Topic: And there was Ice  (Read 10351 times)

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Offline Tus-XC

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And there was Ice
« on: June 20, 2008, 12:19:14 am »
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,369461,00.html

LOS ANGELES —  Scientists believe NASA's Phoenix Mars lander exposed bits of ice while recently digging a trench in the soil of the Martian arctic, the mission's principal investigator said Thursday.

Crumbs of bright material initially photographed in the trench later vanished, meaning they must have been frozen water that vaporized after being exposed, Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a statement.

"These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice," Smith said. "There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."

Phoenix Mars is studying whether the arctic region of the Red Planet could be habitable. The probe is using its robotic arm to dig up soil samples, and scientists hope it will find frozen water.

However, an initial soil sample heated in a science instrument failed to yield evidence of water.

The bright material was seen in the bottom of a trench dubbed "Dodo-Goldilocks" that Phoenix enlarged on June 15. Several of the bright crumbs were gone when the spacecraft looked into the trench again early Thursday, NASA said.

Phoenix's arm, meanwhile, encountered a hard surface while digging another trench Thursday and scientists were hopeful of uncovering an icy layer, the space agency said. That trench is called "Snow White 2."

The arm went into a "holding position" after three attempts to dig further, which is expected when it the reaches a hard surface, NASA said.

Scientists have been using names from fairy tales and mythology to designate geologic features around Phoenix and the trenches it has been digging.

In 2002, the orbiting Mars Odyssey detected hints of a vast store of ice below the surface of Mars' polar regions. The arctic terrain where Phoenix touched down has polygon shapes in the ground similar to those found in Earth's permafrost regions. The patterns on Earth are caused by seasonal expansion and shrinking of underground ice.

Engineers also have prepared a software patch to send up to Phoenix to fix a problem that surfaced Tuesday in the use of its flash memory. NASA said that because Phoenix generated a large amount of duplicative file-maintenance data that day, the mission team has been avoiding storing science data in the flash memory and is instead transmitting it to Earth at the end of each day.

"We now understand what happened, and we can fix it with a software patch," said Barry Goldstein, the Phoenix project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Phoenix landed near Mars' north pole on May 25. The $420 million mission is planned to last 90 days.

Rob

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Offline Lepton

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2008, 05:52:49 pm »


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Offline knightstorm

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2008, 06:22:07 pm »
Please don't start this garbage again Lepton.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2008, 06:55:13 pm by knightstorm »

Offline Tus-XC

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2008, 08:55:01 pm »
Don't worry, i don't mind him playing the ignorant fool, its amusing to me and the only reason i posted this from fox news.. hmmm... suprisingly enough the site i usually go to had this info after fox... a full... what 10 hours after fox... (space.com)
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Offline Bonk

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2008, 09:41:45 pm »
Easy there Lepton is my buddy.  :police:

The point is we already knew there is water ice on Mars.

Want to talk radical and useful space exploration? How about one way manned missions (right up to 0.9c)? Think about it.

Offline Tus-XC

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2008, 10:06:27 pm »
Easy there Lepton is my buddy.  :police:

The point is we already knew there is water ice on Mars.

Want to talk radical and useful space exploration? How about one way manned missions (right up to 0.9c)? Think about it.

Actually, we haven't had confirmation, we had pretty good indicators that there was based on radar scans and what naught, but thats not complete conclusive evidence, subliming ice though... pretty conclusive.  Further is we didn't know how close to the surface it was, they were expecting to have to go deeper than they did, as it was they literally scrapped off the top layer and there was ice.

Now honestly, space travel is more interesting to me (I'm an Astronautical engineer ;)), however i find everything about space interesting, no matter the topic or how mundane it may seem.
Rob

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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2008, 06:56:41 am »
Don't worry, i don't mind him playing the ignorant fool, its amusing to me and the only reason i posted this from fox news.. hmmm... suprisingly enough the site i usually go to had this info after fox... a full... what 10 hours after fox... (space.com)

:police: Okay guys back off of Lepton.   :police:

All he did was provide a link to a different article.  There is no reason to criticize him for that.    He is very much within the rules to do so.   A link to NASAs own information on this topic is in fact very relevant and appropriate.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2008, 04:59:55 am »
Link to full article

Quote
"We basically have found what appears to be the requirements of the nutrients to support life, past, present or future," said Kounaves.

Scientists found elements in the soil that included magnesium, potassium and sodium. "There are probably other mineral species, we are still working on data," he said.

Kounaves said the analysis results are "one more piece of evidence that there were liquid water action at some point in the history of Mars."

"It's very similar to the soil analysis results we got from some dried places on Earth -- this is the very exciting part," Kounaves said.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2008, 05:09:44 am »
Link to full article

Reuters article has "flaws"

Quote
The 1 cubic meter (35 cubic feet) of soil was taken from about 1 inch below the surface of Mars and had a pH, or alkaline, level of 8 or 9. "We were all flabbergasted at the data we got back," Kounaves said.


I am sure NASA wishes it could make a probe capable of scooping up a cubic meter of soil and analyze it this quickly.
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Offline Tus-XC

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2008, 08:35:22 am »
It is a shame that these tests can't check from nitrogen or oxgen in the soil, which are also neccesary for plant life.  Still it does bode well if we ever go there, we could grow our own food in 'green houses', though we might need to bring our own fertilizer
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2008, 07:46:26 pm »
It is a shame that these tests can't check from nitrogen or oxgen in the soil, which are also neccesary for plant life.  Still it does bode well if we ever go there, we could grow our own food in 'green houses', though we might need to bring our own fertilizer


I'm sure that they can detect those chemicals.

Of course if we were colonizing Mars we could import those materials using a gravity tractor to divert a comet that is rich in those materials.
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Offline marstone

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2008, 08:16:16 pm »
It is a shame that these tests can't check from nitrogen or oxgen in the soil, which are also neccesary for plant life.  Still it does bode well if we ever go there, we could grow our own food in 'green houses', though we might need to bring our own fertilizer

As the atmosphere of Mars is mostly CO2 there is oxygen alot actually, O2 is low and I don't know about nitrogen.  (not off the top of my head, way to many years ago I looked into this)
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Offline Tus-XC

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2008, 08:18:54 pm »
from what i read it can't check for N2 or O2 (and a few other things) during these specific tests...
Rob

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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2008, 08:41:58 pm »
from what i read it can't check for N2 or O2 (and a few other things) during these specific tests...


Whether the precise test referenced can or cannot I am unsure.   But it does have at least one tester that can.

Link to site

The Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer does have the ability.

Quote
With these precise measurement capabilities, scientists will be able to determine ratios of various isotopes of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, providing clues to origin of the volatile molecules, and possibly, biological processes that occurred in the past.
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Offline Dash Jones

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2008, 03:11:48 am »
Easy there Lepton is my buddy. :police:

The point is we already knew there is water ice on Mars.

Want to talk radical and useful space exploration? How about one way manned missions (right up to 0.9c)? Think about it.

Uhhh...One Way???
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2008, 05:33:37 am »
Uhhh...One Way???


It has been proposed before.  One way need not be a suicide mission. 

Consider many currently proposed Mars missions spend the majority of their time travelling there and back, relatively little time is planned to be spent on Mars.   The expense compared to the return is relatively high.  However longer missions where at least 1/2 the time is spent on Mars is potentially a problem for returning astronauts as long terms at 1/3g has effects that are unknown especially when added to 16+ months in zero-g.  Some have proposed the idea of sending a one way mission with the intent that the astronauts would be self supporting for the rest of their lives on Mars.  If things worked out the one way mission could be augmented later to a full colony.

Missions to the outer solar system have the same issues but magnified by the time involved.

Other options could include making a space colony then using the "gravity tractor" that I referenced earlier to move it around the solar system, which would take decades.  Effectively with mission times that long they become one way.  The same with other propulsion systems like solar sails with long travel times.

Consider also Bonk mentioned velocities to .9c.  That would mean interstellar missions.  The best candidates for a visit are star systems with potentially life bearing worlds.  Assume a distance of 20 light years, at .9c that is ~45 years round trip, not counting time at the destination.  It might as well be one way, more willl be learned and less of the astronauts life wil be wasted travelling and more equipment and people could go.

How many of the early colonists in North America were "one way"? 
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Offline Dash Jones

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2008, 11:59:44 am »
Before or after Columbus?  I'm not certain how fond the sailors under Columbus would have been if he told them it was a one way trip...
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2008, 06:47:48 am »
Before or after Columbus?  I'm not certain how fond the sailors under Columbus would have been if he told them it was a one way trip...

They had no clue what they would find and were purely explorers not colonists.  "Our" astronauts / scientists / colonists would have a good idea what they would be getting into.
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Offline marstone

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2008, 02:36:05 pm »
Before or after Columbus?  I'm not certain how fond the sailors under Columbus would have been if he told them it was a one way trip...

They had no clue what they would find and were purely explorers not colonists.  "Our" astronauts / scientists / colonists would have a good idea what they would be getting into.

They didn't know what they would find but they were looking for a shorter path to a known area.  The thought was "hey maybe it is shorter going this way instead of around all that land"  They just didn't know it was so much more that way.
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Offline marstone

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Re: And there was Ice
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2008, 02:37:45 pm »
How many of the early colonists in North America were "one way"? 

Colonists did take the "one way" option, but they knew where they were going and what was generelly there.  Now how many colonists would have lined up at the boat if the sign read "Heading West, something might be there.  Come along"
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