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Mars Space Science

The Dry Ice 'Snowflakes' of Mars 44

astroengine writes "After collecting the vast quantities of data gathered by orbiting Mars spacecraft, MIT scientists have uncovered some rather interesting facts about Martian snow. For starters, as the majority of the Mars atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide, the snowflakes are made from CO2 ice — basically tiny particles of 'dry ice.' Also, the snowflakes are very small — approximately the size of a red blood cell. 'These are very fine particles, not big flakes,' said MIT assistant professor Kerri Cahoy in a press release. If you saw these 'snowflakes' fall, 'you would probably see it as a fog, because they're so small,' she added."
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The Dry Ice 'Snowflakes' of Mars

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  • Re:Yellow snow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:40AM (#40381567)

    Actually, you would be able to pee on mars easily, without very much damage. If you only exposed that single part of your body somehow, and the rest of your body could breath and was at a somewhat normal pressure.

    It would take some time to freeze. The pressure would cause some bruising and an erection (like a hardcore penis pump.)

    Flash freezing requires extremely fast heat exchange. The low pressure and light atmosphere would not do this at all. Humans can survive total vacuum for 30 seconds to a minute easily.

    From an article in Aviation Week: "The experiment of exposing an unpressurized hand to near vacuum for a significant time while the pilot went about his business occurred in real life on Aug. 16, 1960. Joe Kittinger, during his ascent to 102,800 ft (19.5 miles) in an open gondola, lost pressurization of his right hand. He decided to continue the mission, and the hand became painful and useless as you would expect. However, once back to lower altitudes following his record-breaking parachute jump, the hand returned to normal."

  • by GloomE ( 695185 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:17AM (#40384055)

    Life is incredibly durable, once it takes hold of a planet I find it hard to believe that anything short of a Venutian style "runaway greenhouse" will erase it.

    You assume that a "runaway greenhouse" is enough.
    That'd have to be a pretty fast change for life not to keep up.
    Nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

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