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Space Science

Mud on Mars: Look for Life in Russell Crater 26

An anonymous reader writes "Mars Global Surveyor satellite images show mud may have flowed on Mars as recently as the last 100 years. The place is called Russell Crater, in the southern hemisphere. Water would exist during summer noon, long enough to carve out the embankments and dams that make these patterns different from rocky avalanches. The BBC has an interview."
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Mud on Mars: Look for Life in Russell Crater

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  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:29PM (#6059970)
    They interviewed a crater?
  • Full resolution pics (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cy Guy ( 56083 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:43PM (#6060132) Homepage Journal
    Are available from here [].

  • In particular, Dr Reiss measured the temperature of the surface along with its reflectivity, technically called its albedo.

    Come dowsed in mud, soaked in bleach
    As I want you to be
    As a trend, as a friend, as an old memoria
    An albino
    A mosquito
    My albedo
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:46PM (#6060158)
    Just the other day I read on Slashdot how Everquest was wiping out all the MUDs. It is heartening to find out about a new one, on Mars even!
  • Those look much more like the tracks of a martian dune buggy. It is well kown that martians love racing sports and this is more evidence. I just love all these "experts" to choose one interpretation of an image or data and suddenly have a whole story behind it which is realated either by them or a news service as a fact. The facts are that someone quesses that these maybe mud slides, but untill someone goes up there and sees for them selves they might just be dune buggy tracks.
  • seriously, though (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rxke ( 644923 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:52PM (#6060208) Homepage
    The article mentions the mud/liquid water could be present THIS VERY DAY, if this would turn out to be true,... boy, staggering.... Liquid water on Mars! I hope they really decontaminated all previous probes properly, would be quite a shock to discover earth-bacteria living there, instead of martian bugs.

    • I wonder if the spaceflight itself wouldn't sterilize many things already. Wasn't it only spores that could travel through space? Praps I am recalling incorrectly...
      • lunar surveyor (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rxke ( 644923 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @04:21PM (#6060588) Homepage
        coincidence (the name) apollo 12,14;15 (don't remember) did a quick stroll to a probe on the moon, that had landed there a while before them, they took some pieces off it to study back on earth (to know how badly it had deteriorariar eeehhh ated, i guess.) Back on earth, it turned out there were still some live bacteria inside some of the pieces...
  • Saxifrage Russell (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Was who I first thought of when I saw "Mars" and "Russell" in the same sentence.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Shhhh! Keep your voice down, or UNOMA or the TA will know where he is...
  • Water on Mars... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by akgunkel ( 567825 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @04:08PM (#6060392) Homepage Journal
    I just wonder if all these water on Mars claims will be verified before we send Humans there.

    By that I mean, if all of our probes can't confirm this and in 10, 20, or 30 years we finally get Humans out there and they do confirm water on Mars, will that justify the expense and danger of manned space exploration?

    It just seems to me that if there is any water on Mars, a probe will have a lot harder time finding definative proof of it than an intelligent human being.
    • There is little doubt that there exists lots of water on Mars. GRS, onboard Mars Odyssey pretty much answered that question . The only real question now is whether or not there is any significant quantity of *liquid* water. This MOC images of Russel crater suggest recent flowing water/mud and that's the news, not that there is water, but that there seems to have been recent *flowing* water.
  • Would color photographs be too much to ask? Why are all of these photos B&W only? Surly the Global Surveyor is capable of something better than this?
    • Re:COLOR Please? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pyr0 ( 120990 )
      Why do you need color? Seriously...I'm not trying to troll you or anything. When all you want is to see surface features, black and white is perfectly adequate. If the images were in color, you'd just see what color the sediments are (some varying shades of red and yellow probably). Personally, I think black and white pictures of landscapes look pretty neat.
  • When the reflectivity (albedo) drops, that means the dry ice melted. The Thermal Emisison Spectrometer can show that temperature is above 0C, but that doesn't mean that water is present.

    The picture looks like sand dunes to me. That's not some foot-wide mud puddle; Those things are huge.

    I don't see any evidence of mud or liquid water.

  • When spring arrives, dry ice turns directly to vapor first, particularly since the thin Martian atmosphere is nearly 100 times less dense than Earth's.
    The density of the atmosphere don't come into it: CO2 sublimes quite happily on Earth. That's why it's called dry ice.
  • Speaking of Mars, in about 3 days, Britain will launch the Beagle 2 (so named after the ship Darwin sailed in, the Beagle). It's a pretty ambitious mission that hopes to get a huge amount of data on all sorts of things. There is a hope that calling it the "Beagle" will cause fortune to smile upon the mission and perhaps allow it to discover something pertaining to martian lifeforms. Master_Foaly

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger