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#1 2005-02-21 15:27:45

No life on Mars
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From: Newyork
Registered: 2004-02-25
Posts: 50

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

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#2 2005-02-21 15:42:26

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

If confirmed, Mars settlement just got way easier.  big_smile


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#3 2005-02-21 18:05:56

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
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Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

This is an absolutely mind-blowing discovery. The original paper is on the web and as soon as my email unlocks I'll send you the link. The evidence looks quite persuasive to me.

     -- RobS

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#4 2005-02-21 18:41:39

Shaun Barrett
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From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Here's THE LINK.
[Ooops! Sorry. Just repeating what No Life linked already. Guess I'm over-excited!]
    No life on Mars linked it for us over at 'Mars Express' in 'Unmanned Probes' a couple of days ago. (Well spotted, No Life! ) It's the best news we've had in a long time.
    The pictures comparing Antarctic pack-ice with the purported frozen sea on Mars are very persuasive on their own.   :up:   smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#5 2005-02-21 22:09:00

Scnigey
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From: Tampa, Florida
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 6

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

My only question is: If they suspect it to be so close to the surface, wouldn't past rovers have already detected it? I'm not very knowledgeable about rover instruments, but it would seem that they would have some apparatus to detect this sort of thing. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

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#6 2005-02-21 22:37:42

Shaun Barrett
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From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Hi Scnigey!

    The place being described is about 800 x 900 km in area, which is about the size of Earth's North Sea. It's big but not that big, by comparison with Mars' total surface area.

    So far, we haven't sent any rovers to this region and, depending on the depth of the volcanic ash on the surface, we mightn't have detected this hypothetical ice even if we had. Some of the sections of what appears to be dirty pack-ice are very large. If Spirit or Opportunity had landed in the middle of one of the larger sections, on an ash layer 500 mm thick, say, even the wheel-spinning trick used to dig holes wouldn't have revealed the sea ice underneath. To that extent, our rovers are rather limited - they can't really dig very well and they can't drill.
    On the other hand, if one of the MERs had actually landed on this 'frozen sea', someone probably would have noticed the area's resemblance to terrestrial pack-ice sooner.

    As for the satellites currently photographing Mars' surface, we've received so much data it's going to take a long time to analyze it all. It's really not surprising that things like this can suddenly turn up out of all that data and I'm sure this isn't the last time we'll be stunned by unexpected news.
    The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, due for launch this August, will only add to the flood of information because its cameras have unprecedented resolution - down to about 300 mm, I believe.

    These are exciting times!   :up:   smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#7 2005-02-21 22:53:43

Scnigey
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From: Tampa, Florida
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 6

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Thank you for the quick response! Indeed, these are exciting times, and getting better each day!

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#8 2005-02-22 05:20:28

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,318

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Reference to this was posted in this thread as well
Getting water on mars

Just might be easier than we thought. ???
'Pack ice' suggests frozen sea on Mars

A frozen sea, surviving as blocks of pack ice, may lie just beneath the surface of Mars, suggest observations from Europe's Mars Express spacecraft. The sea is just 5° north of the Martian equator and would be the first discovery of a large body of water beyond the planet's polar ice caps.

Images from the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express show raft-like ground structures - dubbed "plates" - that look similar to ice formations near Earth's poles, according to an international team of scientists.

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#9 2005-02-22 05:50:56

Shaun Barrett
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From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

So, what's the plan?
    Land the first cargo shipment on the shoreline of this frozen sea, including a 100 kWe nuclear reactor, a drill, and plenty of pipe. The first crew can then use the reactor's waste heat to melt many thousands of litres of water and electrolyze some of it to obtain hydrogen and oxygen.

    The Mars Direct plan to bring tonnes of cryogenically stored hydrogen, as feedstock for in-situ fuel production, is no longer necessary - at least after the first expedition.
    We can even reduce the water budget for the trip, provide plenty of water for bathing, drinking, and raising crops, and produce high-Isp hydrogen/oxygen propellant for the return journey instead of lower-Isp methane/oxygen.

    Hell, we can even have a swimming pool and a fish-farm for the astronauts - all the comforts of home!!
                                                       smile
[Assuming this really is a frozen sea, that is!   :;):  ]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#10 2005-02-23 08:41:31

rgcarnes
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From: In the country near Rolla Miss
Registered: 2002-02-04
Posts: 111

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

I suspect, that if we wait long enough for the complete data to come in for a larger portion of Mars, that a bucket and rope, or maybe an ice ax, will be sufficient in certain places, as opposed to a drilliing rig.


Rex G. Carnes

If the Meek Inherit the Earth, Where Do All the Bold Go?

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#11 2005-02-23 12:57:27

Rxke
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Mars Express, unfold that $%^**(&^% antenna!!!!

then we will know for sure, at last.

I'm oh so hesitant to believe the reports at face-value for now... dissapointment if it turned out not true would be too much.... But oh if it were true... Just stop and think about this for a while... It's a *whole* new picture... everything. everything everything.

It would be a veritable NEW Mars.


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#12 2005-02-23 16:19:19

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

How much would it cost to send a hardened alloy "masonry nail" to impact in the middle of this frozen sea?  No heat shield, no parachutes, just slam 50 kg into the ice and take pictures from orbit.

(Edit: If you could hide a rover a safe distance away, the rover could then trundle over to the impact sight and study the ejected material.)

Could Musk's Falcon send a 50 kg dumb projectile to Mars to impact at high velocity?

$10 million? Heck get the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) to pay the whole tab and call it "Mars slamming"  - - btw, happy hour arrived early in Chicago today.  tongue


Edited By BWhite on 1109197333


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#13 2005-02-23 16:36:45

Shaun Barrett
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From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Bill:-

How much would it cost to send a hardened alloy "masonry nail" to impact in the middle of this frozen sea?  No heat shield, no parachutes, just slam 50 kg into the ice and take pictures from orbit.

    Interesting idea.

    I was reading somewhere that it's possible the Mars Express radar won't pick up water-ice right there on the surface, unless the ice is thick and deep enough. I think they said something about the radar being designed for deeper detection - kilometres rather than metres(?).

    If that proves to be correct (hope not! ), then Bill's cheap and nasty "masonry nail", funded by the World Wrestling Federation, might be the way to go!  big_smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#14 2005-02-23 17:37:39

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
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Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

One thing that puzzles me, and that high resolution photography (1 meter resolution) should resolve: how thick is the dust cover. The dust cover is guaranteed to be nonuniform in thickness; some places it will be thin and some places, thick. In the thin places, wind erosion will expose the ice; then sublimation will create pits. The pits will grow as sublimation works outward laterally. The dust cover will then collapse, producing small cliffs, which will continue to sublimate and retreat, creating bigger and bigger pits.

We see these in the Martian polar terrains. So far, we have not heard of any pits or depressions in the "ice" at Elysium. Even the Mars laser altimeter should detect them. So this worries me. Even if the dust cover is VERY thick, we can see that the "pack ice" has edges from orbit, and the vertical edges would not be covered by dust, so they should be sublimating and producing irregular pits and chaotic terrain.

A mystery that no doubt will be resolved in the upcoming months, either because the pits will be found, or because we will discover the area never had ice, but formed in some other way.

               - RobS

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#15 2005-02-23 18:20:13

Shaun Barrett
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From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Very good points, as usual, Rob.   :up:
    The sublimation problem's been nagging away at my subconscious, as well, but you've put it into words all too clearly!

    As a biased pro-water enthusiast(! ),the best defence I can offer for the existence of this frozen sea is the fact that Michael Carr finds it plausible!   big_smile
    If he thinks it's possible, ...   smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#16 2005-02-23 22:59:54

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

30,000 years or 30,000,000 years?

Does it matter? Frozen is frozen, right?

Reuters link


Edited By BWhite on 1109221312


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#17 2005-02-23 23:41:40

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

30,000 years or 30,000,000 years?

Does it matter? Frozen is frozen, right?

Reuters link

*Well, wouldn't the DNA of frozen bacteria 30,000,000 years old have begun decaying?  Or wouldn't such long-term exposure to even low-level radiation have had a detrimental accumulative effect? 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#18 2005-02-24 01:25:01

Rxke
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

re: the impactor.

Didn't the russians plan to do exactly this, but on Phobos or Deimos in their Mars2000 mission (or something called similarly) Didn't work out, they lost contact, though...

Anyway, I'm still unconvinced, pack-ice traces after all those years? and what about those craters? Shouldn't the edges show more craquele patterns etc.?

Unconvinced, because I dare not hope. It's too good to be true, almost.
ISRU would become a piece of cake, greenhouses, fuel-cells, coolant for huge drills, mortar, life, heat-traps... The mind reels.

Oh the possibilities.


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#19 2005-02-24 02:15:44

Shaun Barrett
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From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

I wish Rik would buzz off with his infuriatingly realistic doubts about this!   :realllymad:
    Why?
    Because there's a very distinct possibility he's absolutely right .. that's why!!  :angry:   [  big_smile  ]


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#20 2005-02-24 09:15:55

John Creighton
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From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
Website

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Here is a thought, what if the ice was formed by water freezing over dust in layers. Then once the air pressure of mars drops to the point where the ice is no longer stable the melting ice leaves dirt overtop of the ice underneath it, kind of like a snow bank melting. Eventually the melting leaves a blanket of dirt over top of the ice to protect it and the sublimation stops.

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#21 2005-02-24 10:06:40

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

But that would leave 'slumping' traces, etc, parts that got covered thicker/thinner; more/less sublimation at certain spots etc.
It just looks too pristine...

Oh, and Shaun: I'm absolutely convinced there are massive amounts of water on Mars, and we will see proof of that once Mars Express' antennae are out. (If it does not whiplash itself too much, of course...)

Water.


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#22 2005-02-24 10:17:31

clark
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Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,253

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Frozen methane compounds of some sort?

Would explain the small amounts of methane in the atmosphere..

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#23 2005-02-24 11:13:17

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

Frozen methane compounds of some sort?

Would explain the small amounts of methane in the atmosphere...

Frozen methane (clathrates?) without life is still a win because its a valuable resource we can exploit without whining about the microbial beasties we are killing.

Finding a frozen methane deposit is even better than finding water because we can burn it and and get both water and energy. A two for one deal.  :;):

= = =

Philosophically I hope for life, strongly.

But no life would make new subdivisions easier to build, without worries from the "save the microbes" committee.


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#24 2005-02-24 19:00:30

dicktice
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From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

My gut reaction to the "pack ice" imagery is: Leave the Moon exploration to China and India, to cut their teeth on, and we head directly for Mars--big time!

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#25 2005-02-24 21:51:07

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,318

Re: A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of

How close is the nearest pack ice area relative to either rover?

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