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Space Mars

Possible Active Glacier Found On Mars 143

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dr-neukum-forever dept.
FireFury03 writes "The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has spotted an icy feature which appears to be a young active glacier. Dr Gerhard Neukum, chief scientist on the spacecraft's High Resolution Stereo Camera said 'We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice'. Estimates place the glacier at 10,000 — 100,000 years old."
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Possible Active Glacier Found On Mars

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  • Not a surprise. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AJWM (19027) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @06:26PM (#21757524) Homepage
    We've known there was ice on Mars for a century or more. It is visible from Earth through any reasonably good telescope. You know, those white things at the poles?

    Sure, in winter they get bigger from frozen out CO2, but there's a year-round permanent cap of water ice. Glaciers, permafrost, pingoes and other signs of ice should not be a surprise. Okay, a glacier on the Martian equator might be a surprise, except perhaps on one of the Tharsis Bulge volcanoes or Nix Olympica (er, Olympus Mons to you young whippersnappers; now get off my lawn).

    Yet people seem to be surprised every time there's the merest hint, or act like it's of some cosmic significance. Sheesh.
  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @06:29PM (#21757570) Journal
    I think the pleasure out of this finding is yet more evidence that Mars is an *active* planet. We've known for over a century about Martian seasons, for quite some time about the vast dust storms, and recently there have been some tanatalizing hints of ongoing vulcanism, and now an active glacier. For a glacier to be active, it means there has to be some sort of hydrological cycle to replenish the ice.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @06:36PM (#21757680) Homepage Journal
    When it's a choice between that and your own urine, which has been reprocessed through the spaceship urine reprocessing system 700 times, the dirty ice will start to look mighty appealing.
  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @06:47PM (#21757794) Journal

    Besides that, I simply cannot wait for the ID explanation of life on Mars.

    Leaving aside the (in my opinion) intellectual dishonesty of ID, a cool (and admittedly fictional) creationist take on the idea of life on Mars: Out of the Silent Planet [slashdot.org] by C. S. Lewis.

    Nothing I'm aware of in creationist canon explicitly excludes the idea of life elsewhere in this universe. It's just not mentioned. Only the most closed-minded would insist "only the things described in $HOLYBOOK happened, nothing else!".

  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @06:49PM (#21757806) Homepage
    Yet people seem to be surprised every time there's the merest hint, or act like it's of some cosmic significance. Sheesh.

    Well maybe this is just me, but I tend to be surprised or excited whenever the actual scientists involved are surprised or excited. Seems like they are the ones who would be best equipped to know what the significance is.

    I'm pretty sure they are already aware of the Martian ice caps, so maybe there's something more significant to this then? Naw, you're right, it's better to use hindsight to say "that was obvious!" and brush it off.
  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shadowplay00 (1042912) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @07:00PM (#21757928)

    Only the most closed-minded would insist "only the things described in $HOLYBOOK happened, nothing else!".
    Unfortunately that describes far too many these days. Even if you were to argue that's a small proportion of active Christians in the US, it's enough to affect attempts to teach science. Look at all the controversies over teaching ID in public schools: do you really think these schoolboard members are terribly open-minded?
  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @07:15PM (#21758130)
    Unfortunately that describes far too many these days.

    Again, please provide even a single instance of anyone who claims that, for example, penguins don't exist because they aren't (TTBOMK) mentioned in the Bible.

    Honestly, don't you at some level see anything inappropriate in abusing people for offenses you simply made up?

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