June 20, 2008

Phoenix Mars Lander Finds Water Ice

Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander four days ago, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it.

A link to a NASA video of the ice find

Many images at the Phoenix NASA blog


John said...

It's not ice. And they won't find any. There is no significant amount of water on Mars.

Let that stand as a verifiable prediction. They won't find any water.

Joseph said...

If your (intriguing and entertaining) thunderbolt hypothesis is true, how do you account for the finds of undoubted polar ice, see

"Reporting in the February 14 issue of the journal Science, the Caltech researchers suggest that the Martian polar ice caps are made almost entirely of water ice—with just a smattering of frozen carbon dioxide at the surface.

Recent high-resolution and thermal images from the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey, respectively, show that the old model could not be accurate, the researchers said. The images show flat-floored, circular pits 8 meters (8.75 yards) deep and 200 to 1,000 meters (220 to 1,100 yards) in diameter at the south polar cap, and an outward growth rate of about one to three meters (1.1 to 3.3 yards) per year.

New infrared measurements from the newly arrived Mars Odyssey show that the lower material heats up, as water ice is expected to do in the Martian summer, and that the polar cap is too warm to be dry ice, the researchers said.

Based on this evidence, Byrne and Ingersoll conclude that the pitted layer is dry ice, but the material below, which makes up the floors of the pits and the bulk of the polar cap, is water ice.

South Pole May be Similar to North Pole

This shows that the south polar cap is actually similar to the north pole, which was determined, on the basis of Viking data, to lose its one-meter covering of dry ice each summer, exposing the water ice underneath, according to the researchers.

The new results show that the difference between the two poles is that the south pole dry-ice cover is slightly thicker—about eight meters (8.8 yards)—and does not disappear entirely during the summertime, they said."
--ice there up to 3500 m thick with GPR
(ground penetrating radar)
I think the total is about 1.5 million km3 per pole, for a total of 3 million km3, very welcome vs the dustbowl Mars of the late 60s, early 70s.
If colonizing Mars I would go to the ice deposits first.
--Joseph Friedlander

Snake Oil Baron said...

I understand that the south pole is mainly dry ice, it it possible that the subsurface at the landing site is protected enough (given the thin atmosphere) to also sustain dry ice?

John said: "There is no significant amount of water on Mars."

Do you mean, except for the poles?