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Martian Skies
The Boston Globe ^ | June 20, 2008 | Alan Taylor

Posted on 06/20/2008 6:40:51 PM PDT by rarestia

Yesterday's announcement by NASA of the discovery of water ice on Mars by its Phoenix Lander probe made big news everywhere. The discovery involved the observation of water ice sublimating into the air - that is, the water went from solid to vapor state without reaching the liquid stage. The Martian atmosphere has perfect conditions for sublimation - extremely thin, dry and cold. How cold? Well, you can check the Live Martian Weather Report, with data from a station on board the Phoenix Lander. Today will see a high temperature of a toasty -26 degrees F.

What more do we know about Mars' atmosphere? It's hundreds of times thinner than Earth's atmosphere and is made of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and contains traces of oxygen, water, and methane. We also know, from observations that it can support dust storms, dust devils, clouds and gusty winds. With an amazing number of six current live probes exploring Mars (two rovers, a lander, and three orbiters), there are many thousands of images available. Only a few, however show atmospheric phenomena. Presented here are some of the best images of Martian atmosphere (and beyond) in action. (17 photos total)


(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mars; marslander; martian; nasa; pictures
Go to the link for the pictures. Absolutely breathtaking!
1 posted on 06/20/2008 6:40:52 PM PDT by rarestia
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To: rarestia

Wouldn’t frozen CO2 (dry ice) also disappear though? Do we know it was WATER ice and not dry ice?


2 posted on 06/20/2008 6:42:30 PM PDT by RockinRight (I just paid $63 for gas. An icefield in Alaska is NOT the Grand Canyon. F--- the caribou.)
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To: RockinRight

Per the NASA press release today, it’s not cold enough for dry ice to last as long as this ice did:

http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/06_20_pr.php

“The key new evidence is that chunks of bright material exposed by digging on June 15 and still present on June 16 had vaporized by June 19. “This tells us we’ve got water ice within reach of the arm, which means we can continue this investigation with the tools we brought with us,” said Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, College Station, lead scientist for Phoenix’s Surface Stereo Imager camera. He said the disappearing chunks could not have been carbon-dioxide ice at the local temperatures because that material would not have been stable for even one day as a solid.”


3 posted on 06/20/2008 6:44:04 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: rarestia

Why does that second picture make me want to say “Danger Danger Warning Will Robinson?”


4 posted on 06/20/2008 6:45:58 PM PDT by Southerngl
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To: rarestia

Yes, ice on an otherwise frozen part of a somewhat frozen planet could get me all excited too … not. Now, footprints in that Ice might get my attention. ;-)


5 posted on 06/20/2008 6:47:13 PM PDT by doc1019 (I was taught to respect my elders, but it's getting harder to find one.)
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To: rarestia

“Today will see a high temperature of a toasty -26 degrees F.”

What I have been wondering is if the high temperature is only reachidng -26 degrees F how did the ice melt. Does not the 32 degree F still hold?


6 posted on 06/20/2008 6:54:44 PM PDT by Parley Baer
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To: RockinRight
"Wouldn’t frozen CO2 (dry ice) also disappear though? Do we know it was WATER ice and not dry ice?"

Same question asked on the NASA photo blog. The answer is that the air temperature in the Martian summer (which is now) is much too high for solid CO2 to exist---it has long already vaporized--so what is left pretty much HAS to be water ice.

7 posted on 06/20/2008 6:55:10 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: Parley Baer

The water ice goes directly from a solid to a gas without melting to a liquid. It can happen to a small extent on earth. Its like what happens to dry ice in our atmosphere.


8 posted on 06/20/2008 6:59:54 PM PDT by Western Phil
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To: Parley Baer

No, it doesn’t. Because the Martian atmosphere is so thin, the boiling point of water there is 4degrees Celcius.


9 posted on 06/20/2008 7:14:24 PM PDT by Little Pig (Is it time for "Cowboys and Muslims" yet?)
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To: rarestia

I just stared at the picture of Earth and our Moon for about 10 minutes. Wow, just wow.


10 posted on 06/20/2008 7:20:37 PM PDT by Gumption
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To: rarestia

If there were some way to get the water into the atmosphere to trap more heat, with all that CO2, we could plant some kind of green vegetation and viola - oxygen and atmosphere!


11 posted on 06/20/2008 7:28:24 PM PDT by PGR88
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To: PGR88

Terraforming is possible, scientifically. It’s the logistics and brute force needed that makes it hard - we need so much more atmosphere than what’s there.

We know there’s water but not how much. We also need more CO2 to make enough oxygen.

I do think someday, maybe 300 years from now, it will be done.


12 posted on 06/20/2008 7:31:02 PM PDT by RockinRight (I just paid $63 for gas. An icefield in Alaska is NOT the Grand Canyon. F--- the caribou.)
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To: RockinRight

We would also need to find a means of setting up a massive magnetic field around the planet.


13 posted on 06/20/2008 7:44:39 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Voting conservative isn't for the faint of heart.)
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To: Parley Baer

New planet = new science?


14 posted on 06/20/2008 8:37:10 PM PDT by BillT (God said it, that settles it whether I believe it or not! (Bible rules))
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To: Western Phil
It happens to water ice on earth also. Do you have a frost-free freezer? I do, and the ice cubes in the ice dispenser bin shrink with time due to sublimation.

I had the same reaction as many, though, wondering why this couldn't be dry ice ( on mars, that is. ) Sublimation rates are very tricky, and you can find a lot of abstracts on the internet for papers about sublimation rates under various conditions.

I suppose these guys are right, but I have yet to find anything that tells me water ice would sublimate this fast under these conditions. This stuff is covered by only a few centimeters of soil, so how could it last indefinitely with such a thin covering and yet disappear in less than 4 days on the surface, ( apparently not even exposed to sunlight, from the picture? )

How could it look so much like salt, that they would consider that it might be salt? Water ice becomes very strong and hard at low temperatures, and I wonder about that. How could they fail to detect even a trace of water in the overlying thin layer of soil? ( They already announced this. )

Also, I see a model proposed for a permanent CO2 Layer over a deeper water ice mantle. This is for the south pole, but the idea proposed is consistent with CO2 "hummocks" like the one Phoenix is digging on.

So, I remain skeptical in my own mind, even though I'm in no position to argue with the experts, but if they dump this stuff in their TEGA, and don't get a monster H2O signal, they'll have some 'splainin' to do.

15 posted on 06/20/2008 8:43:40 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Parley Baer

in the low pressure of the Martian atmosphere, the ice will sublimate


16 posted on 06/20/2008 9:01:07 PM PDT by Mom MD (The scorn of fools is music to the ears of the wise)
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To: Gumption

my favorite as well


17 posted on 06/20/2008 9:02:03 PM PDT by Mom MD (The scorn of fools is music to the ears of the wise)
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To: PGR88
couple of fern seeds, some dinosaur DNA, and viola.
18 posted on 06/20/2008 9:05:44 PM PDT by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: Mom MD

What is the pressure dependency of the sublimation rate? If you know, tell me, because I can’t find it on the internet.


19 posted on 06/20/2008 9:08:42 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Gumption

Good heavens. That’s my new desktop. Incredible.


20 posted on 06/20/2008 9:10:08 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: doc1019
I hate to burst some Bubbles but does this get your attention? (IT'S SHOW AND TELL TIME).

One of many I've found on Mars, in Henry Crater.


BIRD CATCHING MEAL

(A Link to my Flickr Photo Page)

21 posted on 06/20/2008 9:51:52 PM PDT by eagles_lair
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To: going hot; PGR88
couple of fern seeds, some dinosaur DNA, and viola.

A great new addition to the FReeper lexicon!

22 posted on 06/20/2008 9:54:43 PM PDT by eldoradude (Let's water the tree of liberty with THEIR blood...)
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To: eldoradude

when you’re swave and deboner, it’s voy la


23 posted on 06/20/2008 10:25:55 PM PDT by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: PGR88
And green vegetation!

24 posted on 06/20/2008 10:36:07 PM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: going hot
couple of fern seeds, some dinosaur DNA, and viola.

And the viola would still have a US Air luggage tag attached to it.

25 posted on 06/20/2008 10:38:17 PM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: PGR88
If there were some way to get the water into the atmosphere to trap more heat, with all that CO2, we could plant some kind of green vegetation and viola - oxygen and atmosphere!

No viola. How about Banjo?

26 posted on 06/20/2008 10:40:20 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: BlazingArizona

the viola is for the mood music, you know, for the ferns and such


27 posted on 06/20/2008 10:51:24 PM PDT by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: dr_lew

dont know, I will ask my husband the chemical engineer if he might know where to look it up


28 posted on 06/21/2008 7:00:35 AM PDT by Mom MD (The scorn of fools is music to the ears of the wise)
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To: cripplecreek
We would also need to find a means of setting up a massive magnetic field around the planet.

This has been the part of the puzzle which has been stymieing me.

29 posted on 06/21/2008 8:30:50 AM PDT by Marie (Why is it that some people believe everything that happens is the will of G-d - except Israel?)
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To: eagles_lair

Check out numbers 23-27 and to really get your attention, number 47.

Print out 47 and start to play with the image by connecting the triangles. (Remember that they’re *very* large and all the same size.) It almost looks like they’re arranged in a circle within a circle formation.

This drove me crazy a few years ago! lol!


30 posted on 06/21/2008 8:35:37 AM PDT by Marie (Why is it that some people believe everything that happens is the will of G-d - except Israel?)
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To: rarestia
Phoenix Touches Martian Ice
31 posted on 06/22/2008 10:33:49 PM PDT by neverdem (I'm praying for a Divine Intervention.)
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