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View Full Version : 15% H2O - Mars pole - A water world ?



Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Mar-18, 04:02 PM
:D Here some more news about the water discovery on mars, there are now three satellites orbiting mars taking pictures and looking at the surface, finding water is a great thing maybe this would be a perfect site for a future manned mission at the Southern pole?


The Mars Express made observations with its OMEGA instrument of the Martian polar region. When planetary scientists analysed the data, it clearly showed that, as well as carbon dioxide ice, water ice was present too. The results have showed that hundreds of square kilometres of ‘permafrost’ surround the south pole. Permafrost is water ice, mixed into the soil of Mars, and frozen to the hardness of solid rock by the low Martian temperatures. This is the reason why water ice has been hidden from detection until now - because the soil with which it is mixed cannot reflect light easily and so it appears dark.

However, OMEGA looked at the surface with infrared eyes and, being sensitive to heat, clearly picked up the signature of water ice. The discovery hints that perhaps there are much larger quantities of water ice all over Mars than previously thought.

Using this data, planetary scientists now know that the south polar region of Mars can be split into three separate parts. Part one is the bright polar cap itself, a mixture of 85% highly reflective carbon dioxide ice and 15% water ice.

The second part comprises steep slopes known as ‘scarps’, made almost entirely of water ice, that fall away from the polar cap to the surrounding plains. The third part was unexpected and encompasses the vast permafrost fields that stretch for tens of kilometres away from the scarps.
The OMEGA observations were made between 18 January and 11 February this year, when it was late summer for the Martian southern hemisphere and temperatures would be at their highest. Even so, that is probably only –130 degrees Celsius and the ice that Mars Express has observed is a permanent feature of this location.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3520232.stm

Mars spacecraft wallows in water

:lol: