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Mars Science

Curiosity Finds Evidence of Ancient Surface Water 79

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the drill-baby-drill dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Curiosity has wheeled its way over to the low point in Yellowknife Bay and has found veined rocks, evidence that water once percolated through this area. Scientists are excited because it is the first evidence of precipitation of minerals and water. There is also cross bedding that can be seen, thin layers of rocks oriented in different directions. The grains are apparently too coarse for the wind to have created, alluding to flowing water. Even with this discovery, much is still not known about Mars' past." Rather than quickly moving along to Mount Sharp as planned, they're going to spend some time drilling into the rock.
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Curiosity Finds Evidence of Ancient Surface Water

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  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:04PM (#42606187)

    Your solvent was a trick question, because water and NH3 are both polar so there is at least some overlap in solubility. Also they dissolve ridiculously well in each other. If you spec'd liq methane or some weird liq fluorocarbon then there's practically no overlap given methane is non polar.

    Anyway yeah its the solubility thing which is indirectly related to pH. Its not very hard on earth to figure out if something was sitting in a water tank or an ammonia tank same thing on mars.

    Also temp and pressure. Maybe you could do something weird with NH3 at 10 bar and 500 deg that looks kinda like water related corrosion, but no one will believe that happened on martian surface.

  • Re:Too course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sribe (304414) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:18PM (#42606383)

    While rocket scientists likely have lots of education involving fluid dynamics, I doubt they specialized much in erosion.

    WHAT THE FUCK? You seriously don't think NASA has geologists to study geology???

  • Re:Not a Surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LunaticTippy (872397) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:52PM (#42606841)
    Your question is one that has been answered [wikipedia.org] Mars lost its magnetosphere 4 billion years ago, allowing solar radiation to strip away its atmosphere. Water vapor was flung into space by this process over the billions of years, and any surface water will boil away due to the low atmospheric pressure.

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