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Thread: Abundant Water Ice found on Mars

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Abundant Water Ice found on Mars

    Steep Slopes on Mars Reveal Structure of Buried Ice

    pia22077-1041.jpg

    Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars' surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes.

    These eight scarps, with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars' middle latitudes.

    The ice was likely deposited as snow long ago. The deposits are exposed in cross section as relatively pure water ice, capped by a layer one to two yards (or meters) thick of ice-cemented rock and dust. They hold clues about Mars' climate history. They also may make frozen water more accessible than previously thought to future robotic or human exploration missions.

    Researchers who located and studied the scarp sites with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on MRO reported the findings today in the journal Science. The sites are in both northern and southern hemispheres of Mars, at latitudes from about 55 to 58 degrees, equivalent on Earth to Scotland or the tip of South America.

    “There is shallow ground ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent history of Mars,” said the study's lead author, Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. "What we’ve seen here are cross-sections through the ice that give us a 3-D view with more detail than ever before.”

    ...
    Astronauts' access to Martian water

    The new study not only suggests that underground water ice lies under a thin covering over wide areas, it also identifies eight sites where ice is directly accessible, at latitudes with less hostile conditions than at Mars' polar ice caps. "Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need," Byrne said.

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/ste...-of-buried-ice

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Steep Slopes on Mars Reveal Structure of Buried Ice

    pia22077-1041.jpg

    Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars' surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes.

    These eight scarps, with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars' middle latitudes.

    The ice was likely deposited as snow long ago. The deposits are exposed in cross section as relatively pure water ice, capped by a layer one to two yards (or meters) thick of ice-cemented rock and dust. They hold clues about Mars' climate history. They also may make frozen water more accessible than previously thought to future robotic or human exploration missions.

    Researchers who located and studied the scarp sites with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on MRO reported the findings today in the journal Science. The sites are in both northern and southern hemispheres of Mars, at latitudes from about 55 to 58 degrees, equivalent on Earth to Scotland or the tip of South America.

    “There is shallow ground ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent history of Mars,” said the study's lead author, Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. "What we’ve seen here are cross-sections through the ice that give us a 3-D view with more detail than ever before.”

    ...
    Astronauts' access to Martian water

    The new study not only suggests that underground water ice lies under a thin covering over wide areas, it also identifies eight sites where ice is directly accessible, at latitudes with less hostile conditions than at Mars' polar ice caps. "Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need," Byrne said.

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/ste...-of-buried-ice

    That coupled with findings for bacterial life on the Earth that can survive in ice in extreme cold raises some very interesting possibilities ...

    https://www.livescience.com/34657-co...ermafrost.html


    Jim
    Jorge's trueorigins paper: "...it is known that other volcanic features match what is usually associated with impact craters including ... shatter cones and crystal deformations"

    Planetary Science Institute: "Shatter cones … are found in only two places on Earth, 1) in nuclear test sites and 2) meteorite impact structures. They are formed as a result of the high pressure, high velocity shock wave ...

    maximum pressures from 45 to 200 times greater than found in volcanic events (2->20 Gpa)

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    That coupled with findings for bacterial life on the Earth that can survive in ice in extreme cold raises some very interesting possibilities ...

    https://www.livescience.com/34657-co...ermafrost.html


    Jim
    Even if nothing is still alive in the ice, if the ice is from frozen liquid water (as opposed to just condensation that froze) then it could have had life in it at one time and it could be preserved in the ice.

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    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Even if nothing is still alive in the ice, if the ice is from frozen liquid water (as opposed to just condensation that froze) then it could have had life in it at one time and it could be preserved in the ice.
    They're thinking it probably fell as snow and then compacted. But there are clear indications of different tints indicating layers that probably included more or less dust. On Earth, life's abundant enough that our dust would include bacteria. So, there's a chance.

    Incidentally, the images you'll see are pretty heavily color enhanced - the stuff's not actually that blue, but is blue relative to Mars.


    EDITED TO ADD:
    The paper, for the curious:
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6372/199

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Is it on their to-do list to send a drill to dig up an long ice core and analyze?

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    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Even if nothing is still alive in the ice, if the ice is from frozen liquid water (as opposed to just condensation that froze) then it could have had life in it at one time and it could be preserved in the ice.
    I know one biologist who said "Gimme thirty minutes on the ground near one of those icy brine sources and a field microscope and I'll tell you right away if there's life on Mars."

    However I do think we need to figure out how to avoid contaminating Mars with bacteria from Earth. Otherwise the life we discover might just be life that hitched a ride with us.

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    However I do think we need to figure out how to avoid contaminating Mars with bacteria from Earth. Otherwise the life we discover might just be life that hitched a ride with us.
    Spacecraft routinely go through a bacterial decontamination process pre-launch to prevent exactly that. What more needs to be figured out?

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    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    I know one biologist who said "Gimme thirty minutes on the ground near one of those icy brine sources and a field microscope and I'll tell you right away if there's life on Mars."

    However I do think we need to figure out how to avoid contaminating Mars with bacteria from Earth. Otherwise the life we discover might just be life that hitched a ride with us.
    Even if we totally eliminate new contamination, there will still very possibly be contamination with life transferred to Mars from Earth via large meteor strikes. Samples have been found on earth from other planets, it could easily go both ways.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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    tWebber
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    Better if it were icecream rather than ice.

  10. Amen Duragizer amen'd this post.
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    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    The totality of what this discovery means is that there is water ice on Mars.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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