Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Phoenix Mars Lander Deploys Robotic Arm, Possibly Finds Ice

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the armed-and-gregarious dept.

Mars 168

The Phoenix Mars Lander has successfully deployed its robotic arm and tested other instruments including a laser designed to detect dust, clouds, and fog. The arm will be used to dig up samples of the Martian surface, which will be analyzed as a possible habitat for life. A camera on the arm will allow pictures to be taken of the ground directly beneath the lander. The camera has already seen what may be ice, which was exposed when the soil was disturbed by the landing. The data collected by the arm will be compared to recent findings which suggest that water on Mars may have been too salty for most known forms of life.

cancel ×

168 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How is this news? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23605877)

Don't we already have two rovers on Mars that seem to have MUCH better capabilities than this thing?

Re:How is this news? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23605907)

I'm speechless. If someone's this ignorant, where do you start?

Re:How is this news? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23605939)

Don't we already have two rovers on Mars that seem to have MUCH better capabilities than this thing?

The rovers can't dig as deep, nor could they have survived more than a season at these polar latitudes either. There isn't as much ice (or for that matter, any ice that we've been able to find) at the latitudes where the rovers are operating.

As for what we already have on Mars, we have rovers that have amazingly gone almost 10km each. That's about 1% of the distance they'd have to cover to get to where this one is. So in terms of "what we have on mars" that "are capable of finding out what the polar ice caps are like", we currently had nothing until Phoenix.

Re:How is this news? (3, Interesting)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606497)

Well, according to the incredibly accurate news reporting here in Western Australia, the rovers never happened. The report on Phoenix said it was the first successful landing of a craft on Mars in 30 years. :P

Re:How is this news? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606715)

It's the first successful landing that used retrorockets since the Vikings (IIRC) in the 70s. All other retrorocket-based landings have failed. The rovers used airbags.

Re:How is this news? (1)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606747)

True enough, but that's not the way it got reported here. I was most disappointed. Any news service worth its salt should be well aware of Spirit and Opportunity.

Re:How is this news? (4, Funny)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606771)

Oh they are well aware of Opportunity, but dont have much Spirit, and even less Soul.

Re:How is this news? (1)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606717)

Really? ROFL, in Sydney they did a slightly better job, but not by much.

Do you have a link by any chance?

Re:How is this news? (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606761)

The news report is correct in the aspect that the rovers crashed haphazardly to the surface unlike the Phoenix which soft-landed in a controlled manner - the previous being the twin Viking probes in 1976.

Ron

Re:How is this news? (2, Funny)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606723)

Without counting the fact that the Rovers don't have all the sensors necessary to perform the analysis that the Phoenix is doing, and they can't dig either. For the They just... rove :) For the most part they are digital cameras with wheels.

I only hope... (2, Interesting)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23605885)

...that this lander does as well as the other two.

Re:I only hope... (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606047)

That would be nice, but in about 4 months it's going to be under a meter of frozen CO2.
So I'm not holding my breath.

Re:I only hope... (5, Funny)

bjkinney (1292078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606321)

The lander actually has its own twitter page being written in the first person. Even it doesn't expect to last the winter. From http://twitter.com/MarsPhoenix [twitter.com]

"Martian winter will be tough. I don't think I will survive it, but if I wake up in Spring, I have a "Lazurus" mode and will phone home!" 10:29 PM May 26, 2008

Re:I only hope... (4, Funny)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606829)

I have no idea why they write it in the first person like that. It's freaking creepy.

Re:I only hope... (5, Funny)

flydude18 (839328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607131)

It'll only get worse.

"Ice is up to my solar panels now. So cold... so cold... Why haven't they come for me yet? They said they would. They promised. I know they will, I just need to hold out... a little... longer..."

That reminds me of something... what was it? (3, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607393)

Ah... it seems to me, Doolittle... Sorry, I've drawn a blank. Hold it. I'll have it again in a minute. I forget so many things in here, so many things. Hold on, just a minute, let me think...

Re:I only hope... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607519)

I die, I must make sure my body freezes in a dignified position! None of that "huddled over for warmth" crap!

Re:I only hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607231)

It's related to the length of twitter posts... read abuot it here:

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/05/wired-science-i.html

Re:I only hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607123)

I'm doing science, and I'm still alive!

Re:I only hope... (2, Funny)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606929)

That would be nice, but in about 4 months it's going to be under a meter of frozen CO2.

So I'm not holding my breath.

I wish you did... If only we all held our breaths, maybe, there wouldn't be so much CO2 in the world :-(

Finally a solution for glbal warming (1, Funny)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23605891)

United States is going to send shipments of ice from Mars to cool the warming caused by its gas guzzlers

Re:Finally a solution for glbal warming (4, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606127)

United States is going to send shipments of ice from Mars to cool the warming caused by its gas guzzlers


Somehow I doubt importing billions of tons of frozen CO2 is going to help us reduce greenhouse gasses :)

Re:Finally a solution for glbal warming (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606381)

great idea, since water vapor accounts for like 80%-90% of greenhouse gases.

Re:Finally a solution for glbal warming (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607541)

Well, I wouldn't put it past our handsomest politicians.

Could be, could not be... (5, Funny)

lazy_nihilist (1220868) | more than 6 years ago | (#23605913)

Lets wait for the test data to confirm if it is ice. For all we know it "could" be oil ;-)

I heard Osama is hiding there. (2, Funny)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606245)

We should send Halliburton to investigate, immediately!

Re:Could be, could not be... (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606427)

or just silica...

Re:Could be, could not be... (4, Funny)

barzok (26681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606651)

If it's oil, we'll need to invade, post-haste.

Re:Could be, could not be... (5, Funny)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606759)

If that was oil the US would plan a manned mission for next year. They'd send the marines claiming that the Martians were hiding weapons of mass destruction.

Re:Could be, could not be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607251)

It is. I changed the oil in my flying car there on tuesday and I dumped it on the ground because I couldn't find a storm sewer.

Jus' sayin'

Re:Could be, could not be... (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607501)

scientist A: "Wow, that looks like frozen liquid. We found water, woohoo!"

scientist B: "The spectrum shows it to contain strong acids and heavy metals."

scientist A: "Yeah, we found strong acids and heavy metals on Mars!"

scientist B: "The signature matches that of the lander battery fluid."

scientist A: "Yay, we found leaky batteries on Mars, hurray we........oh fuck."

Black and White Ice (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23605929)

They can't tell if it's ice or not because the photo is in black and white. It's 2008, why are the these image sensors not capable of color?

Re:Black and White Ice (1)

sleepykit (942636) | more than 6 years ago | (#23605947)

Supposedly it can transmit in color but the images take longer to look at because of layering. (No I am not sure I understand it either...)

Re:Black and White Ice (4, Informative)

shawnce (146129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606023)

The take multiple images with different filters in front of the lens then create a composite of these images to generate a approx. color image.

Additionally they use color patterns on the probes body to calibrate the color generation based on the known color of the patterns (American flag, etc. on Phoenix). They need this because of the way that sun light is affected by the martian atmosphere (which can vary based on local conditions).

Re:Black and White Ice (5, Informative)

ip_vjl (410654) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606111)

Because other than the "gee, that's pretty" factor, a color image doesn't have as much significance as a grayscale image that has been taken through specific filters. The probe has multiple filters so they can take images that are sensitive at different wavelengths (depending on what they want to "see").

If they want a standard color image, they can take three pictures with R, G, B filters and combine them. It's not like anything they're (likely) going to take a picture of is going to move anyway, so taking 3 sequential images won't be a problem.

Grayscale images are also smaller (bandwidth-wise) so they can transmit faster. No use wasting time transmitting a larger image if your camera is pointed at the wrong thing.

this is still not an excuse.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607547)

Stop making excuses, we here on Earth want a high resolution COLOR image of the mars terrain. It is significant to most of us to have one. Take the big picture, run it through an algorithm to size it down to a couple hundred kilobytes (like photoshop does with it's algorithm ) and send it back to Earth in 30 seconds. Just because it is insignificant to you or nasa's scientists doesn't mean it's not insignificant to others. This is 200 fucking 8, we should have beautiful color pictures. We don't want 1 in red, 1 in green and 1 in blue. We want a HIGH RESOLUTION picture. Do you understand? STOP MAKING EXCUSES THIS ISINT 1969. Your argument about wasting bandwith is bogus, we have plenty of time to take 1 NICE COLOR PICTURE AND SEND IT BACK. Who cares what or where the camera is pointing at? I don't. I just want a nice high resolution color picture from mars.

Whoever modded you informative is living in the stone age. Fuck you and the crackhead mods.

Extremophiles (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23605953)

Just because its too salty for 'most' life doesn't mean its too salty for ANY life.

Re:Extremophiles (4, Informative)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606017)

"The scientists say that the handful of terrestrial halophiles -- species that can tolerate high salinity -- descended from ancestors that first evolved in purer waters. Based on what we know about Earth, they say that it's difficult to imagine life arising in acidic, oxidizing brines like those inferred for ancient Mars."

Looks like it is just very unlikely with what we know.

Re:Extremophiles (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606139)

Are you quoting from the article - you READ the article ????

Re:Extremophiles (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606841)

"Based on what we know about Earth" See, that's the problem. First of all we don't know everything about Earth, new species are found almost on a daily basis. Second, when did Earth become model for the universe? It would be more appropriate to say "we are looking for Earth-like life"

Re:Extremophiles (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606159)

It's life Jim, but not as we know it

Re:Extremophiles (3, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606251)

Based on what we know about Earth, they say that it's difficult to imagine life arising in acidic, oxidizing brines like those inferred for ancient Mars.

er, ahem -- [enotes.com]

Hamlet:

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159-167

Wm. Shakespeare

Two billion years from now it may be difficult to imagine life evolving on the Earth. If you can still find the Earth, that is. Time has a way of hiding things.

Re:Extremophiles (2, Funny)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606893)

"The scientists say that the handful of terrestrial halophiles"

People who play too much on the Xbox?

Re:Extremophiles (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607545)

["The scientists say that the handful of terrestrial halophiles -- species that can tolerate high salinity -- descended from ancestors that first evolved in purer waters. Based on what we know about Earth, they say that it's difficult to imagine life arising in acidic, oxidizing brines like those inferred for ancient Mars."] Looks like it is just very unlikely with what we know.

I don't see how we can read much into that. Evolution on Earth just found it quicker to start one place/niche and shift to another rather than start from scratch in the salty place and reinvent all the machinery of a cell from scratch. The easiest path is not the same as the only path.

After all, if evolution was smart, we wouldn't have our damned scrotum on the outside of our bodies. Other species found a better solution.
             

Re:Extremophiles (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606059)

And nobody said that, just for known life.
Considering it's composition, it would need to be some particularly weird as shit. Possible so weird we couldn't recognize it.

Re:Extremophiles (1)

afish40 (774995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606195)

"And nobody said that, just for known life."

Well known life is our only frame of reference here. We could make endless conjecture about how exotic life might be on other worlds, but we have to start from some basic sense of what life probably can or cannot survive in.

Re:Extremophiles (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606157)

We keep seeing these same generalizations going on when looking for life elsewhere.

Lets face it, odds are if we DO find life, it's going to be fundamentally different than what we're expecting it to be. Saying conditions aren't good for life anywhere based on what we consider habitable is silly. The reason our conditions are ideal for our life isn't because we got lucky and got the right combination of environment to grow up in, it's because we adapted to become the best suited for the environment we developed in.

I'll give them "initial conditions" though. Certain environments certainly lower the odds for genesis. Once you've achieved genesis however, evolution takes over, and so long as you don't have a fast severe change in conditions, life will adapt over time to become well-suited to whatever the environment can throw at it.

So unless you're looking for life that has just recently come to be, there's almost no point in examining conditions. Probably the only environmental necessity is reasonable temperatures. (and I mean very generous range, at least a ways over abs 0 and too low to melt lead)

Actually, on the high end, it would not completely surprise me to find life IN a sun. Whenever we look somewhere and say no life can exist there, it's too hot, too cold, too alkaline, too dry, whatever, we end up finding life. Recently we found life IN a rock, eating radioactivity. After that you pretty much have to be an optimist.

Re:Extremophiles (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606331)

Well, on the other hand you can argue that if there was a niche here on earth life would have evolved to fit it given the obvious benefits like having no enemies. So if we don't find life here on earth, are chances really that great that we'll find radically different life living under the same conditions on other planets? I suppose that's a difficult question, since it's hard to tell how much evolution is path-dependent or if the same basic creatures would form anyway.

Re:Extremophiles (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606385)

What are you expecting life elsewhere to be? I'm expecting it to be something that takes advantage of energy gradients (food is essentially an energy gradient, it takes less energy to gather fruit than the fruit contains, similarly for prey) in order to maintain its own order at a level above that of the average environment that it exists in.

Re:Extremophiles (-1, Troll)

rho (6063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606603)

What twaddle.

You have exactly zero proof of life anywhere outside of our biosphere. Zero. As in none.

Which is not to say that you couldn't be right. It is to say that you're talking completely out of your ass, and doing so with a certainty that smacks of fundamentalism.

Re:Extremophiles (2, Interesting)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606675)

The (as of yet without an upper bound) size of the universe makes it very hard to believe there'd be no life in the universe other than on Earth.

Re:Extremophiles (-1, Troll)

rho (6063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606809)

Gosh, your "seems like an awful waste of space" argument is compelling.

The standard of science is falsifiability, right? "Hard to believe" covers it, you think?

Twaddle.

Re:Extremophiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607149)

what if this endless universe is not a waste of space, but to show us how important and significant we actually are? Instead of looking at this beautiful universe and thinking it's so empty, what about thinking how cool it is that it is all for us?

(I'd log in and use my ID but it would undo all my Modding)

Re:Extremophiles (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607455)

Lets face it, odds are if we DO find life, it's going to be fundamentally different than what we're expecting it to be.

You state that as if it were a fact, rather than the opinion it actually is.
 
 

Saying conditions aren't good for life anywhere based on what we consider habitable is silly.

They aren't saying conditions are good for life based on what we consider habitable. They saying conditions are good for life based on the laws of physics and chemistry and reasonable extrapolations from the same.

Re:Extremophiles (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606231)

You are correct. Although it has been pointed out by others that terrestrial lifeforms that handle extreme salinity first evolved in purer waters, this doesn't tell us a whole lot, as water at extreme depths may well be extremely pure, with life migrating towards the surface as it became more tolerent of conditions. Also, knowing it was salty at one point in time does not tell us about salt levels prior to this, or indeed about salt levels anywhere on Mars outside of the points so far examined. All this also assumes a traditional carbon-based lifeform, which although the most likely, is not guaranteed to be the only form of life. Silicon is a strong contender, particularly if you have environments in which carbon-based structures would be less likely to survive.

In short, we could easily dream up a million and one scenarios in which life could have existed on Mars or could exist there today. Without more information, all we can say with any certainty is that terrestrial life could not have arisen on the surface of Mars within the narrow region of space and time for which we have reliable geological data. We can say nothing about any other form of life, any other location on Mars, or any other point in Martian history.

(God, I hate agreeing with someone who's got me marked as a foe. It's so... so... Un-Slashdotish, somehow.)

Re:Extremophiles (2, Funny)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607015)

(God, I hate agreeing with someone who's got me marked as a foe. It's so... so... Un-Slashdotish, somehow.)

Perhaps you should have appended "you insensitive clod!" to your post.

Re:Extremophiles (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607457)

Great Salt Lake is at a water activity of 0.75 at 30 percent salt solution and has life.

http://biology.fullerton.edu/biol302/envir.html [fullerton.edu]

It's still dependent on an ecosystem. If anything could possibly be alive there it would be eating leftovers. I pity the first people to go there because they'd NEW FOOD. ;)

Re:Extremophiles (5, Informative)

AySz88 (1151141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606509)

I took a course with Steve Squyres [wikipedia.org] (the principal investigator for the rover mission) in the fall semester. According to him, you can't look to Earth extremophiles as evidence that life can arise in these conditions. Extremophiles apparently all have adaptations such that, inside their cells, they can do their chemistry in 'normal' (non-acidic, non-salty, ...) conditions. If life were to arise in extreme conditions, they'd probably need totally different chemistry.

There's certainly a possibility of some exotic form of life arising in extreme (for us) conditions, but we shouldn't be expecting it to be possible, as there's no evidence that it can happen.

Re:Extremophiles (2, Interesting)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606805)

Exactly! When are we going to get rid of this narrow minded, human-mind driven beliefs that life has to look and act like what we know to consider it life? Just a few weeks ago scientist found another life form here on Earth living at more extremely high temperatures than ever before. Who knows what's out there...

The Red Planet (5, Funny)

StaticEngine (135635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23605973)

Salty. Red. Once covered in liquid.

It's clear to me that Mars was once a giant Bloody Mary for the gods. It's the only explanation that fits.

I love science!

Re:The Red Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606215)

A bloody Marsy?

Re:The Red Planet (-1, Offtopic)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606437)

Salty. Red. Once covered in liquid.
God, that reminds me of going down on my girlfriend 2 days ago. She didn't tell me she was on her period. After I finished, I was lucky to see my new red mustache in a nearby mirror.

Go halophiles! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23605983)

"... compared to recent findings which suggest that water on Mars may have been too salty for most known forms of life."

Sure, but don't count the halophiles out [wikipedia.org] . Happy in 2 Molar salt solutions? Wow.

Re:Go halophiles! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606189)

The supposed salinity of the water on Mars is much higher than any halophile could survive.

They already found life on Mars! But... (1)

mynickwastaken (690966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606103)

...now after they screwed up they try to hide it. Check out this leaked photo. Poor dude! [flickr.com]

Apologies to Mr. Bradbury... (2, Funny)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606141)

...if they'd landed a couple kilometres to the West, they'd've landed in the middle of the town square...

"Most known forms of life"? (3, Insightful)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606153)

Why are we constantly relying on Earth standards to predict what life on an other planet requires?
Ever head of something called evolution? We already found many speicies on Earth that live without any light, or without oxygen, or that lives in extremely dry areas or under extremely high water pressure....
So I don't see why one life form could not find a way to develop under very high concentration of salt, or without any water at all while we're at it.

Granted... I'm sure there's a lot of explanations for my nonsense. See, I graduated in Political Science this summer, so as any respectable politician, it's normal for me to say blatent things about science without knowing anything I talk about. ;-)

Re:"Most known forms of life"? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606411)

It isn't the degree that makes a politician. It's good that you understand that you didn't study any science though.

Re:"Most known forms of life"? (4, Funny)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606421)

Being a PolSci graduate does not make you a politician.

It makes you, very probably, a pothead, a great guy to converse with.... and a somewhat disturbing character since youre posting on slashdot.

Now "saying blatant things about science without knowing anything you talk about", THAT makes you a politician.

Re:"Most known forms of life"? (1, Redundant)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606613)

>> Why are we constantly relying on Earth standards to predict what life on an other planet requires?

Thinking about this question for all of one half of a second, I can only come up with the answer that Earth based life is the only type of life we have ever encountered.

Maybe, just maybe, this is why we use that metric.

Do we (meaning those who truely contemplate such things) know that this is a narrow window in which to frame our query? Yes. Contrary to your beliefs, this has occurred to people other than yourself.

Carry on.

Re:"Most known forms of life"? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607019)

Because there's no way to predict in advance what something that we have absolutely no experience with (life that is in no way like any form of life on Earth) would be like. As such, looking for radically different life is like looking for "anything" -- it's not very productive.

If NASA Wanted Ice . . . (4, Funny)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606167)

. . . I could have given them some.

Lets get our priorities straight! (-1, Flamebait)

mungmaster2000 (1180731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606201)

Enough of this Mars Lander NASA JPL stuff. Our collective efforts (by both governments and science) should instead be devoted entirely to worrying about keeping the lights and heat on [wikipedia.org] instead of this pointless intellectual drivel.
I mean, we need to make some leaps and bounds in terms of energy policy, transportation, and even materials engineering, and in *extremely* short order.
Otherwise, in a couple of billion years from now, some alien probe will be landing on earth, trying to figure out if there was every life over here!
But then again,it might be too late already. [lifeaftertheoilcrash.net] In which case, these little events serve as convenient distractions for the populace, benefiting only our present governments, so that we keep buying things like good consumers, as if nothing was wrong.

Re:Lets get our priorities straight! (4, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606333)

If attitudes like yours were more prevalent during the rest of human history we wouldn't have any of these problems... and we may never have gotten out of our caves... progress needs risk takers even if the risk is only that we are using resources to explore something rather than ensuring the security of what we already have... don't be such a luddite.

Re:Lets get our priorities straight! (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606343)

A lot of intelligent people believe that humanity + earth is a lost cause.

Re:Lets get our priorities straight! (4, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606413)

"A lot of *people pretending to be intelligent* believe that humanity + earth is a lot cause. "

        There, fixed that for you!

          Brett

Re:Lets get our priorities straight! (2, Interesting)

plantman-the-womb-st (776722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607381)

Hmm, I would assume that the parent to your reply was meaning that humanity staying on Earth alone is the lost cause.

http://www.space.com/news/060613_ap_hawking_space.html [space.com]

Yes, the man that article references is truly only "pretending" to be intelligent.

Try again.

Re:Lets get our priorities straight! (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606513)

A lot of intelligent people believe that humanity + earth is a lost cause.

Then they ought to off themselves now, or use their time machine to change history and save us all.

What's that, no time machine? Then they probably should shut their mouths and stop contributing to global warming.

Re:Lets get our priorities straight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606373)

Uh eventually resources are going to run out on Earth. The only way to prevent that from happening is for a large portion of the human race to die off and give the Earth a chance to replenish itself. Examples of this can be seen all over the place (take a college level biology course). If that happens then you can kiss your little comforts goodbye. If that doesn't happen, then the resources will dry up. The only other solution is to find resources somewhere else. It is a well known fact that in order for the human race to survive we will eventually have to expand .... where else is there to expand to?

Re:Lets get our priorities straight! (4, Informative)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606501)

instead of this pointless intellectual drivel.
..how stunningly short sited.

NASA is the catalyst behind much of the research and development in areas that might help solve this problem you are so worried about.

Fuel Cells [nasa.gov] , Solar Technology [alternativ...-news.info] , and a better understanding of the Sun [nasa.gov] and it's fission come to mind.

Planetary geology, atmospheric science, agriculture (thanks for the weather satellites and accurate maps of the Earth guys) gee I could go on.. all these things are directly beneficial to humanity and the quest of sustaining our existence on this planet.

I just can't fathom how anyone thinks planetary science and exploring space is pointless intellectual drivel. Wow.

Re:Lets get our priorities straight! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606565)

I just can't fathom how anyone thinks planetary science and exploring space is pointless intellectual drivel. Wow.

Welcome to America, 2008. The stupid people won. :(

Robot Martians.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606365)

Most native Martians seem to be robotic immigrants....

[paydotcom.com]

Granades! (2, Funny)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606393)

Why dont they put some granades on those robots so we can beat the shit out of those red-commie-martians?

Hell, I bet they are ay-rabs as well with all that sand arround and all.

Perhaps they have WMD's as well!

And also, if a big hit as the landing "uncovered" ice, well the granades could be of certain scientific use....

Might have found ice? (4, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606401)

Before the lander even took off, we all knew it might find ice. Now it's landed there's a press release saying it might have found ice. Is there any news content here? Maybe what's different is that previously we knew it might have found something that might be ice, but now it's definitely found something that might be ice. But previously we also knew it might have found something that was definitely ice. Might be definitely, definitely might be? Please, someone wake me when it's definitely definite.

Re:Might have found ice? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606629)

Wake up! It's definitely definite that maybe it's ice!

Re:Might have found ice? (0, Flamebait)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606769)

If definitely landed and it definitely found something that it can transmit data back to Earth of. Let's be clear, this isn't a scientific discovery. It is an engineering achievement, that the thing landed safely and works as designed. And engineering achievements are worthy of being reported on.

On the other hand, ALL news stories that insinuate a conclusion that is misleading are rubbish and /. should really seek for more objective titles for their stories they put on the front page.

Re:Might have found ice? (2, Insightful)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606825)

Maybe you shouldn't have read the article.

But definitely definite you shouldn't have posted...

Re:Might have found ice? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606859)

Please, someone wake me when it's definitely definite.

What are you, a Creationist? :)

Seriously -- Science Doesn't Work Like That, and deep down inside, you know it.

When I was a kid, there "might" have been water or CO2 in the polar caps. All we knew was what we could see from telescopes: the Martian poles had whitish stuff on them that got bigger and smaller over the course of the Martian year.

Science works by changing those "might"s into "probably"s and "almost certainly"s, but there's almost never a "definitely".

Before the lander even took off, we all knew it might find ice. Now it's landed there's a press release saying it might have found ice. Is there any news content here? Maybe what's different is that previously we knew it might have found something that might be ice, but now it's definitely found something that might be ice. But previously we also knew it might have found something that was definitely ice. Might be definitely, definitely might be?

Two weeks ago, there was almost certainly ice at the poles, and that it was almost certainly going be under wherever this lander ended up, and that some of it might be within digging range of the probe.

A few days from now, I'll bet you we'll know there'll definitely be ice on Mars.

But that won't be the news. The news will be "We know know something about what might be in the ice. We don't know how it formed, nor how old it is, but we can make some pretty good guesses."

We know so little of the Martian environment that when a new probe touches down, just about everything it sends back is "news" in the scientific sense. The time between breakthroughs can be measured in days and weeks, rather than years.

I'll grant your original point, namely that today's discovery is marginally newsworthy at best -- but the fact remains that if the probe were to stop functioning right now, we'd still know more about the Martian polar environment based on that one picture of the rocket-blast disturbed ground (if it's ice, we know its depth, and if it's rock, we know how much dust was covering it) than we did yesterday.

Too salty? (0, Offtopic)

mungmaster2000 (1180731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606499)

Sometimes the saltiness is not the problem. Some women just can't handle the texture.
It also tends to depend on how much red meat and asparagus you've been eating, too. Sometimes it's good to sweeten it up with some diet coke. (The caffeine is a good diuretic, the water dilutes it, and the water-soluble aspartame sweetens it up).
Your mom doesn't care for the saltiness though.

Re:Too salty? (-1, Troll)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606577)

Your mom doesn't seem to mind.

Re:Too salty? (-1, Offtopic)

mungmaster2000 (1180731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606689)

That was uncalled for.

Goetia@Home : Goetic ritual = phone call to Mars (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606567)

Mars has life, this we know, for the demons tell us so!

http://www.evocationmagic.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=9 [evocationmagic.com]

Once you evoke a demon from Mars, you'll see how trivial this life on Earth really is.

A simple Goetic ritual anyone may do:

http://www.evocationmagic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=182 [evocationmagic.com]


It's all a joke and make believe, you say, until you try it and prove it to yourself.

Evoke now, banish never.

The demons await your call...

Try it now.. think of it as a Goetia@Home, your mind being the distributed computing client.

Let your semen drop on the demon's sigil, his manifestation will occur.

I'll wait for Rosie Odonnel's opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606589)

Because if it is ice, this would be the first time in history that fire has melted ice. Let's get a physicist in to verify prove this.

creators deploy rescue initiative, isn't that nice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23606703)

conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is WINDing DOWn now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.google.com/?ncl=1216734813&hl=en&topic=n
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Disturbed by the landing? (4, Interesting)

bchernicoff (788760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606739)

The camera has already seen what may be ice, which was exposed when the soil was disturbed by the landing.

I have been wondering about this. I'm sure NASA would have taken into consideration that the retro rockets firing as it landed might melt ice and/or destroy signs of life. Right?

Re:Disturbed by the landing? (5, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606775)

Yes. The chances of destroying life that can withstand extremely high radiation levels, a virtual vacuum, and living in frozen C02 is unlikely to be bothered by a little bit of ammonia steam for a few seconds. Additionally the design intentionally spreads the plume over a wide area to lower the local heating, pressure, or contamination effects. Melting ice isn't likely given the small heat input and short duration, but it's not clear that melting a little bit of ice for a few seconds before it refreezes actually hurts anything much.

              Brett

Re:Disturbed by the landing? (2, Interesting)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607391)

But shouldn't the sample still be collected from a different spot? I don't think we're worried about hurting the Martian ecosystem here or anything, we just want accurate samples.

Re:Disturbed by the landing? (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607477)

The camera has already seen what may be ice, which was exposed when the soil was disturbed by the landing.

I have been wondering about this. I'm sure NASA would have taken into consideration that the retro rockets firing as it landed might melt ice and/or destroy signs of life. Right?

Yes. The retrorockets are designed to produce minimal contamination and/or disturbance. (And they shut off a couple of meters above the ground to further reduce the effects.) The arm is designed to dig down well below the expected penetration level of any contamination or disturbance.

no drilling in alaska, maybe mars? (0, Redundant)

gbh1935 (987266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23606919)

Hmmm, I thought they were going there to find a new source of oil.

Baby Pictures (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607551)

I know this is important to geek news and all, but Slashdot is treating the Phoenix like their firstborn.

"Phoenix started walking today!"

"Phoenix said his first word today!"

"Phoenix poopied like a big boy today!"

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>