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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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  • by Dr_Banzai (111657) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @06:19PM (#21757450) Homepage
    This might be a good place to land a Mars mission because you could use the ice to create oxygen, water, fuel etc.
  • by gumbo (88087) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @06:25PM (#21757520) Homepage
    If you thought Hollywood was out of penguin movie fuel (after March, Happy Feet, and the other animated one that I can't remember the name of), this is just the thing they've been waiting for. Cute green Martian penguins dancing around on an iceberg. Fun for everybody!
  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @06:37PM (#21757690) Journal

    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).
    its location is at 47.5N, 28.4E so yes, very odd indeed.

    Yet people seem to be surprised every time there's the merest hint, or act like it's of some cosmic significance. Sheesh.
    yeah, a large percentage of the solar system's material consists of frozen water, no surprise by that account that water exists on Mars, what seems to be interesting here is how young it is and I presume the position as well. although if we were to find say liquid water anywhere nearby *that* would be far more interesting but no luck on the surface [confirmed that is] yet.
  • by rucs_hack (784150) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @07:30PM (#21758360)
    Actually, perverse though it sounds, global warming is exactly what we have to do on Mars if its ever to be habitable without assisted environments (posh way of saying biodome..) in a thousand yars or so. All that subsurface ice needs to be melted to bring the oceans back and build a decent atmosphere, one better at deflecting solar radiation.

    Without it we'd have to wait tens of thousands of years, or more, while specially engineered plant life (very basic plant life) and such worked its slow magic on the atmosphere. With a bit of global warming technology (TM) we can shorten the time considerably. If oceans were brought back the process would be much faster.

    The question is how can it be acheived in a way that can be managed, so it doesn't spin out of control. Personally, since I won't be alive in either case, a thing I have in common with everyone reading this, I'd go for the slower option, or even go for the option of spending a few hundred years seeing if there were any remnant native organisms that could be helped back into activity and do the job for us.

    That there are active glaciers is fascinating though. What a shame that almost all of the current environment of mars would need to be destroyed or irreversibly altered in order to host our species. It doesn't bode well for our entry into the interstellar club. How ironic if the destructive aliens we worry about so much in fiction turn out to be us.
  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AJWM (19027) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @07:40PM (#21758512) Homepage
    Well, 47.5 N is hardly equatorial, but it is further south (by about 8 degrees) than the typical maximum winter extent of the north polar cap, so I'll grant you "odd" but perhaps not "very odd". (We have equatorial glaciers here on Earth at sufficient altitude, although they're disappearing rapidly.)

    I wouldn't be surprised if significant traces of water (ice) are found all over Vastitas Borealis; if it was once a sea bottom (and it bears characteristics of such) there could be a lot left just under the surface (which would help preserve it).

    The real question is whether they find sodium ;-)

  • Re:Not a surprise. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday December 19, 2007 @08:33PM (#21759086) Journal
    Your completely off the mark here. The problem isn't people thinking that "if it isn't in the good book it doesn't exist". It isn't even close to that.

    The problem with teaching science isn't anything to do with the bible. It is with how the science is being taught. It is being done in a way that excludes anything else. It is in effect calling religions wrong and to some extent, it (the people teaching it) specifically mentioned it being wrong. While that may be a true statement in your take on things, there is still this thing called freedom of religion and the separation of state.

    This freedom of a religion and separation of church and state is a concept that say the government cannot push a religion on people, can't favor on over another and they cannot prevent one from being practiced. You cannot argue that going to a publicly funded school and being compelled by law to attend isn't the government sanctioning what is happening there. So when the science is presented in a way that little johnny or little susy comes home and say god is a liar or doesn't exist, this didn't happen because we learned about it in school, then we have a problem along this freedom of religion and church and state thing.

    I personally feel that if the material is presented as a theory in the tradition sense with something saying simply that this is how science relates to things and so far it has been as accurate as we can test, things would be fine. I'm not impressed with these intelligent design ideas of teaching creationism as a philosophy course. Just don't make any definite statements and present it as it relates to science and there shouldn't be a problem.

    I understand that people think it is absurd to downplay something like evolution and the big bang theory because they incorrectly think it is a fact that has been proven. The fact is, while it has become close to being shown as fact and it is generally accepted as true, it hasn't been proven to the extent some think it has. But your interpretation of something being the right way or the real way has just as much to do with this as some bible thumper's interpretation. You have as much freedom from religion as they have freedom of religion. You cannot claim their religion is anything as much as they cannot make you subscribe to their religion.

    That is what this boils down to, and that is why the problem is in America and not other free countries (the constitution). It isn't for the most part and outright rejection of science but a rejection of the way science is being taught and how that teaching is attempting to deny other people's freedom of religion. And just like in anything else, when the government endorses the view, it kicks in constitutional problems.

    I'm not saying that you won't find a few creationist who strictly think the bible is the only way, but you will find that the majority of people supporting ID or statements in science classes are the people who doesn't want the government going around claiming their religion is a fairytale or wrong and whatever else. If it wasn't for the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion, this wouldn't be a problem. But it is a problem and people are attempting to introduce ID as an fix.

    Ask me about science as a religion, it goes a little more into explaining the "incorrectly think it is a fact that has been proven" I mentioned earlier. Of course people want to strongly deny religions convictions of scientific theories because then it would be obvious on the freedom of religion and seperation of church and state thing.

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