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#1 2017-06-10 12:42:51

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,133
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Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/mars- … -1.3863841

An ice deposit with as much frozen water as the volume of Lake Superior has been found on Mars in a region astronauts may some day call home.

Using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists performed more than 600 scans of Utopia Planitia, a mid-latitude region on the planet. The scans revealed an ice deposit that ranges in thickness from about 80 metres to 170 metres and is composed of about 50 to 85 per cent water. The rest is likely comprised of dust and rocky material.

"This deposit is probably more accessible than most water ice on Mars, because it is at a relatively low latitude and it lies in a flat, smooth area where landing a spacecraft would be easier than at some of the other areas with buried ice," Jack Holt of the University of Texas, a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Recent studies suggest that billions of years ago Mars was home to a large ocean in its northern hemisphere, which may have made it potentially habitable.

The researchers believe the deposit was likely formed as a result of a snowfall that took place during that time. It eventually built up an ice sheet that was mixed with dust. At the current latitude, which spans 39 to 49 degrees, water is unable to exist at the surface, as it will change from a solid to a gas, a process called sublimation.

The newly discovered deposit is covered by a layer of dust believed to range in thickness from about one to 10 metres.

The deposit accounts for just one per cent of all known water ice on the red planet, but will help planetary scientists better understand the history of Mars.

"We know early Mars had enough liquid water on the surface for rivers and lakes," said Leslie Tamppari of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the statement. "Where did it go? Much of it left the planet from the top of the atmosphere … But there's also a large quantity that is now underground ice, and we want to keep learning more about that."

Actually, this article has a small error it claims liquid water cannot exist there now. But the triple point of water is 6.12 millibars = 612 Pascals. Current weather recorded by the Curiosity rover, as of 2017-06-08 pressure is 853 Pascals. Utopia Planetia is lower altitude than Gale Crater, so pressure should be a tiny bit more. That means liquid water can exist. At that pressure water will freeze at 0°C and boil at about 6°C, but salt can both reduce freezing temperature and increase boiling temperature a couple degrees. So although liquid water will not exist for long, it can exist.

Mars weather reported by Curiosity

boiling temperature at various pressures

So a suitable location on Utopia Planetia.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2017-06-10 18:38:45)

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#2 2017-06-10 17:43:13

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

Interesting stuff. The evidence for water being easily accessible just grows and grows.  If it can stay liquid for a while, might make collection easier, but digging up chunks of icy regolith might be just as easy.

I still face Chryse Planitia for the first landing. Water concentration in the regolith is about 6% there. As long as it's all around you doesn't much matter, would be my view.


RobertDyck wrote:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/mars- … -1.3863841

An ice deposit with as much frozen water as the volume of Lake Superior has been found on Mars in a region astronauts may some day call home.

Using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists performed more than 600 scans of Utopia Planitia, a mid-latitude region on the planet. The scans revealed an ice deposit that ranges in thickness from about 80 metres to 170 metres and is composed of about 50 to 85 per cent water. The rest is likely comprised of dust and rocky material.

"This deposit is probably more accessible than most water ice on Mars, because it is at a relatively low latitude and it lies in a flat, smooth area where landing a spacecraft would be easier than at some of the other areas with buried ice," Jack Holt of the University of Texas, a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Recent studies suggest that billions of years ago Mars was home to a large ocean in its northern hemisphere, which may have made it potentially habitable.

The researchers believe the deposit was likely formed as a result of a snowfall that took place during that time. It eventually built up an ice sheet that was mixed with dust. At the current latitude, which spans 39 to 49 degrees, water is unable to exist at the surface, as it will change from a solid to a gas, a process called sublimation.

The newly discovered deposit is covered by a layer of dust believed to range in thickness from about one to 10 metres.

The deposit accounts for just one per cent of all known water ice on the red planet, but will help planetary scientists better understand the history of Mars.

"We know early Mars had enough liquid water on the surface for rivers and lakes," said Leslie Tamppari of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the statement. "Where did it go? Much of it left the planet from the top of the atmosphere … But there's also a large quantity that is now underground ice, and we want to keep learning more about that."

Actually, this article has a small error it claims liquid water cannot exist there now. But the triple point of water is 6.12 millibars = 612 Pascals. Current weather recorded by the Curiosity rover, as of 2017-08-08 pressure is 853 Pascals. Utopia Planetia is lower altitude than Gale Crater, so pressure should be a tiny bit more. That means liquid water can exist. At that pressure water will freeze at 0°C and boil at about 6°C, but salt can both reduce freezing temperature and increase boiling temperature a couple degrees. So although liquid water will not exist for long, it can exist.

Mars weather reported by Curiosity

boiling temperature at various pressures

So a suitable location on Utopia Planetia.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#3 2017-06-13 09:57:00

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,077
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Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

On stable water:  rapid boiling occurs when total air pressure is less than water vapor pressure at the liquid pool temperature.  Rapid evaporation without boiling occurs whenever the water vapor pressure in the atmosphere is less than the water vapor pressure at the liquid pool temperature.  That second process occurs at a rate proportional to the difference in water vapor pressures.  The first is driven by the quantity of available heat within the liquid.

On buried glaciers at landing site:  simply required.  Harvesting 50+% ice is far easier than 5%-or-less ice.  The former can be drilled with steam extraction from one well,  the latter requires a strip mining operation.  The former is far easier,  requiring less effort and less energy.  The latter is very,  very costly. 

Such sites need a Red Dragon with a drill rig to determine burial depth for a safe landing.  If the regolith cover is too thin,  the landing jet blast will melt out a crater,  converting a level field to a rough terrain,  and very likely causing a crash.  It may take more than one Red Dragon to find the right touchdown spot,  unless you can figure out how to deploy a mobile rover drill rig from the one Red Dragon.

Just some practical things to think about.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2017-06-13 09:58:24)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#4 2017-06-13 10:41:02

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,133
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Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

In 2005 I attended the 4th Canadian Space Exploration Workshop, hosted by the Canadian Space Agency. The president of CSA at the time tried to push for a Canadian rover. He worked with a Canadian technology institute that specialized in mining technology. They demonstrated a dry drill, with 10 pipe segments each 1 metre long. The graphic was a rover about the size of Spirit or Opportunity that would carry this drill. He wanted to partner with a country that has a launch vehicle. But Canadian Parliament did not approve additional funding required for it. You don't need Red Dragon, it could land using the same technique as Spirit or Opportunity. If you want to get fancy, you could use a skycrane like Curiosity instead of bounce-and-roll.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2017-06-14 03:32:42)

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#5 2017-06-13 14:27:17

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,077
Website

Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

Hi RobertDyck:

What you say about Red Dragon is true.  Such a rover does not need a capsule to land.  But Red Dragon will soon exist,  and nothing else will anytime soon. 

I say that because Spacex wanted to start sending Red Dragons to Mars next year,  but has had to delay that to the 2020 opposition for reasons of catching up on primary business. 

Everybody else has lander concepts entirely undeveloped,  or at least requiring major reworrk from something used before.  Even the Curiosity skycrane thing would require rework,  because every rover is different.  Red Dragon is almost there,  because of cargo Dragon and crew Dragon.

There ought to be room for some sort of rover inside such a spacious capsule,  and if about 1-2 tons,  within its capacity to enter and propulsively land.  The normal hatchway is wrong to get a rover out,  but that could be fixed with clever positioning and installation of detonation cord.  Chain a couple of the cut panels to use as ramps after they fall away,  and just drive off the capsule floor.  That sort of thing is a short demo program to do right here on Earth. 

My guess is that Spacex has already looked at this,  and has some ideas in their back pockets already.  They just haven't told anyone yet. 

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2017-06-13 14:28:36)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#6 2017-06-14 05:56:14

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

I agree, GW.  People constantly underestimate Space X.  Musk thinks through a problem from all angles and often opts for simple if somewhat brute force solutions.

On a related topic, it's interesting that Musk wants to revolutionise tunnel boring on Earth - he sees this as a way of dealing with problems of urban transportation.  You can see how he really brings everything together... An electric car needs efficient batteries. Efficient batteries help solar.  Solar plus batteries can power homes.  Solar plus efficient batteries can also power bases on Mars.  Transportation tunnels under cities are less challenging if you are using electic vehicles that don't emit poisonous fumes. More efficient tunnelling will make them more doable.  But more efficient tunnelling on Mars can also be used to create living and other spaces protected from radiation. It all fits together!


GW Johnson wrote:

Hi RobertDyck:

What you say about Red Dragon is true.  Such a rover does not need a capsule to land.  But Red Dragon will soon exist,  and nothing else will anytime soon. 

I say that because Spacex wanted to start sending Red Dragons to Mars next year,  but has had to delay that to the 2020 opposition for reasons of catching up on primary business. 

Everybody else has lander concepts entirely undeveloped,  or at least requiring major reworrk from something used before.  Even the Curiosity skycrane thing would require rework,  because every rover is different.  Red Dragon is almost there,  because of cargo Dragon and crew Dragon.

There ought to be room for some sort of rover inside such a spacious capsule,  and if about 1-2 tons,  within its capacity to enter and propulsively land.  The normal hatchway is wrong to get a rover out,  but that could be fixed with clever positioning and installation of detonation cord.  Chain a couple of the cut panels to use as ramps after they fall away,  and just drive off the capsule floor.  That sort of thing is a short demo program to do right here on Earth. 

My guess is that Spacex has already looked at this,  and has some ideas in their back pockets already.  They just haven't told anyone yet. 

GW


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#7 2017-06-14 08:11:37

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,133
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Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

One novel by Robert A. Heinlein claimed they "discovered how to apply nuclear technology to make tunnels". Supersonic passenger trains in tunnels between states/provinces, and beneath the ocean. He didn't bother describing how, it was just done. Not sure, but I think it was the book "Friday".

So how is Elon changing tunnel boring?

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#8 2017-06-15 12:16:45

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,077
Website

Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

As near as I can tell,  he has a boring machine that bores a bit faster.  He wants to alleviate surface traffic congestion by creating high speed roads in tunnels underground.  May also relate to his hyperloop proposals,  although not integral to them.  I saw nothing to suggest a breakthrough in boring speed,  just a possibly better boring machine.  News releases date back to mid May this year. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#9 2017-06-16 04:46:05

elderflower
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Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,260

Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

Choice of TBM design kind of depends on what you want to tunnel through, how deep you need to go and whether there is free water in the strata.
For cheap tunnels cut and cover is good, except where there are existing structures.

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#10 2019-11-23 21:42:41

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,681

Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

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#11 2020-03-02 21:18:15

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,681

Re: Ice deposit on Mars holds as much water as Lake Superior, researchers

So few posts for such an important plus critical for mans survival item to find insitu on mars. Its also import to get Nasa to actually do more than echo radar signals at the ground as we need real digging of the ground to prove what the measurement might mean. SHARAD operates in the 15–25 MHz range, which determines its vertical resolution through different materials (15 m in free space, ~8 m in water ice).
Its the  Gama spectrum that shows different levels of water and that makes it important to quantify what is real for the measuring device to be used.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia_Planitia is the area where a viking 2 unit did explore with the images of frost in the ealy morning was captured for all to see.
8183_subsurface-water-ice-utopia-planitia-mars-map-pia21138-full2.jpg

https://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-b … -mars.html

719841-9-5ITQ1.png

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