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Mars Lander Sees Falling Snow

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-a-bad-signal dept.

Mars 118

Riding with Robots writes "NASA reports that the Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds. According to the Canadian team running a weather experiment, a laser instrument designed to study how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars has detected snow from clouds about 4 kilometers above the landing site. Data shows the snow vaporizing before reaching the surface, but one of the mission scientists said, 'We'll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground.' Spacecraft soil experiments have also provided evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water."

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Robot Santa has moved shop! (2, Funny)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197755)

Screw Neptune! Mars has way better perks!

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198101)

I'm dreaming of a Red Christmas!

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198467)

Let me guess... You live in a crowded city and you want a BFG9000.

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199195)

I'm afraid that is no it, Comrade.

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (4, Funny)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198517)

In Soviet Russia...we have Red Christmas!

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199809)

Red Christmas have you? I'm ashamed I'm even posting this, so I'm hiding

tee hee

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198165)

Can someone please hack into him and fix his naughty list? We have less than three months left...

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198221)

Wow ... that's some serious outsourcing

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198815)

That's not snow! It's falling Ash! Run little lander, ruuuuun!

Re:Robot Santa has moved shop! (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199165)

That's not snow! It's falling Ash! Run little lander, ruuuuun!

I think we'll be safe, as long as he's not falling chainsaw side down.

If there is water... (4, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197779)

Mars is essentially in the same orbit... Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.
        Dan Quayle, 8/11/89 [quotationspage.com]

Turns out Dan was right ;)

Re:If there is water... (3, Interesting)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197807)

Now all we need is to get enough nuclear fissible material into the core of mars to start back up its protective magnetic field to keep any atmosphere we might create there from being stripped away.

Re:If there is water... (4, Informative)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197913)

Mars having 1/3 the gravity has more to do with its thin atmosphere than any lack of magnetic field. Having no magnetic field would remove protection from solar wind and radiation, making it unable to support life as we know it, but wouldn't actually affect how thick an atmosphere the planet could retain.

Mars has a magnetic field, btw. It's Venus that doesn't.

Re:If there is water... (4, Informative)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197975)

bleh... that'll teach me to post when awake... Mars has no magnetic field, Venus has a very very weak one.

Re:If there is water... (4, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198121)

"If you believe everything you read, you'd better not read. - Japanese proverb"

No problem, your sig excuses you.

Re:If there is water... (1, Interesting)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199891)

"bleh... that'll teach me to post when awake..."

As opposed to what, posting when asleep? I don't know that that would turn out much better... ;)

Re:If there is water... (3, Informative)

Nixoloco (675549) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198753)


Without a strong magnetic field, the solar wind will strip away the atmosphere over time. Lighter elements especially, will be stripped away rapidly.

NASA [nasa.gov] seems to think that over 1/3 of Mars atmosphere was stripped away by solar winds over the years.

Also, Venus [swissinfo.org] is experiencing the same.

Re:If there is water... (0)

opusman (33143) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198967)

Mars having 1/3 the gravity has more to do with its thin atmosphere than any lack of magnetic field.

Actually I thought that would have more to do with the mass of the planet than anything else.

Re:If there is water... (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199451)

Then let's bring lots of iron to Mars and increase gravity... or use a graviton gun.

How much power? (1)

jriskin (132491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199929)

So how much power would be required to generate a field large enough to protect mars?

Re:How much power? (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 5 years ago | (#25202481)

Hey, all we need is a second LHC in the Mars core and the black holes will do the rest, right? Right?

Re:If there is water... (-1)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201371)

Mars having 1/3 the gravity has more to do with its thin atmosphere than any lack of magnetic field.

Silly me thought the lower gravity had something to do with Mars having less mass than the Earth... But the thin atmosphere theory works too...

Re:If there is water... (0)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201903)

Mars having 1/3 the gravity has more to do with its thin atmosphere than any lack of magnetic field.

You aren't trying to tell me that atmosphere increases gravitational forces, are you?

Re:If there is water... (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197939)

Haven't you ever watched Superman 4? We just dump all our excess nukes down a crater. Should be enough to get it started.

Re:If there is water... (1)

funaho (42567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198231)

We should use some of those nucular materials. They're much more powerful I hear. :)

Re:If there is water... (1)

DeusExMach (1319255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198773)

Do you think "Ze Governor of Cally-Fonia" would be interested in undertaking such a mission?

"Get your ass to Mahz."

Re:If there is water... IRONIC ftw! (2, Interesting)

Markvs (17298) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197851)

If we ever needed an "Ironic" choice for moderation purposes, this post is it!

Re:If there is water... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25197877)

Let's send dan quayle to find out.

One-way.

Re:If there is water... (0, Offtopic)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197897)

How I miss the days when it was the Vice President that was the complete moron.

Re:If there is water... (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197973)

And I can see Alaska from my house

Re:If there is water... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198603)

This year you get two for the price of one!

Who said there aren't any bargains in politics?

You know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199843)

the fact that you got modded down, says a lot about the moderation system. It simply means that even stupid people or neo-cons (one and the same?) can get mod points here.

Re:If there is water... (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198031)

Water, soil, sunlight...does that mean we can grow potatos?

Re:If there is water... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198053)

E?

Re:If there is water... (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199031)

Google "Dan Qualye potatoe"

Re:If there is water... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199587)

Speaking of people that can't spell. I think you meant "Quayle". Also, it would help if you didn't spread rumors about someone without doing some research. The flash cards given to the VP had potato spelled with an E. Instead of using his own judgment, he went with the spelling that the school provided. That was the only mistake he made. He was a man of average intelligence and most certainly able to spell. Of course, that doesn't get simple minded people foaming at the mouth so bullshit stories like this spread on and on...

Re:If there is water... (-1, Flamebait)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199639)

He was an idiot. "Only mistake he made" - yeah right. He provided so many stupid quotes comedians could still tell new ones now and get mileage out of them. I lived through his vice presidency, so I don't need the "potatoe" story to tell me the man is a moron. I saw it with my own two eyes when he was around. And sorry, but if you know something to be true, and are such are too scared or are too stupid to trust yourself, then that IS a mistake, and a large one. So wipe the foam from Your mouth, coward. You can rewrite history in your own head, but don't try to rewrite it in mine.

Re:If there is water... (4, Funny)

isomeme (177414) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201359)

Yep, which means Mars supports vodka production, the key element in colonizing a cold, dark, windswept wasteland.

Re:If there is water... (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25202117)

No, but perhaps asparagus [abc.net.au]

Re:If there is water... (1)

Phyrexicaid (1176935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201807)

The way things are going it sounds like Mars will have a better atmosphere than here.

the excitement about finding water on mars (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197783)

should subside by now, and we should all be sobered by the fact that yes, there's water on mars, but only in the same way that yes, there's gold on earth: its rare and fleeting

Re:the excitement about finding water on mars (3, Interesting)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198629)

but maybe there is just enough in some places that it can support life...which would mean that there is life on 2 planets in our solar system...which means that it almost certainly exists somewhere else in the galaxy too, which is kinda exciting to me.

Re:the excitement about finding water on mars (1)

intothemiddle (1142025) | more than 5 years ago | (#25203043)

Being able to support life, and having life present are two totally different things.

White Christmas? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25197797)

OK, so any chance of a white Christmas on Mars?

Re:White Christmas? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199019)

Yes. Kim Stanley Robinson is writing it now.

SELL! SELL! SELL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25197811)

The Republican Party has blocked the financial system bailout needed to avoid a freeze of credit that will take out American busnesses in a way not seens since the Great Depression.

Republicans are disloyal to their country and will let it slide in to a massive recession.

SELL! SELL! SELL!

Re:SELL! SELL! SELL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198141)

Maybe they don't value wealth more than liberty.

Re:SELL! SELL! SELL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198175)

Probably not...

These are the same people that feel inclined to imprison thousands for victimless crimes like smoking marijuana in your own home.

I find it hard to believe that these people value liberty.

Re:SELL! SELL! SELL! (0, Offtopic)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198631)

I think AC has lost his mind. Not only are his posts completely off topic, but he's arguing with himself!

Re:SELL! SELL! SELL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25202773)

thousands for victimless crimes like smoking marijuana in your own home
Shit! If thousands of people invaded my home and started smoking dope then I'll get upset, especially around munchie time.

Re:SELL! SELL! SELL! (-1, Offtopic)

alta (1263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198161)

The democratic party has set up a system where people completely uncapable of paying for a mortgage were allowed to buy houses. So much for the "Everybody deserves a house" mantra. They should have tried "Everybody who can afford one, deserves a house. Now we're all stuck with the pile of shit they handed us, and the Republicans are not going to let the Dems get off scott free, plus get their golden parachutes.

Please forgive spelling and grammar errors. Right now, I don't give a damn.

Re:SELL! SELL! SELL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198687)

Heh. Blaming the Democratic party for the results of Republican de-regulation... That's rich.

Canadians? Snow? Mars? (4, Funny)

Toshito (452851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197821)

Is it April 1st again?

Re:Canadians? Snow? Mars? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198195)

No. Here is photographic proof [ncku.edu.tw] of water on mars.

Re:Canadians? Snow? Mars? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199941)

Proof, nothing! That could be any clear liquid!

Canadian Funding rounds (5, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197839)

Canadian Scientist: We'd like some money to look for Snow on Mars
Canadian Funding: Errr we have lots of Snow already

CS: Ahh but if we find snow on Mars then we can ski-doo on Mars
CF: Errr we can ski-doo here

CS: Well yes but if we find the snow first we'll get first tracks which means the Yanks will have to let us go on the manned mission
CF: Sweeeeet

Yes folks, its all about finding freshies and there is no lengths to which Canadians will not go in the search for fresh powder.

Re:Canadian Funding rounds (1)

jmikelittle (1246304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197899)

Isn't there a sweet poetic justice to Canadians finding snow first? And hey, if the snow actually isn't on the ground, we're talking a pretty good improvement over earth. As everyone knows Canada's been covered in snow since the second week of Sept. We don't get a whole lot of days above 32 degrees.

Re:Canadian Funding rounds (1, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198163)

there is snow outside? Man i got to get out mo.... waaaait *looks out window* there no snow. Theres not even snow up in frigging lakehead. And thats in moose land.

Re:Canadian Funding rounds (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199061)

Checking webcams... there's not even snow in Whitehorse yet. That guy must be a tourist. Don't tell him about the corners where it doesn't even snow most years.

Re:Canadian Funding rounds (1)

jmikelittle (1246304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200585)

First snowfall two years ago in Waterloo was less than two weeks from now (12th of October I believe) Yeah it was a joke but "We don't get a whole lot of days above 32 degrees." should have pointed that out.

Re:Canadian Funding rounds (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201281)

global warming will take care of that harhar. Seriously i was in waterloo 2days ago and it was tshirt weather.... canadian tshirt weather mind you (we canadians believe it is summer all the time and will wear tshirts as long or longer than people in southern states in an attempt to make summer last longer)

Re:Canadian Funding rounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25197969)

Yes folks, its all about finding freshies and there is no lengths to which Canadians will not go in the search for fresh powder.

Yet another reason why Canada is also called Hollywood North.

Re:Canadian Funding rounds (2, Funny)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198331)

Alternative ending.

CS: Well yes but just think about how fun sledding would be with 1/3 gravity!
CF: Sweeeeet

Re:Canadian Funding rounds (3, Interesting)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199011)

With 26km of vertical [wikipedia.org] , I'm bringing my skis.

Cue the colonists (2, Funny)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197853)

Global warming putting a damper on your ski vacations in the Alps or Rockies? Not a problem!

Re:Cue the colonists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198337)

"A new life awaits you in the Off-World Colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. Lets go to the Colonies!"

Better than staying and getting killed by genetically-engineered, homicidal, slave-humans.

Martian Lander Snow Angels next? (4, Funny)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197875)

Surely someone at NASA has thought about making the first extra-terrestrial 'snow angel' with one of their landers? You know, for Kids...
(Too bad the Hubble will not be able to take a picture of it though... http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/29/1846238 [slashdot.org] )

Re:Martian Lander Snow Angels next? (3, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198099)

I really wish NASA thought more like this. I'm not literally talking about snow angels, but simply trying to make science more accessible to the public. Hell, some probes don't even have true-color cameras. Don't sacrifice the science, but go for some flash as well.

Re:Martian Lander Snow Angels next? (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198309)

Flash is for portrait and close subject photography. The probe cameras are all taking landscape shots. Hmmm... well maybe some of the close up cameras on the rovers (the ones that take pictures of the rock abrasion tool scrapings) have lights, but they're probably not flash but LED.

Re:Martian Lander Snow Angels next? (2, Funny)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198395)

*blink*

Ok, how about panache then?

Re:Martian Lander Snow Angels next? (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199327)

*blink*

Ok, how about panache then?

Is that what the "P" setting on my digital camera is for?

It's called "Pan Ice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25203085)

Doofus. ;-)

Re:Martian Lander Snow Angels next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198889)

I really wish NASA thought more like this.

You're kidding right? With this /. crew? If they tried we'd lynch them for wasting taxpayer $ on a pointless exercise. Oh, well, except if like Obama thought of it then it would be brilliant and insightful. But other than that you might as well suggest the rovers draw an Exxon logo with their tire tracks. Talk about the ultimate troll though...

Re:Martian Lander Snow Angels next? (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199427)

I agree. Also, I'd add that space exploration is called space exploration for a reason. It's not space science. We're out there to explore. The science malarky is a cover.

There is a problem with your browser? (0, Offtopic)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197933)

There's a problem with your browser.

This site offers visitors an exciting, engaging interactive experience that takes advantage of the capabilities available through the most commonly used Web browsers. If you're seeing this message, you may be using a web browser that has since been updated and may want to consider obtaining the latest version.

No, NASA, there is a problem with your browser check. Try looking at the "gecko" version instead of trying to guess at the many names a gecko based browser may have. I'm sure you have similar problems with webkit browsers as well.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow ... (1)

uss (1151577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25197985)

eom

Neat, virga on Mars. (5, Interesting)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198007)

Rain or snow, like virga, on Mars may not be consisting of water only. Here is the Wikipedia entry on virga:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virga [wikipedia.org]

Also Universities Space Research Association has some information on virga:
http://epod.usra.edu/archive/epodviewer.php3?oid=47776 [usra.edu]
They have a excellent NOAA photo of virga.

Re:Neat, virga on Mars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199995)

Cheap wholesale price. Get Mars Virga and make her come every night.

That's how you know... (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198059)

...it's just a dream.

They're at the Poles. Winter is coming. (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198103)

They're at the Poles. Winter is coming. It does snow there, they will see more. There will eventually be CO2 condensation as well, but IIRC that's after the Lander goes to sleep.

If this is real, I'll be fascinated (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198271)

I caught my breath when I heard it. Then I realized that people like to post sensationalist headlines. If it turns out to be real, I want Martian snow as my screen saver.

Re:If this is real, I'll be fascinated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198407)

If it turns out to be real, I want Martian snow as my screen saver.

There's plenty of snow on Mars. Here's a nice picture. [xpda.com]

Re:If this is real, I'll be fascinated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25201557)

Cue the ebay stores selling "genuine martian ice cubes" !!!

Go Dal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198277)

If I'm not mistaken, Dr. Tom Duck of Dalhousie University, who is a member of the Phoenix weather station team, has an account on slashdot. If he's reading this: congratulations!

And for the oblig. reference to Cdn. stereotypes: it's aboot time an important discovery was made on Mars. Time to party with poutine and beer!

Why do all the Mars pictures look so bad? (1)

atkinc00 (1369771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198341)

Perhaps I'm not looking in the right place but all the video and photos I've ever seen look worse than my camera phone. Why? I've yet to see any that are awe inspiring. If you've found some please post for me...

Re:Why do all the Mars pictures look so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199131)

A few stock reasons:
1. Scientists are just interested in real-colour human friendly pictures
2. Bandwidth for hi-res pics
3. The power it takes to process and upload the pics

Re:Why do all the Mars pictures look so bad? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25199225)

I really need to register, AC here again. There is a 'not' missing in immediate parent, you can figure out where.
AC is so cool. Some would say artificially dry ;-)

Strange brew that's also good for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198437)

That would be Kombucha. Wonder how much a liter of Martian water would be going for?

If we could only just get it to snow in Hell ... (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198607)

... then the financial crisis would be solved. Or, at least that was what some Talking Head said on TV. The financial crisis will be over when it snows in Hell.

Why didn't the damn bastard say "snows on Mars" instead, it could have saved $700 billion!

Re:If we could only just get it to snow in Hell .. (1)

DeusExMach (1319255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198849)

The irony of it is, Hell's been frozen over this whole time...

Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198615)

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling too

C'mon, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you

Lets just start terraforming the damn thing! (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198721)

Seriously, can we just start terraforming the damn thing already? Who cares if there is water there, lets just start sending over plants in protected spacecraft with their own water supply and see how they do with some exposure to the atmosphere. Hell, algae would probably do the trick better than plants. Or we could make some machines to do the conversion, if we even know how to do that. I'm sick of all this "oooh, it's not completely dead yet!" research, we should just start rebuilding the damn thing!

(i realize this is short sighted - i'm mostly just ranting - but in truth, i would love it if we actually did just do this, even though it would contaminate the planet and we'd never know its true past)

-Taylor

Really? (0)

NoProblem (35563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198745)

If you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.

If you ask a Canadian everything looks like snow.

H2O Snow? (2, Insightful)

kmarshallbanana (1192023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198759)

Do they know for sure that the snow is H20 snow. Or could it be snow made of something else?

Re:H2O Snow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25202333)

According to Phoenix's almighty Twitter voice, it is indeed H2O snow.

http://twitter.com/MarsPhoenix

"Dropo, you are the laziest man on Mars!" (4, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199551)

This would be the perfect time for Santa Claus to conquer the Martians.

Re:"Dropo, you are the laziest man on Mars!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200649)

Hello? Flying Sled? Blinking red light? Backed by "elves"? Collusion with Coke-Cola Inc? Santa IS a Martian.

h2wha? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200525)

this dihydrogen-oxide will destroy the ozone layer

You bet (1)

garphik (996984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25202101)

Thats because of global warming ...

Vaporizing or Sublimating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25203131)

Is it transitioning solid -> liquid -> gas or going straight from solid -> gas? That would imply different things about the conditions in the atmosphere.

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