey, Mars Global Surveyor, and the Mars Exploration Rover missions. "The real excitement will come when they start to study the ice in detail and attempt to learn how it formed and how old it is."
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Tjchep
post Jun 21 2008, 05:58 AM
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This is sick dude..

Thanks so much.


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The Uncreator
post Jun 21 2008, 06:02 AM
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Yeah, it would be great if they could test it further and at deeper depths to see if anything like Micro-organisms are there, or even if they were ONCE there would still be amazing.
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FrankW
post Jun 21 2008, 06:04 AM
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Great post, man. That's exciting news. The Phoenix Lander seems to be working as advertised. But, I already knew there was life on Mars...that's where my ex-wife came from.
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Tjchep
post Jun 21 2008, 06:08 AM
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I agree.

There is still so much for us to figure out about mars. I think they are gonna find life of some sort there..

I'd be cool if there was some substantially large discovery on mars. Like some multi cellular organism. Or even just prove that something else has been there and lived there for a good while..

ahh, this stuff is so awesome. tongue.gif

edit: ahaha, lets just hope your wife doesn't read this, eh? wink.gif

This post has been edited by Tjchep: Jun 21 2008, 06:09 AM


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The Uncreator
post Jun 21 2008, 06:24 AM
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It would be cool just for any single-celled organism to be found, Even its fossil just so we know that it can sustain life and at one time that it did, Would be awesome smile.gif
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Jerry Arcidiacon...
post Jun 21 2008, 09:10 AM
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Thank you for sharing The Uncreator. Very interesting post.


QUOTE (FrankW @ Jun 21 2008, 07:04 AM) *
Great post, man. That's exciting news. The Phoenix Lander seems to be working as advertised. But, I already knew there was life on Mars...that's where my ex-wife came from.


laugh.gif laugh.gif


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Jad Diab
post Jun 21 2008, 09:45 AM
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cool dude, but it would be cooler if they found a martian tongue.gif hehe
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MickeM
post Jun 21 2008, 10:33 AM
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QUOTE (FrankW @ Jun 21 2008, 07:04 AM) *
Great post, man. That's exciting news. The Phoenix Lander seems to be working as advertised. But, I already knew there was life on Mars...that's where my ex-wife came from.

laugh.gif


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Hisham Al-Sanea
post Jun 21 2008, 11:03 AM
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good and interesting information mate


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 21 2008, 11:15 AM
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This is great news, I love these kind of stuff. Space rulezz smile.gif


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audiopaal
post Jun 21 2008, 11:35 AM
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Thanks for sharing mate, awesome news smile.gif

For some reason that made me wanna put on "Arjen Lucassen's Star One" album biggrin.gif
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Danilo Capezzuto
post Jun 21 2008, 01:18 PM
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Cool news mate, thank you for the link!


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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 21 2008, 04:32 PM
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Ahh, great stuff - love it!


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Nick325
post Jun 21 2008, 04:43 PM
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awesome thanks for sharing
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sidewas lightnin...
post Jun 21 2008, 04:54 PM
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Wow, that's awesome! And random! Maybe I'll make an article about me eating a cookie today. it had chocolate chips in it and tasted really good! tongue.gif


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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Jun 21 2008, 05:00 PM
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Great news,in a 200 years we could maybe move to Mars,cous,we are burning our Earth fuel very fast.


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Canis
post Jun 21 2008, 06:35 PM
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QUOTE (FrankW @ Jun 21 2008, 07:04 AM) *
Great post, man. That's exciting news. The Phoenix Lander seems to be working as advertised. But, I already knew there was life on Mars...that's where my ex-wife came from.

I think they breed evil women up there, and send them down here when they show sings of aagression, and once they learn the words: "Prenob is not romantic!" and "I want HALF!" tongue.gif


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kahall
post Jun 21 2008, 06:50 PM
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I saw this a few days ago. It is cool and everything but I would prefer they drill for oil and not water. We have plenty of water already in the US, especially this year. We need some bubbling crude, black gold, Texas Tea. heh!


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jun 21 2008, 11:43 PM
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laugh.gif

Speak for yourself mate. Over here in Spain we´re a bit short. I think up in Juan´s region, Barca-Catalunia, they need to pump from the Elba til Xmas before they get their new desalination on line and down here in Andaluz we´re talking about restrictions, again, as reservoirs are way below capacity. Water, at least in Cadiz, is more important than oil blink.gif.

At my house we have enough til early August and then unsure.gif We don´t have mains water here btw.

Cheers,
Tony

ps er ´Cheers´ maybe not a good word wink.gif


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