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!

Mars Orbiter Finds Buried Dry Ice Lake

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the hip-cocktails-all-around dept.

Mars 96

RedEaredSlider writes "NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found a giant buried deposit of dry ice, which could be evidence that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere and was able to have more water on its surface. The orbiter's ground-penetrating radar found the dry ice, which is frozen carbon dioxide, near the planet's south pole. The scientists think that when Mars' axial tilt increases, the carbon dioxide turns into a gas, thickening the atmosphere. The result would be more intense dust storms, but also a wider range of areas where liquid water could exist."

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

Regarding the atmosphere.. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35902578)

Mars isn't protected by a strong magnetic field like Earth is.. meaning the atmosphere is frequently subjected to solar winds and radiation.. meaning any thickening of the atmosphere is not likely to remain constant for any meaningful time period.

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (4, Interesting)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902812)

Doesn't that also mean that solar radiation is a cheap and abundant source of power? Is there the possibility of a surface-based Dyson-Harrop type system?

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906090)

Nope. It means that solar power is about 4 times lower at the surface of Mars than on the Earth, but at the same time about 100 times deadlier.

The best of both worlds, you see!

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903056)

How long is a "meaningful time period?" It'd probably be good for a few million years.

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903608)

It's not like that dry ice will melt overnight.

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906230)

Unless you "Start the reactor!!!"

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (5, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903100)

In the early days, the Martian core would not yet have solidified. Thus, the magnetic field would have been substantially stronger. The fact that it's still semi-liquid today (as evidenced by the fact that there's any magnetic field now at all) is the remarkable part of the story. 3-4 billion years ago, the Martian magnetic field would likely have been far more intense than Earth's is today. Hell, Earth's magnetic field a paltry 220 million years ago was 33% stronger than present by some estimates, and Earth's core is heated by thermonuclear activity. The Martian core likely isn't to any meaningful degree.

Back when briney oceans formed the Martian surface (we already know that part), Mars would have been a bad place for floppy disks.

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903544)

Yes, that's all fairly true. What exactly is your point, again?

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903822)

>Earth's core is heated by thermonuclear activity

No, it's radioactive decay.

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904532)

I remember a magazine article years ago talking about the earth having a nuclear reactor at the core. Wikipedia has an article on the idea of a Georeactor [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (1)

Tycho (11893) | more than 3 years ago | (#35910324)

Much like another certain individual with the surname Dyson who is a also physicist, Herndon should stick to physics and take the word of reputable scientists when trespassing in a field they have little familiarity and seem to be uninterested in studying more, much less attempt to understand. Should either individual attempt this they would lose their current status as cranks, which would be advantageous for everyone.

On the other hand, the natural nuclear reactor in Oklo, Gabon is something that did happen:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor [wikipedia.org]

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35908726)

Way to go. Up also happens to coorespond to the gradient to the gravitational potential. You get a gold star.

Re:Regarding the atmosphere.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903814)

"No atmosphere and no magnetic field make Mars something, something"

Dry ice (1)

presspass (1770650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902642)

And what is dry ice made from? Yup, CO2.

Martian Global Warming did them in!

Re:Dry ice (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902820)

Actually, if you want to go for the +1 funny anticipation of the global warming troll, The argument should probably be that this is an example of What Carbon Sequestration Will Do... At the prodding of Al(ien) Gore and his envirofascist minions, the Martians turned their formerly habitable planet into a desert wasteland through reckless carbon sequestration spurred by the 'global warming' conspiracy...

How about option 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35902832)

Maybe we export all our factories to Mars.

That'll solve everything.

Re:Dry ice (1)

presspass (1770650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903040)

No, I've ran this through my Arduino powered computer models. The CO2 freezes out of the atmosphere after the warming part is over, just before the LEDs blink in rapid succession.

Re:Dry ice (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904684)

The scary thing is that this is hard to distinguish from the real deal... You have to mix in something about solar activity, though.

Wowza (2)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902648)

The deposit is about 3,000 cubic miles, or about the volume of Lake Superior

Now thats a lot of CO2. Now the question is, what can we do with it? Are there any simple ways to turn it onto C and O2? I'm thinking graphite or carbor bricks/powder for radiation shielding, and O2 for breathing.

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35902680)

How about you let the adults do the thinking around here?

Re:Wowza (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902720)

Well I was thinking sharks and laser beams, but OK, have it your way.

Re:Wowza (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902836)

Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Re:Wowza (2)

rk (6314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902902)

I think so, Brain, but this time you wear the tutu.

Re:Wowza (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902748)

I think a couple of thermonuclear warheads might break the ice a little. It might even raise the atmospheric pressure by a considerable amount, and thus raise the temperature. As for the fallout? Meh, it might not be that bad depending on the decay rate and how efficient the bombs are.

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903224)

EXACTLY. Personally, I think that we need to also find an ammonia based asteroid and crash it into the martian surface. Windbourne (moderating)

Re:Wowza (3, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903298)

See, this is why the human race is doomed. Every time we discover something new, the first thing we want to do is nuke it...

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903356)

Well they considered nuking the surface of mars long before this. However if the CO2 gases were released and not stripped away quickly warming effects could happen on the planet and who knows it may effect the core(doubt-ably).

I still think if you threw a nuke at an ice lake of that size it would be like the firecracker in hand analogy played out by most horrible asteroid disaster movies. Yes you would get a big crater but it is the size of one of the great lakes. So mining some way into said lake then placing the bomb and running quickly or doing it by drone would be best.

Re:Wowza (0)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903394)

the first thing we want to do is nuke it

Because it's the only way to be sure, as long as it's done from orbit...

Re:Wowza (1, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903846)

See, this is why the human race is doomed

No, this is why the human race is FUCKING AWESOME!!!!

Re:Wowza (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906500)

No this is why we are not doomed and are human. We are tool users and makers. Convert CO2 back into gas? Increase the green house effect and warm mars? If Mars is lifeless the Yea go for it.
I would probably not use nukes but if we could hit it with a comet that could also add a good bit of water and release it into the atmosphere.
Yes even a thermonuclear warhead can be a tool for creation.

Re:Wowza (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35912760)

Because we learned science from MythBusters.

Re:Wowza (1)

Jarnin (925269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903650)

Or you could just land a fission reactor on the surface and let it go into meltdown. Not as fun to watch, but you wouldn't be able to see much anyway.

Re:Wowza (1)

silverspell (1556765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903850)

I think a couple of thermonuclear warheads might break the ice a little.

You must be great at parties. (Not to mention blind dates.)

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905854)

Well with one of those, you could most certainly make your dates blind.

Re:Wowza (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902796)

Are there any simple ways to turn it onto C and O2?

Short answer? No.

This is an ongoing area of research, but CO2 reduction is difficult to do in any practical amount.

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903136)

Short answer? No. This is an ongoing area of research, but CO2 reduction is difficult to do in any practical amount.

Damn those inefficient green things called trees and those inefficient blue things called oceans!

Re:Wowza (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903320)

And once you figure out how to grow them on Mars, maybe you will stop posting pointless sarcastic answers as an AC.

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904382)

1. Build "biospheres"/marsbases/greenhouses/whatever.
2. Melt some of the dry ice.
3. Pipe the resulting CO2 gas into the "biospheres"/marsbases/greenhouses/whatever.
4. Add (mars?-)dirt, fertilisers, (mars?-)water and plants.
5. ???
6. Green stuff growing on mars!

Re:Wowza (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35910776)

7. Profit!

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35916994)

Plant a tree next to it. Problem solved!

Re:Wowza (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902800)

Probably the easiest(in terms of being comparatively low-tech, easy to scale, and having numerous positive side effects), is a time-tested technology we call "Plants".

Given a few nutrients, a supply of CO2, and their favorite flavors of photon, those suckers are pretty efficient at turning CO2 into O2 and assorted carbon compounds, many with structural or culinary applications(and pretty easy to turn to straight carbon, if you prefer).

A hypothetical exploitation of these dry-ice deposits would presumably involve underground greenhouses(for protection from dust storms and insulation) lighted by LEDs emitting the correct bands for optimal plant growth, and provided with a moisture and CO2 rich environment by some sort of melting mechanism, probably mirrors or a radiothermal unit.

Re:Wowza (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903158)

So, build the Mars bases out of the graphene stuff from the prior article, and have a good base of food during construction. Cool.

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903186)

They also require liquid H20 ... which is in short supply on Mars.

Re:Wowza (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903984)

Essentially none exists as a liquid; but mars is suspected of harboring reasonable amounts of H2O ice in addition to the CO2 flavor. In either case, you'll need a decent supply of heat; but that is a technologically solvable problem. And, one of the (few) positive side effects of the atmosphere being hostile to humans is that running a closed-loop base will be a baseline necessity, rather than a burdensome add-on.

Re:Wowza (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905228)

In either case, you'll need a decent supply of heat; but that is a technologically solvable problem.

Reading in the other story earlier about black coloured plants, one of the issues raised was that black foliage would make their environment too warm. Maybe a first step towards the biocolonisation of mars would be to geneer a few of those? Talk about your new dark continent!

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904000)

H2O isn't in short supply on mars, your greenhouse filled with greenhouse gas CO2 presumably would be warm enough to melt the ice.

Re:Wowza (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904286)

Brings to mind the presumed drop of water on the phoenix lander strut. And yeah, that is a short supply.

Re:Wowza (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905624)

Sweet, we'll just need some hydrogen bombs to release all that O2 into the atmosphere. Yeah....that's the ticket. ;)

Re:Wowza (1)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906434)

Given a few nutrients, a supply of CO2, and their favorite flavors of photon, those suckers are pretty efficient at turning CO2 into O2 and assorted carbon compounds, many with structural or culinary applications(and pretty easy to turn to straight carbon, if you prefer).

You missed water. If I remember correctly, the O2 actually comes from water.

Re:Wowza (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35908452)

Plants need O2 too. That doesn't necessarily mean that we can't bootstrap the process though.

Re:Wowza (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903068)

I would be more concerned about the lack neutral gases like nitrogen. I suppose in a closed system, the other gases will not be consumed like oxygen would, but there is still a need to find a way to get them there effectively. If nothing else, the CO2 could be used to harvest plant life, which would in turn create the O2 that you desire.

It would be nice if there was an algae/bacteria/plant that could grow well in iron rich soil with little maintenance.

Re:Wowza (4, Funny)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903114)

Are there any simple ways to turn it onto C and O2?

I can't resist. Plants. :)

Re:Wowza (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903864)

Yeah, I was thinking more along the lines of: land machine, flip switch to "on", make oxygen for the humans.

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35913130)

Why choose something so complicated when something so simple is already available?

Re:Wowza (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904326)

Going from CO2 to C and O2 is an endothermic reaction. You can heat the CO2 and crack it into those components. The heat can come from concentrated solar energy or a fission reactor. Beyond that you would have to look at hypothetical fusion power, etc. Plant life can do the job as well. Thats a different sort of solar power. I doubt that you could get much in the way of earth life to live on Mars as it is now.

Re:Wowza (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904778)

Quaaaaaaiiid.... Start.. the re..ac..torrr...

Re:Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35908396)

You're going about this all wrong. We need to genetically modify humans to be able to breathe off CO2. That is the real solution! Get er done!

wtf is the connection between dry ice and water (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35902664)

Dry ice a.k.a. solid CO2 has nothing to do with water. They "already know" that CO2 ice sits on top of water ice? Phooey! There is no direct evidence for water on Mars other than very remote similarity in rock erosion patterns between Mars rock and Earth rock. And maybe some crystallization water in other formations.

Re:wtf is the connection between dry ice and water (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902714)

Wasn't there video of water ice sublimation?

Re:wtf is the connection between dry ice and water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35902834)

There is no direct evidence for water on Mars

You know, except for all that shittons of frozen water that we have direct evidence of on mars. Fucking stupid nigger, go read a book.

Re:wtf is the connection between dry ice and water (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904282)

CO2 ice is more volatile than water ice, which is why it is being seen at the south pole. There should be more water ice than CO2 ice on Mars.

Terraforming 101 (2, Funny)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902852)

Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. Use a bunch of hydrogen bombs, or better a big parabolic death-ray....sorry, life-mirror, and vapourise the caps. Then scatter as much simple CO2 metabolising life as possible over the temperate regions. Sit back and watch evolution take hold. Might take a while. Just an idea...

Re:Terraforming 101 (4, Informative)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902920)

Wouldn't the problem be that the solar wind would just blow away the atmosphere? From what I understand Mars has a very weak and unstable magnetic field (unlike the Earth). http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast31jan_1/ [nasa.gov]

Re:Terraforming 101 (1)

Jarnin (925269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903568)

This is the counter argument to terraforming that pops up on Slashdot in just about every story that has popped up about Mars. Yes, solar winds will gently blow the atmosphere off into space. The thing is, depending on how thick the atmosphere is, this could take tens of thousands of years, maybe even millions of years. In other words, we could replenish the atmosphere (by melting dry ice, diverting and burning up comets in the atmosphere, etc) as needed.

Re:Terraforming 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904558)

Then, when the snakes become a problem, we just import mountain gorillas. Terraforming is a long term survival-of-the-species type project. If the atmosphere blows away in 10000 years, it's just not worth it.

Seriously though, any sensible approach to terraforming mars really needs one of
"then we wrapped the planet in room-temperature superconducting cables to make a magnetosphere" or "then we increased the mass of the planet until it retained oxygen" or "then we increased the density of the planet (increased density=>smaller but higher gravity) by converting most of it to neutronium-or-something until it retained oxygen".

Re:Terraforming 101 (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35909102)

Mars currently loses about 100 tons of atmosphere per day. So dropping a 100 meter comet on it every 13 years is enough to make up the loss. On the scale you need to do things to terraform a planet, that is piddly.

The previous poster left out "drag iron-nickel asteroids into orbit and magnetize the heck out of them" to make a magnetosphere. That has fewer failure modes than a superconducting cable. Alternately extract a lot of iron from all that iron oxide on mars, make magnets, and place them all over the planet (all pointing the same way of course). Lastly, make a greenhouse dome to cover increasing areas of the planet until you cover the whole thing. At one earth atmosphere pressure, that can support 10 meters thick quartz, which should be plenty rugged. Thinner domes would need to be held *down* lest they float away. Then the leak rate will be zero aside from accidents.

Re:Terraforming 101 (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906658)

But one of the motivations for the huge job of terraforming Mars would be to create a second, long term home for humanity. If that home had only a several thousand year lifespan it would be much less attractive.

In any case, a nearly entirely CO2 atmosphere wouldn't be what you wanted in a terraforming operation. You'd need a lot more Nitrogen, which is critical in terrestrial biochemstry. Earth's atmosphere is almost 80% N2. Mars' atmosphere is 95% CO2 and 3% N2. If you vaporized some reservoir of dry ice, the proportion of N2 would drop, making it much harder to support life.

It would make much more sense to build very large pressurized enclosures in which you gradually built up N2 concentrations until plant life could thrive. CO2 is abundant in the atmosphere, so what you'd really want to find is a large reservoir of water.

Re:Terraforming 101 (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903146)

Actually, what you want to do is drill right down to the Martian core and dump a mix of nuclear waste and/or highly-enriched uranium into it. You won't be able to re-liquify the core, but the more heat you can generate, the stronger the magnetic field will get. At worst, you get a practical study in how the magnetic field forms in the first place (still not completely understood). At best, you reduce the difficulty in terraforming in any kind of stable way.

Re:Terraforming 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903370)

hey two birds with one stone. clean up earth and make another planet habitable.

Re:Terraforming 101 (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903712)

I really hope this was meant as a joke.

Re:Terraforming 101 (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904278)

You would be better off using your fissile materials at the surface where the heat they generate would be usable to you immediately. I reckon you could actually create a pretty good magnetic field for Mars by working entirely at the surface. Just build a planet spanning electromagnet using superconductors. You would need a lot of energy, but terraforming is going to be expensive anyway. You pretty much have to assume cheap, large scale nuclear fusion.

Total Recall? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902878)

So you mean the movie was actually a prophecy? I wonder if this means we'll find nuclear reactors down there to heat the CO2 up for us... Let's just hope Arnold wasn't right about the machines... Only a few more hours of J-Day left hope we can last it out without incident.

Re:Total Recall? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903150)

I thought that was all a labotomy dream, like Sucker Punch.

Re:Total Recall? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906898)

Watch it again you might change your mind.

Late-Breaking News from the Council (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902900)

Laughter and derision swept through our world today as the Council of Elders confirmed the rumors that an orbiting mechanized invader from the sinister blue planet third from our star had been spending an inordinate amount of time examining one of our world's most commonly-available resources.

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council, stressed yet again that there was no cause for alarm:

"This invader last located the remains of the northern invader which stands frozen to the spot, its flailing futilely in the wind [slashdot.org] . If these beings seek to attempt a second invasion from the south, it shall meet the same fate as their last attempt three years ago [slashdot.org] . The fools! The resources they study are so common that they compose 95% of our air!"

When a junior climatologist pointed out that the atmosphere of the blue world, holding a mere 0.04% carbox, was sadly lacking in this vital atmospheric component, and that the blue world's inhabitants had not only spent centuries trying to generate much as possible of it to supplant their meager atmospheric supply, but had even murdered millions of their own kind in struggles for control of their world's vital carboxogenic hydrocarbounds, K'breel (in his infinite mercy) had the contents of the junior climatologist's gelsacs extracted, gasified with pure compressed carbox, and consumed it as a refreshing drink.

Re:Late-Breaking News from the Council (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35902952)

Yes, I miss Douglas Adams too.

Re:Late-Breaking News from the Council (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905010)

heh.. i like the word 'carbox', lets use it as a common name for 'carbon dioxide'

So? (4, Funny)

squiggly12 (1298191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35902966)

Does this mean Quaid screws everything up???

Key issue ignored: DRY ICE (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903752)

q: So Quiad, how cold was it?
a: Lol! It was so cold I had to boil my Oxygen!

Sure! melt it all somehow and put CO2 into the air until it snows back down as ice or rains down freezing liquid air... So we somehow heat up the whole area and the little atmosphere with a big heat lamp...Then we trigger the core to spin again in our Unobtanium drilling machine so Mars can keep the Atmosphere it was unable to maintain itself... In the process we discover that in fact, we broke Mars and escaped to Earth...and the main reason we left is the revealed!

We argue with the dumb half who don't believe we are making CO2 heat up our own planet... while too many people think of Mars as our future escape destination.

Grammar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903006)

Mars' axial tilt

You mean "Mars's axial tilt". The name of the planet is "Mars", not "Mar".

Re:Grammar (2)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903162)

S's is horrible and all who use it should be shot. S' is the only correct form.

Re:Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903270)

You'd have a point if it was Mar's. Since it wasn't, you're a complete dumbfuck.

Re:Grammar (1)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903882)

...if it *were*...?

Don't disturb the ice warriors you fools! (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903066)

Haven't you seen it on Doctor Who?

blah blah (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903718)

could be evidence that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere and was able to have more water on its surface

They say this about everything they discover about Mars... Just replace the headline with "Scientists discover XXX on Mars, which could indicate that Mars once had water."

Re:blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903794)

"Scientists discover XXX on Mars..."

Where is this Martian porn that you speak of?

It'd be more interesting if ... (1)

sirdude (578412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904104)

... the Orbiter had discovered huge deposits of precious metals or rare-earth elements. This might trigger more funding for these missions in the future. I personally want to see a discovery of a mountain of Gold just to push prices down on Earth :S What will happen to the global economy if such a thing came to pass? Aren't all currencies backed by gold reserves?

Re:It'd be more interesting if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904806)

No. Currencies are backed by promises of paying back the interest. No gold whatsoever.

Re:It'd be more interesting if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906256)

Yeah, modern currency only has value because everyone thinks it has value, which is kinda trippy when you think about it.

Then again, the same is true for gold, really: if the shit really hits the fan you're going to want to have your "store of wealth" in something more concrete, like ammunition and canned food.

Re:It'd be more interesting if ... (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905264)

Much easier just to mine the asteroids, they're already sitting there filled with gigatons of precious metals.

Re:It'd be more interesting if ... (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905394)

Even if Mars was found to be one big ball of gold it wouldn't affect gold prices in your lifetime.

Re:It'd be more interesting if ... (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906574)

Umm... Gold is cheap compared to interplanetary travel. Heck even if you found a mountain of diamonds the size of basketballs it still wouldn't be worth it. I think gold would have to hit something like $100,000 and ounce to make hauling it from the moon practical. And rare earths? Just not that rare and no most currencies are not backed by gold reserves.

Zygote (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904250)

A mass of solid CO2 would make a great place for a habitat. Tunnel into it and use steam from your fission reactor (you have one of those, right?) to create a dome by sublimation. Coat the inside of the dome with frozen water to keep the CO2 out of your air as much as possible.

I think I have lost my copy of Red Mars. Maybe I should buy it again.

Give me a lever..... (1)

Alexvthooft (1798010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904880)

So all I have to do is tilt Mars on its axis and we'll have a second life-suistanable planet?

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move this world.

I really think they have it wrong... (3, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905642)

Carbon dioxide is not the key here. After all, Mars and Venus are both primarily CO2 atmospheres (Earth:Nitrogen). However the two planets have vastly different temperatures, even after accounting for Venus's increased solar radiation. What I think is the key here, is pressure at the surface. Releasing more CO2 on Mars won't increase the greenhouse effect (diminishing returns), but it will make the surface atmosphere denser, which means higher surface temperatures, at least until it gets stripped away by the solar wind, because Mars does not have a protective magnetic field.

Which brings in my model of how it all got there. After the magnetic field died, the solar wind stripped the atmosphere until it wasn't dense enough to maintain liquid water... Then the same came true for gaseous CO2. Logically it accumulated in the first place it started to get cold enough to solidify. I doubt we'll see it get released due to 1) still not mag field and 2) its in the last place to heat up.

Hey NASA, find GOLD instead! (1)

emailandthings (844006) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907462)

Since apparently we are going back to the gold standard, why not look for good old fashion gold instead?

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?