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View Full Version : New Spurts of Water Discovered on Mars



Fraser
2006-Dec-07, 01:50 AM
Just when you thought Mars was dead, it goes and surprises you. New images released from the Mars Global Surveyor shows new gullies on the surface of Mars that formed within the last 7 years. The shape and path taken down the slope suggests that they were carved by rushing liquid water. It's possible that there are quantities of liquid water underneath the surface, which can escape to the surface from time to time. Even though Mars can get cold, researchers think that water spurting out of the ground could last long enough to carry debris down the slope of a hill before freezing solid.

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/12/06/new-spurts-of-water-discovered-on-mars/)

John Mendenhall
2006-Dec-07, 04:08 PM
Hydrothermal?

I can see it now. "Vacation at Tharsis Hot Springs"

Seriously, this is a really exciting result.

antoniseb
2006-Dec-07, 04:49 PM
Running water on Mars is a good thing for our long term interests.

Sticks
2006-Dec-07, 04:52 PM
I hear that Yorkshire Water has already slapped on a hosepipe ban ;)

raman
2006-Dec-07, 07:24 PM
What implication does this finding have in terms of the distribution of water. Mars has been observed close up for 8 years approx and this is the first time we have seen evidence of running water. It is extremely exciting to see surface water (if that is what this is) but doesnt evidence point to this being a rare occurence and perhaps only in particular subsurface areas. This has implications for the actual amount of subsurface water.

glennwsmith
2006-Dec-08, 04:59 AM
This finding of recently liquid water is tremendously exciting. Now, to me, it looks just the like plain old ice -- like you see on the sides of road cuts when streams and leaks of various kinds freeze over. But when I say "plain old ice", it means a heck of a lot in the context of the Maritan surface! Can you imagine what old Schiaparelli would have given to be able to see these close ups!

By the way, this is my first post on this site -- I have long been an admirer of Universe Today, and I am pleased to be aboard. Perhaps someone will be kind enough to explain how to add my signature line to posts -- the classic line from science fiction/space exploration movies: "Captain, let's go in for a closer look!" That's when the trouble always starts!!

dhd40
2006-Dec-08, 10:32 AM
and this is the first time we have seen evidence of running water. It is extremely exciting to see surface water (if that is what this is)
I do not see an EVIDENCE of running water. It may be very likely, but EVIDENCE? There are also new craters on Mars that show "white" radiata. Also from underground water ice? I would be very glad to see a proof. Hopefully, itīs not an illusion following from reflection contrasts.

John Mendenhall
2006-Dec-08, 01:34 PM
I do not see an EVIDENCE of running water. It may be very likely, but EVIDENCE? There are also new craters on Mars that show "white" radiata. Also from underground water ice? I would be very glad to see a proof. Hopefully, itīs not an illusion following from reflection contrasts.

I'll second that. I apologize for not remembering where, but there was a recent article in one of the science sites about lunar craters with dustslides that make gullies and fans that look like what we see on Mars. The photos of Mars do look like water caused the flows, but it would be nice to have a sample, or spectrograph, or something additional to the photos.

raman
2006-Dec-08, 06:13 PM
Ok perhaps evidence is the wrong word. I was not aware that there were so many other thing that can mimic surface ice flow. Will further evidence be forthcoming?

dhd40
2006-Dec-09, 10:15 AM
I hope that I havenīt been misunderstood. Iīm not saying that it canīt be water (ice). But, as John Mendenhall states: A spectrograph would be nice, perhaps from Raman spectroscopy:dance:
Iīm sure there are some experts within NASA (and, maybe, here as well) who could tell more about this

trinitree88
2006-Dec-09, 05:40 PM
Running water on Mars is a good thing for our long term interests.

Antoniseb. Agreed. Running water is good.
It is also not all that unexpected. The terrestrial evidence for supernova ejecta passing through the solar system, and leaving Fe-60 isotopic signatures in deep sea sediments has been seen and corroborated, for layers in the last few millions of years.
Passage of an ejecta cloud in the Earth's environs requires that it also make it's way past the orbit of Mars, roughly twice as far out from the sun. Iron here means iron there, as the clouds are not effectively stratified by any study yet seen, and some straight-forward reasoning leads to our visiting ejecta reaching fairly deep into the solar system against the momentum and kinetic energy of the solar wind. Years ago people scoffed at the idea that such a deep intrusion could even in principle occur. At least some of the iron-60 seen here ought to evidence itself in the alpha-proton spectrometry of Martian soil samples from Spirit and Opportunity. This is not an anomaly, but a futher corroboration.
Hematite on Mars ought to have mixed in some supernova isotopes from decays of post-detonation cobalt and nickel that power the months long light curves of nascent fireballs.
The article by Stan Woosley on the isotope table of a 25 solar mass supernova published in a geoscience/planetary science journal (Meteorites?) years ago delineated the relative abundances of various elements to be expected in the debris cloud using computer simulations of progenitor compositions. My recollection OTMH is about three solar masses of oxygen, and several of hydrogen. When that stuff rains down on Mars and Earth, you get a nice wet recent Mars, with loads of water, and plenty of iron oxides....and a quick shot of iron in Earths oceans catalyzing a prodigious phytoplankton bloom....it's iron that's in short supply in the littoral zone.
I'd be curious to know how our geologic record stacks up in dusty layers of iron oxide ...
So, while some of the geologic records of Mars may indicate ancient oceans there, at least some evidence should point to more recent transient ones. Pete

John Mendenhall
2006-Dec-11, 03:19 PM
Antoniseb. Agreed. Running water is good.
It is also not all that unexpected. The terrestrial evidence for supernova ejecta passing through the solar system, and leaving Fe-60 isotopic signatures in deep sea sediments has been seen and corroborated, for layers in the last few millions of years.

I seem to have lost the thread here. Terrific idea, correlating geologic layers between planets, but when did this thread head in that direction?