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Space Mars

Massive Martian Glaciers Found 314

Posted by timothy
from the could-be-a-trick dept.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes "Scientific American is reporting that 'data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter point to vast glaciers buried beneath thin layers of crustal debris.' Data from the surface-penetrating radar on MRO revealed that two well-known mid-latitude features are composed of solid water ice. One is about three times the size of the City of Los Angeles. This certainly makes the idea of establishing a station on Mars far more plausible."
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Massive Martian Glaciers Found

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  • Time to move... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kainewynd2 (821530) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:01PM (#25841317)
    And it's about time. Now we just need to get some "volunteers" to get on a spaceship...
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:02PM (#25841331) Homepage Journal

      And it's about time. Now we just need to get some "volunteers" to get on a spaceship...

      Me first!

      • by symbolset (646467) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:08PM (#25841379) Journal

        Valentine Michael Smith?

        Weren't you born there?

        • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:02AM (#25842647) Homepage Journal
          Having been here since 1965 I now want to go back.
          • UNDERGROUND CITIES (Score:5, Interesting)

            by sanman2 (928866) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:30AM (#25843959)
            So find some ice-filled underground caverns and make the first colonies there. Build some large graphene "world domes" above them, as greenhouses to grow crops in. Mars is very geologically stable, so humans can expand their presence underground like an expanding ant colony, while building large graphene bubbles topside for agriculture.
            • by MaxwellEdison (1368785) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:15AM (#25844301)

              Build some large graphene "world domes" above them

              Considering the largest piece of graphene they have been able to make so far has been a few square centimeters, it still doesn't seem like it will happen anytime soon. I'd say a better option may just be carbon fiber geodesic domes with layered plastic composites in the gaps. It may not be as effective as graphene, but it is certainly more doable in the short term.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by jandrese (485)
                Wouldn't a better technology be something that can be built out of locally available materials with technology compact enough to fly there in a spacecraft? I'm not sure what it would be, but I'm guessing it probably won't include carbon nanotubes or anything like them unless we're talking about going there in 2080 or something.
            • Looks to me like you're just a wee bit confused on this whole cost factor. How many kilos of mass do you think the first group will be bringing with them, anyway?

      • Re:Time to move... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SirLurksAlot (1169039) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:44PM (#25841597)

        Me first!

        Yes indeed, you first! I'll be satisfied to have myself cryogenically frozen (Did I happen to mention you first for that too?) and thawed out in a generation or three when the colonization effort is well under way. Guess I'm not much for a.) getting slowly cooked by solar radiation b.) constantly worrying about a hole the size of a pinprick sucking all the atmosphere out of the ship, c.) either losing my sanity in the confines of ship I can't leave for months on end or waiting for my fellow shipmates to do the same and d.) finally arriving at my destination which is even less hospitable and almost certainly more dangerous than life on the ship.

        Seriously, the first people to go to Mars would almost have to have a deathwish to do so.

        • Re:Time to move... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:53PM (#25841647) Homepage

          Seriously, the first people to go to Mars would almost have to have a deathwish to do so.

          In Kim Stanley Robinson's novel of Mars colonization Red Mars [amazon.com] , the author suggests that any colonists would have to be somewhat eccentric. That's not because of the dangers they will face, but because they are leaving behind friends, family and the general wider human society for the rest of their lives. Administrators would have a bunch of misfits on their hands and would have to assign expert psychologists to handle the situation.

          But as for the dangers of radiation, you just build underground, though of course working on the surface will expose you to a lot.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SirLurksAlot (1169039)

            Great series, admittedly I had the first part of Red Mars in my head while I was typing that post up. Anyone for eating dirt and joining the new Martian cult? ;-)

            Building underground is probably best idea to avoid radiation (this is probably a good idea for a moon base as well), but I would hope that by the time we are seriously considering manned missions to Mars that we have better protection against radiation.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by aliquis (678370)

            What are these things you call friends and human society? Once family usually die away from you unless you reproduce so no issues there either.

            Give me someone to play games with and a collection of fleshlights and lube and I'm all set.

          • by Alarindris (1253418) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:17AM (#25843905)

            In Kim Stanley Robinson's novel of Mars colonization Red Mars , the author suggests that any colonists would have to be somewhat eccentric.

            Check. I break up quotes and respond to separate parts of a post.

            That's not because of the dangers they will face, but because they are leaving behind friends, family and the general wider human society for the rest of their lives.

            Check. Give me a connection to play WoW and were rolling.

            Where do I sign?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Seriously, the first people to go to Mars would almost have to have a deathwish to do so.

          So maybe we can send enough materials for 6 months of life for 4 people. Then send 8 criminals and make a reality show out of it. See who survives and how and use that data for future missions. Or send equipment for 4 people to be able to sustain themselves indefinitely and send 8 people.

        • Re:Time to move... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Idiomatick (976696) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:00PM (#25841705)

          "Seriously, the first people to go to Mars would almost have to have a deathwish to do so."
           
            Replace mars with the new world and it holds true. Your points a, c and d also hold true. For b if you change it to sinking then you are right there too. I'm pretty fucking sure the first people on mars will be remembered as heroes for a loooooong time.

          • Why is this being modded flamebait? Your points are all valid (I'll even give you a if you're talking about dying of exposure) in regards to the new world. The folks who made the trip would probably be the first to tell us it was hell. Also, nothing says you can't be a hero and still have a deathwish ;-)

          • Re:Time to move... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ahodgson (74077) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:53PM (#25842029)

            It's a tad worse than the new world. No air and no food. Dust that will corrode anything. Poor mineral deposits. No open water. Basically, complete alien and inhospitable environment. Being second best in the solar system is a pretty low bar.

            Pluses for no hostile natives, though.

            • Re:Time to move... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday November 21, 2008 @12:36AM (#25842237) Homepage

              no one is going to be sailing to Mars in a 15th century galleon or caravel. the reason our "New World" is Mars is because technology has advanced a fair bit since the 1400's.

              our astronauts aren't going to be stricken by scurvy, nor are they going to contract polio, malaria, or other now preventable diseases. they also won't die form bacterial infections that killed millions of people before antibiotics were discovered. that means a small cut or cavity won't turn into sepsis or bacteremia and kill you.

              astronauts are also not at risk of getting lost due to a lack of modern navigation technology. in fact, any trip to mars will likely be backed by billions of dollars of science/research, technology, and years of extensive preparation and planning. and any candidates for Mars exploration or colonization will be specially chosen for their educational and technical background and given additional training on top of that. so they're likely to fare a little better than the average 15th century explorer.

              and even people who climb Mt. Everest bring their own oxygen, food & water. why would astronauts going to Mars need to worry about no air/food? if we were going to send anyone to colonize Mars they'd be living inside of a space habitat. they're not going to be dropped off on Mars butt naked without any supplies or shelter. in all likelihood by the time we send our first manned mission there'll already be some kind of habitation module, sustainable power plant, chemical oxygen generator, and usable water supply.

              any astronaut going to Mars is going to have a much longer life expectancy than the average 15th century European, much less a 15th century explorer. aside from perhaps the psychological strain, going to Mars would be a cakewalk compared to traveling to the New World in the 1400's.

              • Re:Time to move... (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Saffaya (702234) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:38AM (#25842561)

                You are forgetting we still haven't actually resolved the problem of preventing crew irradiation during their travel to/from Mars.
                That is a show-stopper, 100% chance of being irradiated beats the off-chance to get a new world disease.
                Shielding rises the mass of the vehicule, which is already a problem that forces us to a slow travel due to our limitation to chemical rockets.

                We need to switch to a different and better propulsion system like a nuclear one in order to escape this quagmire of Shield/mass+length of travel compounded problem.

                • Re:Time to move... (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by emj (15659) on Friday November 21, 2008 @04:19AM (#25843123) Homepage Journal

                  Actually you would only gain 30%-50% by going nuclear. There are apparently experiments with plasma that could be used as propulsion, using a cannon from earth. That would allow you to not bring lots of fuel.

                  That's really SciFi though, I wonder if they even have done something similar on earth except with water in amusement parks attractions.

              • Re:Time to move... (Score:4, Insightful)

                by lxs (131946) on Friday November 21, 2008 @05:22AM (#25843407)

                they also won't die form bacterial infections that killed millions of people before antibiotics were discovered. that means a small cut or cavity won't turn into sepsis or bacteremia and kill you."

                Unless a strain of bacteria turns up that is resistant to every antibiotic you have on board and you are several light minutes away from an alternative, in which case it's bye bye mr.astronaut. We really haven't evolved that much from 15th century explorers. Take away this vast safety blanket of civilization and we're just as resourceful, and equally helpless as any explorer in the past 50000 years.

                • Speaking as a guy who spent a month in the hospital a few years back fighting one of the worst drug-resistant infections in the world (a nasty kind of c.dif) what you're talking about just doesn't happen that much to healthy people. Not only that, much of how medical technology fights infection (rehydration, boosted nutrients, etc) doesn't actually depend on knowing what the infectious agent is.

                  No doubt, there are exceptions, but among healthy adults the odds of the kind of thing that you mention are much l

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Lord Ender (156273)

                  With a small number of people and no animals, it's highly unlikely new strains of dangerous bacteria would evolve.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by antirelic (1030688)

                I dont want to be too harsh on the parent, but these are pretty false comparisons. To begin with, the "New World" settlers werent in "danger" of contracting diseases from the "New World"... the diseases were from the "old world". This is like saying that our astronauts would have to worry about gang violence on mars. No... gang violence is on earth.

                The reason a Mars to New World comparison is a poor comparison is pretty simple. The "New World" had "human beings" already there, thus proving that living there

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  the "New World" settlers werent in "danger" of contracting diseases from the "New World"... the diseases were from the "old world".

                  Oh? Don't I recall correctly that syphilis came back to Europe after the explorers "fraternized" with the local women?

            • No bears or poisonous snakes on Mars at least. Or pissed off natives who are sick of your evil shit.

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by tzjanii (1170411)
              Well that shouldn't be a problem, just create some sort of low-cost clone to do the grunt work on the off-world colonies... something that we can just pump out thousands of, replicate them somehow?
            • by dakameleon (1126377) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:28AM (#25842511)

              Pluses for no hostile natives, though.

              ... that we know of.

            • by Kamokazi (1080091)
              Well, when you compare the technologies available that time, is it much worse? They had a good chance of getting sunk in a storm. Their navigation capabilities were far from accurate. Information on the new world was sparse. Getting there and ensuring you could produce the necessary amount of food and shelter to live was far from a guarantee. I really think they're pretty close to the same.
            • It's a tad worse than the new world. No air and no food. Dust that will corrode anything. Poor mineral deposits. No open water. Basically, complete alien and inhospitable environment.

              So... a republican convention then? ;)

          • It is worse, but at this point the people would know what they are getting into. We have a lot of data about the environment. The first explorers to the new world didn't even know where it was. A hospitable atmosphere obviously wasn't a concern, but the presence of easily accessible food certainly would have been.

        • If I were to plan an appealing Mars mission, it would involve landing robotic craft with prefabbed habitats two years (or more) before humans are scheduled to arrive. The robots could send back images and data about how nice and cozy the habitats are (or are not), and they might even get busy harvesting water from the local glacier.

          Not as appealing as the idea of landing on a beach and being treated as gods, but that didn't really work out to be so easy, either.

          • Not a bad idea, but it sounds like a lot could go wrong with it. If something did go wrong just how costly would it be in terms of money, resources and time? Think about how costly the rover missions have been, and then probably quadruple that amount (if not more). I mean, we're not talking about roaming with a relatively small robot, we're talking about establishing semi-permanent housing for people which can't have any mistakes in the construction process. Two years also sounds like a very long time to

            • by RustinHWright (1304191) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:28AM (#25843667) Homepage Journal

              Undoubtedly, the quantities of materiel for a Mars base would be huge. What I can't understand is why nobody is ramping up to spread that job around. Seems to me that there are plenty of companies, states, countries, and so on, who would be delighted to get the chance to spend millions of dollars to have their stuff being used by a Mars crew. And it seems to me that we now know both how to get missions to Mars and how to have them work together.

              Why is nobody trying to convince Wisconsin to start their own Mars mission to send five kilos of cheese into Mars orbit along with some clothes from Lands' End and fifteen or twenty kilos of brats and cheese bread? We know that UW Madison has some kickass space scientists and plenty of engineers. Or what about having developing nations pay a fifty or sixty thousand dollars a kilo to get their signature products added to a vessel to then be built and launched by one of the umpty-dozen New Space companies? There are plenty of options. [typepad.com]

              The smart thing to do at this point is to start pushing non-federal entities to start their own launch programs to launch their own payloads to Mars orbit where they can either wait for landing instructions (safely a few hundred miles or more from the base) or to be ferried down by some purpose-built vehicle.

              Not all supplies are high tech. There is no reason that we need to wait years and years before we'll be ready to send low-G cheese, for crying out loud. The vacuum sealers sold in every supermarket today are more high-tech than the gear used to prepare consumables for the Apollo missions. Thousands and thousands of kilos of supplies would fit into this category. Clothes. Food. Bedding. And on and on. And, frankly, there are plenty of ways to structure the contracts so that Mars crew aren't obligated to use what is sent. Something would have to be pretty damn bad to get left in the cold but there's no reason that option can't be included.

              And think about it. This way the logistics work is spread around, too. And the cargos can launch at high-G, travel at near-ambient temperatures in low-atmosphere vessels, and in a dozens of different ways, be a hell of a lot cheaper to send then trying to get everydamnthing shipped in a human-capable vessel. Sending everything in one vessel is like shipping a package by buying an airline ticket for it. This would provide the option of "parcel post".

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by pjt48108 (321212)

            Check out the Mars Direct proposal championed by Robert Zubrin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Direct [wikipedia.org].

            Not only did it involve pre-setting equipment and habitats, it's launch framework was shuttle-derived, thus precluding a need for new (potentially troubled) launch system. Such a shuttle-derived system is reflected in the Direct proposal: http://www.directlauncher.com./ [www.directlauncher.com]

            For my money, the whole Ares launch system is a waste of time, money, and effort, too. We could probably be on Mars in ten years if they

        • by Alicat1194 (970019) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:20PM (#25841867)

          Seriously, the first people to go to Mars would almost have to have a deathwish to do so.

          One of the problems with sending people to Mars is how to get them back again. If we could find volunteers who have a shortened life expectancy (terminal cancer, etc), would it be terribly unethical to send them? No need to worry about return/retrieval, and if you're already dying, you've got to admit that it'd be a heck of a way to go.

          • If we could find volunteers who have a shortened life expectancy (terminal cancer, etc), would it be terribly unethical to send them?

            I wouldn't think it would be unethical as long as they are fully aware of what it is they are being asked to do, but would they necessarily be the type we would want to send on a mission as important and costly as this would be? It would be commendable if someone decided to dedicate their remaining time to such a cause, but what happens if their illness takes a turn for the w

          • Maybe they could use people who are sentenced to life in prison. Living free on Mars might be better than being a prisoner on Earth. Of course, if they manage to establish a very successful colony, we'll have to deal with the revolt that ultimately turns into a revolution and an independent Mars nation.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by YttriumOxide (837412)

              Yeh, just look how quickly Australia became a republic free from Great Britain's influence~

              Of course, even if they were to form a separate nation - no big deal. The Australia comment was sarcasm (hence the sarcasm punctuation), but despite not being "truly" independent, they pretty much are for all reasonable intents and purposes. Their independence hasn't really caused any major problems for the world and I don't see that it'd be any different for a Mars colony. Whether they gain independence through vi

        • by Greyfox (87712)
          Or leaving a worse shithole. There are places in the news every day that I'd prefer less than Mars given a choice. Hell even in the USA if it's a way out of poverty I bet a lot of people would jump at the chance. You might not be getting the best educated but no one would work harder and with more dedication for a steady job and a chance at a new life.
          • Hmmmmm, given the choice between living in abject poverty and being sent to a frozen hell with an unbreathable atmosphere with an almost zero chance of ever returning and giving up everything familiar and even remotely comfortable I think I would take the abject poverty. Living in a sterile tincan (or a hole in the ground) and not being able to step outside without an airtight, insulated and heated suit for the rest of my life doesn't exactly sound appealing. There is always a chance you can get out of po

        • by egr (932620) on Friday November 21, 2008 @12:25AM (#25842181) Journal
          if you make spaceship look like a basement some wouldn't even notice that they were going to Mars
        • Yes indeed, you first! I'll be satisfied to have myself cryogenically frozen (Did I happen to mention you first for that too?) and thawed out in a generation or three when the colonization effort is well under way. Guess I'm not much for a.) getting slowly cooked by solar radiation b.) constantly worrying about a hole the size of a pinprick sucking all the atmosphere out of the ship, c.) either losing my sanity in the confines of ship I can't leave for months on end or waiting for my fellow shipmates to do the same and d.) finally arriving at my destination which is even less hospitable and almost certainly more dangerous than life on the ship.

          Seriously, the first people to go to Mars would almost have to have a deathwish to do so.

          What if they throw in a free mammoth?

        • Re:Time to move... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tirefire (724526) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:35AM (#25842545)
          Why move to Mars? Gee. Maybe because it's ANOTHER. FUCKING. PLANET. I'm only 19 years old. By current health standards I'm maybe 1/4 of the way through my life. And I'd give the rest of my life up, right now, for a one-way ticket to Mars. I don't care if I wouldn't come back to Earth, I don't care if I'd only live for a week or two on Mars before my food ran out. It's MARS. Issue me a cyanide pill and I'll clock myself out right before my life support fails. I'll be dead and you'll be alive. But I'll have done more in my one week on Mars than any other 6+ billion people will ever accomplish in their pathetic little lives on Earth.
        • Well you only live once you know.

          Stephen Baxters novel Titan was basically an essay putting forward your POV.

          As a counter point, most of us endanger ourselves every day. Life in space has not turned out to be enormously hazardous. Returning to Earth is.

          I would take the risk.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lallander (968402)
      I'll go as long as I can get internet access.
    • Sign me up.
    • by usul294 (1163169) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:18PM (#25841855)
      Send the most useless third of the population first, but make sure to keep at least one telephone sanitizer back here at home.
    • In response to this finding, Al Gore has called for a full investigation into the potential catastrophic effects of man-made interaction with said glaciers, and also for an investigation into how he might exploit these potential effects to bring himself more fame, money, Nobel Peace prizes, and maybe a friend, this time.
    • by serutan (259622) <(moc.nozakeeg) (ta) (guodpoons)> on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:25AM (#25842503) Homepage

      Getting to that ice will require a team of hard-drinking, undisciplined misfits and renegades who know a lot about drilling and can learn all the space travel crap on the side.

  • Recall... (Score:2, Funny)

    by zazenation (1060442)

    Get your ass to Mars...
    Get your ass to Mars...
    Get your ass to Mars...

  • Fossil water (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RsG (809189) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:07PM (#25841367)

    What's interesting to me, is that they mention in TFA that this ice can't have formed recently. The current Martian climate won't allow it. Meaning that the glacier was laid down ages ago when such formations were still possible, got buried beneath the debris, and has basically been sitting there since.

    Forget water harvesting, I'm more interested in studying the ice in situ. If there ever was life on Mars (which is independent of the question of whether there's life there now), the odds are good we'd find evidence of it frozen in the glacier. Cold preserves, objects frozen in ice erode slowly, and the living things generally need water to survive.

    Of course, anything that ever lived on Mars would likely have been microscopic. I doubt we'd find anything as big as a terrestrial animal. It'd still be the first evidence of life outside of our own planet though, which is a pretty frickin' huge deal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Reziac (43301) *

      Since current atmospheric conditions wouldn't allow ice formation (it would just sublimate) -- at some point in the past, Mars must have had a decently thick atmosphere, which probably got blown off by some natural catastrophe -- maybe the crunch-up of the hypothetical next-planet-out (now known as the asteroid belt).

      • by CRCulver (715279)
        The theory that the asteroid belt is the remains of some planet is an old one that has long since fallen out of favour.
        • by Reziac (43301) *

          I know, but even if it's a failed planet -- might whatever reason it failed also be why Mars now lacks a proper atmosphere??

          I suspect once we get more data, we're going to find that a lot of what we thought about Out There... ain't so :)

          • Re:Fossil water (Score:4, Informative)

            by IHateEverybody (75727) on Friday November 21, 2008 @12:58AM (#25842355) Homepage Journal

            I know, but even if it's a failed planet -- might whatever reason it failed also be why Mars now lacks a proper atmosphere??

            Our atmosphere is protected by the Earth's magnetic field because it deflects the ionized particles which make up the Sun's powerful solar wind. Earth's magnetic field is produced by the rotation of its liquid outer core. Mars by contrast has a completely solid core and no magnetic field. Combined with its smaller size and lower gravity (about a third of the Earth's gravity) this lack of a magnetic field is the reason why Mars' atmosphere eroded away.

            The reason for the "failed planet" that produced the asteroid belt is probably Jupiter. Jupiter's gravity is strong enough to pull material out of asteroid belt on a regular basis. If you combined all of the material in the asteroid belt, the resulting "planet" would be less massive than Mercury.

    • by Facetious (710885)
      So kind of a Total Recall meets Encino Man movie might be in the works?
  • by sjs132 (631745) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:12PM (#25841395) Homepage Journal

    All Right! Lets land a colony and start a casino! Hopefully we don't find anyone living under the Ice already! Of Course if we do, we'll invite them in on an all you can eat Sunday Buffet... As long as it isn't all the HUMANS YOU CAN EAT! :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jd (1658)
      I've a better idea. Let's swap one of the glaciers for LA, and then open the casino on top of the Martian ice. It'll be closer, there's less risk of being considered edible delicacies and it'll solve most of the environmental problems in one go.
  • SciAm sucks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:14PM (#25841423)

    (American Scientist is much better)

    The original NASA press release is at

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/news/mro-20081120.html [nasa.gov]

  • Since we're on the subject of Total Recall, and I the only one who noticed that Indiana Jones IV completely ripped their ending off Total Recall?

  • by Dr_Banzai (111657) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:40PM (#25841577) Homepage

    I wonder if this discovery had been made a few months earlier if they would have altered the course of the Phoenix lander [wikipedia.org] to try to touch down on the glacier. Or is the crust on top of the glacier too thick for Phoenix to get through? This seems like a prime target for future missions to analyze the ice and look for signs of life.

    I think we need to send Bruce Willis and a crack team of oil rig workers to do some drilling on Mars...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by IHateEverybody (75727)

      Phoenix was designed to dig a few inches into the ground. The glaciers in the linked article are probably buried a lot deeper. It actually would be more realistic to send Bruce Willis and his oil drillers to Mars to dig for ice than it was to send them to the asteroid in that movie....

  • Oh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by baKanale (830108) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:41PM (#25841589)

    ...so that's where they [wikipedia.org] went? To mars?

  • hey (Score:5, Funny)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <erauqssemitelcric>> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:43PM (#25841591) Homepage Journal

    we can put mammoths there

  • by bbroerman (715822) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:57PM (#25841677) Homepage
    All we need now is an ancient reactor to melt the ice and produce a dense atmosphere...

    Seriously, though, that movie did suck...
  • Opportunity Knocks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @11:30PM (#25841909)

    Sounds like we should be taking a new look at the "Mars Express" concept. This just screams for a direct look-see by real human beings. And we could really use a project that would kick-start a new wave of technological innovation.

  • Go figure. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Ranzear (1082021)
    Gee, who would figure a massive surface object on Mars would be hidden under and obscured from study by... dust?

    Now let's find that giant face, maybe the Raelians were right after all...
  • How To Get There (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Friday November 21, 2008 @03:41AM (#25842979)

    1. Establish moon base, mine water-ice, build solar-powered magnetic rail launcher and ore smelter.

    2. Combine water with mixture of moon regolith plus mined magnetic materials, freeze into projectile, use rail launcher to send into low moon 'parking' orbit.

    3. Use mirrors in moon orbit to melt regolith/metal/water mixture from projectiles in 'parking' lunar orbit. Form into desired hollow and radiation-resistant Mars transport. Build necessary habitat inside. Attach VASIMIR propulsion which will use hydrogen extracted from water from which ship is mostly made. Attach Mars lander made mostly from materials mined on moon. Use oxygen from from hydrogen fuel extraction for breathing during trip. (You could even do roughly the same thing on Mars for return trips, or at least refuel/re-shield with sufficient supplies sent ahead on unmanned vehicles to get started.)

    4. Get your ass to Mars! Get your ass to Mars! Get your ass to Mars!

    5. Profit!

    Probably much I've missed, or am mistaken about. Sounds good to me, though.

    Cheers!

    Strat

    • by freedom_india (780002) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:33AM (#25843981) Homepage Journal

      No you dumbass. That's how scientists think. Here's how we will *actually* there:
      Let's go over it one more time shall we?
      1) Chinese space probe to mars discovers enormous deposits of Gold/Pure Gasoline/or some valuable shit
      2) Chinese probe hacked by NSA, findings sent to Obama/Palin who decide to act on it.
      3) NASA budget quadrupled, Congress told there would be riots in cities if Godless Chinese were to conquer the Final Frontier.
      3.a Father jonathan, O'reilly and Rove talk about "bringing the rich to the People of the Free World and Defending Mars against enemies of Freedom."
      4) Congress passes a law authorising use of necessary means to "Bring the Riches of Free Planet Mars to democratic nations of the World."
      5) Senate vetoes the proposal stating that it lacks medical insurance for mine workers and their children.
      6) Congress appropriates $152 billion to pay for Miners Medical Guarantee Plan.
      7) Senate passes the law with 3:1 vote majority. McCain abstains stating it doesn't contain enough protection for PoWs. Ron Paul votes against it, stating "Until the Fed is abolished, real Gold Standard cannot be established even with HUGE martian reserves."
      8) President signs the law.

      9) NASA hires 31,000 new contractors on open bidding. KBR cries foul.
      10) KBR is guaranteed an exclusive-yet-non-binding contract to supply food and refreshments to all passengers to Mars.
      11) NASA completes a massive extension to the Space Station at a cost of $1.2 Billion. Station now contains $800 toilet seats and $450 Hamburgers supplied by KBR.
      12) NASA shortlists 12 astronauts: 9 Men with EVA hours of 500 min. 3 Women with EVA hours of 400 min.
      13) The Gay & lesbian Association Against Defamation files a suit in SCOTUS against NASA alleging discrimination against Gays To Mars
      14) Citizens of NYC and SF hold candle-light vigils in Support of GaysToMars. O'reilly darkly hints against subversion of Space.
      15) A riot breaks out in NYC between Cops, Gays and Neocons resulting in 20 dead (all gays), 13 injured (cops) and 56 arrested (neocons).
      16) NYC mayor bans further such demonstrations for 90 days, is promptly sued by ACLU & EFF. Ban upheld by NY Supreme Court. ACLU appeals and the appeal is upheld. Ban revoked. NYC police commissioner resigns.
      17) NASA trains 12 astronauts: 3 Men, 6 women(!), and 3 Gay/lesbian combo. ACLU sues citing discrimination against men(!). Case dismissed with costs.
      18) Russia launches 5 HUGE rockets from Baikonaur. The rockets discharge their payload on moon. One destructs.
      19) Russia launches 6 HUGE rockets again to moon. The rockets cargo is Von Neumann machines that assemble a self-sustaining life station to be launched with Ion engines to Mars.
      20) Russian president resigns after it was found he was secretly aiding China(!) China vehemently denies. Russia vehemently denies. NSA defector states NSA engineered it.
      21) Space station launches a triple stage rocket built by Northrop Grumman, GD and GE. The launch is a success. Unfortunately the 10 of 15 electronic toilets fail due to the shock. Apparently some unknown indian software company had written the software for the same. The president issues a Presidential order excluding non-US companies from building spaceships for US.
      22) Mid journey to Mars, a sex tape involving the 3 lesbians and 3 straight men is leaked. The Gay community is dismayed and outcasts the lesbians. Congress hauls NASA commissioner over coals. GAO inquiry finds KBR had overbilled NASA by $350 billion. the GAO report is re-classified and GAO denied funds for subsequent investigation.
      23) Spaceship arrives at Mars. Protest Rallies and Victory Rallies clash in SF and NYC killing atleast 300 people in riots. Fox covers it truthfully.
      24) First American on Mars lands to find the martian soil green with moss.
      25) A Huge Terminator rolls into camera, greets the man in Russian and waits for response.
      26) The american responds in English, whereupon he is vaporized instantly by the Terminator which

  • MRO videos (Score:3, Informative)

    by smoker2 (750216) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:35AM (#25843995) Homepage Journal
    It's a pity that NASA chooses to use quicktime as their movie format. I can't even get mplayer to open the streams.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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