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Phoenix Lander Discovers Nighttime Snowfall On Mars

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the time-to-build-a-martian-snowman dept.

Mars 48

Many outlets are reporting on the recently released results of the various experiments and observations of NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander. Most notable is the discovery of nighttime snowfall on the planet, lending credibility to the idea of a hypothesized active water cycle based on earlier data collection. "The papers rely on evidence from a variety of the instruments on the lander, and the description of the data provides an impressive catalog of the various ways that Phoenix could prod and query the Martian pole. In the months before Martian winter shut the lander down, it managed to dig a dozen trenches, taking soil samples from each. These samples went into wet and dry chemistry labs, had their conductivity tested, and were even examined using an atomic force microscope. Meanwhile, cameras and a LIDAR system (a laser-based range detector) scanned the surroundings. The overall conclusion is that the northern pole has an active water cycle. This had been suggested by a variety of evidence from orbital sensors, as well early images returned from Phoenix. It's also not a huge shock, given the seasonal growth and retreat of the polar ice cap. Still, Phoenix provided some significant details on the cycling of water in the area where it landed."

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BUT, consider: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28573617)

1. No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Nigger, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, and assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of his sleigh, jump down the chimneys, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course we know to be false but for the purpose of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (refer to point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal load, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of Queen Elizabeth.

5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per SECOND, EACH! In short, they will burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create a deafening sonic boom in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal* forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead by now. And he'd be a faggot.

======================
*Please note that centrifugal is a made-up non existent word. The real word should be centripetal. Centrifugal is a made up force that physics people HATE! So please, everyone use the world centripetal, not centrifugal. Thanks!

Re:BUT, consider: (0)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573655)

For once, "Frosty Piss" might have been more on-topic.

Re:BUT, consider: (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575169)

Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of Queen Elizabeth.

Your post is ridiculous. There's no way that Queen Elizabeth weighs over 88,000 tons. I doubt she'd even weigh 88 kilograms.

Should have reprogrammed the lander (4, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573619)

to build a snowmartian.

Re:Should have reprogrammed the lander (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574473)

I wish the lander a Merry Christmars and happy new 1.88 Julian years.

Re:Should have reprogrammed the lander (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574983)

Oh, no. Now I have to do all those things I said I'd do when hell froze over.

Awesome (1)

Bling316 (1372795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573653)

So they can now predict with greater certainty the weather on Mars than they can on Earth. I love this place.

Re:Awesome (5, Funny)

Polarina (1389203) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573817)

Mars has only two kinds of weather; snow and sandstorms. I can only guess that that it increases the reliability of weather forecasts significantly.

Re:Awesome (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574361)

Never 'calm'?

Sounds horrible.

Hopefully it is not... (4, Funny)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573659)

Yellow snow..

Re:Hopefully it is not... (2, Funny)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573917)

Not just yellow...we don't know what color martian pee is.

Re:Hopefully it is not... (1)

haifastudent (1267488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574521)

Not just yellow...we don't know what color martian pee is.

It's red, all red.Just like everything else on Mars.

Re:Hopefully it is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575187)

I would guess that because Mars is pretty dry, the martians would wear moisture conserving clothing, like the stilsuits of Dune. Urine and faeces are processed in the thigh pads.

Re:Hopefully it is not... (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577029)

Awww.. you just had to go and spoil the perfect joke with your explanation, aye?

Re:Hopefully it is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28577289)

So that means NASA has to pay roaming fees 'cause the iMarsRover is simlocked to AT&T?

Watch out where the huskies go, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28578505)

... and don't you eat that yellow snow!

Truth is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28573681)

Slashdot has gone to shit lately.

Re:Truth is (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573813)

you must be new here.

Re:Truth is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28573897)

You are part of the problem.

Re:Truth is (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574433)

nuh uh! you!

Re:Truth is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575793)

You are the cancer that is killing Slashdot.

Blue $ky (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28573769)

Here's my proposal:

1) Build water plant on mars
2) Wait until the earth's drinkable water supply runs out
3) Sell martian water to the middle east at $4.00 a gallon
4) ???
5) Profit!

Now all we need to do is find a way to create some domes up there.

Re:Blue $ky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28573955)

Here's my proposal:

1) Build water plant on mars
2) Wait until the earth's drinkable water supply runs out
3) Sell martian water to the middle east at $4.00 a gallon
4) ???
5) Profit!

Now all we need to do is find a way to create some domes up there.

Ya, but if we put domes up there, the environmentalists in California will NEVER re-elect Quaid as Governor...

Re:Blue $ky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574155)

Domes are easy... we build Igloos! Now we just send up a rover built by an Eskimo...

Re:Blue $ky (3, Funny)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573993)

Now all we need to do is find a way to create some domes up there.

Could probably just outsource that work to the Martians. I heard they work for Reece's Pieces.

Re:Blue $ky (3, Funny)

Radtastic (671622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574079)

You need to rethink your marketing strategy. Bottled water in the US costs well over $4.00 per gallon when you buy 16oz or 20oz bottles individually.

Re:Blue $ky (2, Funny)

Radtastic (671622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574097)

ok. Correction. Your marketing strategy is sound, it's the pricing strategy that can be improved :)

Re:Blue $ky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574383)

ok. Correction. Your marketing strategy is sound, it's the pricing strategy that can be improved :)

Just FYI, pricing is one of the 4 Ps of Marketing [ezinearticles.com] . So you were correct the first time as there is far more to Marketing then just sales and advertising.

IMO many Marketing departments and their companies need to learn that too. Would make things easier all the way around.

Re:Blue $ky (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574409)

You left off poisoning the Great Lakes.

And changing the laws of physics to make desalinization impossible.

Re:Blue $ky (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575017)

There isn't an efficient method for desalinization yet, and the great lakes are disgusting last time I checked.

Amazing! Write a post about how women love me.

Re:Blue $ky (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28579351)

My home town pulls water of Lake Michigan and treats it for drinking water. Best municipal water I have had.

Lakes Superior and Heron are at least as clean.

Re:Blue $ky (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577215)

You're too slow.
Here's how it really works:

1) Build water plant on mars
2) Ship Martian water to Hollywood / Bollywood / New York idiot joint of your choice.
3) Get some Paris Hilton / Brad Pitt / Hollywood dingbat to say "it's REALLY REFRESHING! AND TASTY, TOO!"
4) ??? NO! Label it with a fancy "new-age" logo.
5) Profit!
Now all we need to do is find a way to create some dummies up there. We have billions here.

Blame Hollywood (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573815)

You know, when you have to squander the solace of a remote filming location to make your box office smash [wikipedia.org] , the least you can do is clean up after yourself. Hollywood, can you please clean up all that fake snow you left on Mars?

Increases the chances of a water cycle? (4, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573907)

Unless some of my very basic assumptions are wrong, this sort of cements the "active water cycle", doesn't it? I'm fairly certain that the Martian atmosphere won't tolerate something like methane snow, so what's left?

Re:Increases the chances of a water cycle? (1)

haifastudent (1267488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574571)

Unless some of my very basic assumptions are wrong, this sort of cements the "active water cycle", doesn't it? I'm fairly certain that the Martian atmosphere won't tolerate something like methane snow, so what's left?

What assumptions are those? Did you take into account the 1.0 kPa atmospheric pressure on Mars, or the â'46 ÂC mean surface temperature?

Re:Increases the chances of a water cycle? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575555)

Unless some of my very basic assumptions are wrong, this sort of cements the "active water cycle", doesn't it? I'm fairly certain that the Martian atmosphere won't tolerate something like methane snow, so what's left?

Well its a simple water cycle. It sublimates and then it solidifies. There is no direct evidence of a liquid phase yet. That would have to be underground.

US Government Officials will still deny.... (1)

lamapper (1343009) | more than 5 years ago | (#28573985)

I loved it when officials in the US government stated as fact that there was no water on Mars years ago. So will they still deny the facts? Probably.

I would love to hear from those officials that denied water was present/possible on Mars in the past; for them to admit they were wrong! If not the individuals, at least the official governmental organizations that they represent.

Maybe next time they will answer, We do not know but will keep an open mind and find out! or not.

Re:US Government Officials will still deny.... (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574253)

They may refuse to listen, but I pray that one day their hearts will open to the gastronomic glory of Our Noodly Creator, who maketh the snow to fall on Mars like the Parmesan of Redemption on the Holy Meatball.

Re:US Government Officials will still deny.... (0)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574453)

They may refuse to listen, but I pray that one day their hearts will open to the gastronomic glory of Our Noodly Creator, who maketh the snow to fall on Mars like the Parmesan of Redemption on the Holy Meatball.

Aw man... I skipped lunch and now you reminded me how hungry I am.... mmm... meatballs...

Re:US Government Officials will still deny.... (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577247)

you reminded me how hungry I am.... mmm... meatballs...

mmm.. noodly TENTACLES!
--

Re:US Government Officials will still deny.... (1)

benchbri (764527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576443)

Source for the US denying water on mars? You can detect water on mars with a telescope in your back yard, if you can see the northern hemisphere of mars. The entire northern ice cap (or most of it anyway) is water ice. Southern ice cap not so much, but the north has tons of water. We knew about this before Mariner. How to tell whether that white spot on the surface of mars is water ice or not is left as an exercise to the reader.

Today is July 4 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574037)

Smash U.S. imperialism with cookies and milj!

Canadians find snow on Mars - no surprise (2, Informative)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28574139)

FTFA:

But the really amazing data came from the LIDAR instrument, which was able to track the formation of the clouds at the atmosphere's boundary layer. Cloud formation became more pronounced as the summer gradually faded and the atmosphere cooled at night, and the scientists were eventually able to detect cirrus-like clouds as they dropped "tilted vertical sheets" of ice particles back to the surface of the planet. In short, they watched it snow.

Leave it to us Canadians, we go to Mars to talk about the weather [asc-csa.gc.ca] and manage to find snow.

Oh, and this is also old news [asc-csa.gc.ca] , although it may be "new news" because today's article talks about *nighttime* snowfall and not just plain old "snowfall".

Re:Canadians find snow on Mars - no surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574331)

Strange. Usually Canadians will only travel that far to find warm sandy beaches.

I, for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574265)

I, for one, welcome our new Martian yeti overlords.

How cool is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28574811)

Well? How cool is it? :p

I for one welcome our new snow overlords (2, Funny)

SpoodyGoon (1574025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575175)

I for one welcome our new snow overlords, of which no two are exactly alike.

Oblig. SamSam (1)

durin (72931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28591447)

Phoenix Lander Discoverth Green Thnowfall On Marth

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