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Underground Water on Mars?

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the well-well-well dept.

Mars 109

WaltonNews wrote in with a story about possible underground water on Mars. The article begins: "The Mars Express spacecraft, from the European Space Agency (ESA), has indicated to scientists that the dry atmosphere and surface on the planet Mars does not necessarily mean Mars is dry underneath the surface. In fact, a huge storehouse of water and carbon dioxide could be found in underground reservoirs."

cancel ×

109 comments

404 (3, Funny)

Any Web Loco (555458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17766796)

No water after all?

Try this link... (4, Informative)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17766838)

Mars Express scientists think Mars might have plenty of water underground [itwire.com.au] .

I'm sure they'll fix the article soon. But tossing the quoted section into a news.google search provides this.

Re:Try this link... (1, Troll)

fredclown (878276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770090)

I'm kinda getting tired of the "Hey, we think we found water on Mars ... oh never mind" announcements. How many times have they said this only have it be wrong?

Re:Try this link... (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770432)

I'm actually starting to get a little paranoid. It almost seems like WMD-II. "There's water on Mars — we must go!". I'm beginning to wonder if someone's got a real reason for wanting to go, and it's got nothing to do with water.

"Ash, Mother's deciphered part of that transmission. It's not a distress call..."

Re:Try this link... (3, Funny)

Cimon Avaro (1022609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17773016)

I'm actually starting to get a little paranoid. It almost seems like WMD-II. "There's water on Mars — we must go!". I'm beginning to wonder if someone's got a real reason for wanting to go, and it's got nothing to do with water.


Happens to me often. I hear flowing water, and I have to go.

Re:Try this link... (1)

jac89 (979421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17775190)

Yes, It must be Oil that the US is after...

I just read an interesting write-up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17766798)

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Re:I just read an interesting write-up (0, Offtopic)

albyrne5 (893494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17769040)

His first name was Adolf?!?!

I always thought it was Heil!

Lowell was right? (2, Informative)

BTWR (540147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17766802)

Maybe there are canals on Mars, lol...

Big Alien Button (2, Funny)

Rissole (693590) | more than 7 years ago | (#17766868)

you can press to release it all. There *may* be some bad guys that will want to stop you though.

Re:Big Alien Button (1)

saintory (944644) | more than 7 years ago | (#17766942)

"Quaid... Start the reactor. Free Mars!"

"Eh. No wonder he stayed hidden."

Re:Lowell was right? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17779950)

Maybe there are canals on Mars,

More likely in Mars. In other words a "Low Well". Go figure.
         

format (1)

Neuropol (665537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17766810)

http://science.slashdot.org/ahref= [slashdot.org]

Any way. Sign me up. I'll gladly run a drill rig for NASA or what ever. I've got skills. Just get me off this war torn planet.

Re:format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767510)

We don't want people with that kind of attitude on Mars. /s

Re:format (3, Funny)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#17768240)

I'll take a one-way mission, too. Hell, imagine never having to wear bug spray anymore. No more poison ivy. No more dimwits trying to push their religion on you by force if necessary. And you'd be spending your life building a new world. That would be a wonderful place to die.

Re:format (4, Interesting)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17769178)

I have a deeply unpopular opinion round here which is that, even if humans actually walk on Mars in our lifetimes (I'd put the chances of that at 5/1), the chances of any permanent settlement are nil, zip, zilch, nada. You have to understand how much it would cost, and that there would be no economic benefits at all apart from the teflon/tang/spacepen type spin-offs; and if that's the aim, there are plenty of much more useful projects that could be run which would have just as many technological spin-off benefits. You have to understand how hard it would be to get there and maintain life support in such a hostile environment. How long would the US settlers have lasted if they'd had no natural resources apart from lots of very very salty / acidic dusts and regolith, a dim sun, low gravity, and had faced instant death in the event of a loss of air pressure / failure of any of several thousand literally "mission-critical" systems? Oh wait, for some of those failure modes, death would be slow, lingering, and unpleasant. And we'd all have to watch it on TV every night. *shudder* no, thanks.

See, I said it was unpopular. Bye-bye karma, I barely knew ye ;)

Re:format (2, Funny)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17769352)

Bye-bye karma, I barely knew ye

Don't try to second guess the mods. It's as likely to provoke as to mollify. If you're actually fearful of being modded, just post AC.

You have to understand how much it would cost, and that there would be no economic benefits at all apart from the teflon/tang/spacepen type spin-offs; and if that's the aim,

Of course that's not the aim. The Moon will be more than enough of a technical challenge. The reason to go to Mars is pure science; to explore, and in the (very) long term; to colonise. Any economic payoff, unless we discover abandoned Martian flying saucers, is likely to be centuries away, no one is pretending otherwise. (Well, maybe Zubrin is.)

Re:format (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17773818)

But we can do an awful lot of science without humans, for the forseeable future anyway. How do you quantify whether it's worth spending $200B for some applied science that's not going to tell us anything of direct relevance to us here on Earth? I've been following the MER rovers for the last three years, watching the raw data at the Exploratorium - there's more raw data from those two rovers than there are planetary scientists available to work it over thoroughly. There's plenty of stuff these rovers can't do , of course, and personally I'm looking forward to seeing more and more fantastic science from the surface of Mars in the years to come.

Re:format (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17780202)

But we can do an awful lot of science without humans,

Of course. Sending humans is justifiable only as leading to colonising, for its own sake. Basically, a biological imperative. Otherwise we'd still be chipping rocks in Olduvai Gorge.

Re:format (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17780064)

The payoff in this case depends greatly on initial funding and even more so upon sticking with the damned funding for it in the first place. Oh, and selecting the right goal... which sure as hell isn't the Moon or Mars, it's NEAs and the resources in them. Moving one of them to where we want it is a much less daunting challenge, initial resource expenditure-wise, than lifting the equivalent materials out of Earth's gravity well. We even possess all the tools we need to do such a thing right now...

  SB

Re:format (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#17769366)

You know, I was going to write a long post debunking your opinion. But you know it's unpopular, so why ruin your day and waste my time debunking you?

I'd suggest, however, you reads "The Case for Mars" by Robert Zubrin. He lays out a, well, case for going to Mars and explains why it won't be nearly as expensive as not going.

Re:format (0, Flamebait)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17773882)

Sure, and some nice gentlemen called at my house the other day to lay out a case for Jesus and explain why my immortal soul would be grateful forever. Sorry, Zubrin's a nutter with a penchant for wishful thinking that makes a Star Trek convention look like a meeting of the Realist Society.

Re:format (2, Interesting)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770054)

How long would the US settlers have lasted if they'd had no natural resources apart from lots of very very salty / acidic dusts and regolith, a dim sun, low gravity, and had faced instant death in the event of a loss of air pressure / failure of any of several thousand literally "mission-critical" systems? Oh wait, for some of those failure modes, death would be slow, lingering, and unpleasant.
Even in the relatively temperate climate of North America, there are plenty of ways to die.

Regardless, I've actually thought along the same lines about colonization, and it has a lot to do with the economic rationale for going in the first place. Once there is one good reason to establish a population, everyone else follows to support that population. Columbus thought that we'd settle to get gold and silver, at Jamestown it was tobacco (eventually), in New England and Atlantic Canada it had a lot to do with just leaving Olde England and perhaps a very little to do with cod fisheries and fur trading. But once those settlements started, other economic activites were established to support the local population.

Once it becomes cheap enough to visit Mars with regularity, be it for simple science or tourism, it would actually make sense to establish a permanent base, rather than bringing everything along each time.

Re:format (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772444)

Regardless, I've actually thought along the same lines about colonization, and it has a lot to do with the economic rationale for going in the first place. Once there is one good reason to establish a population, everyone else follows to support that population. Columbus thought that we'd settle to get gold and silver, at Jamestown it was tobacco (eventually), in New England and Atlantic Canada it had a lot to do with just leaving Olde England and perhaps a very little to do with cod fisheries and fur trading. But once those settlements started, other economic activites were established to support the local population.
Difference between settling North America and settling Mars is that just about anyone could get on a boat and travel across the Atlantic. In fact, many poor people did exactly that. I'm not saying the journey was always pleasant, but it certainly didn't require too many resources. And once there, you could conceivable live by your own means. On the other hand, nobody is going to Mars without very significant backing from Earth bound organizations such as corporations or governments. And once you are there, the organization that sent you there pretty much owns you. Going to Mars would be anything but an escape from "Olde England." You'd effectively be a slave.

Once it becomes cheap enough to visit Mars with regularity, be it for simple science or tourism, it would actually make sense to establish a permanent base, rather than bringing everything along each time.
You're extrapolating an aweful lot from an analogy that only has superficial significance.

-matthew

Re:format (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17773244)

Once it becomes cheap enough to visit Mars with regularity, be it for simple science or tourism, it would actually make sense to establish a permanent base, rather than bringing everything along each time.
You're extrapolating an aweful lot from an analogy that only has superficial significance.
It's not extrapolation. (Nor was it my analogy in the first place) I believe that once the cost of the trip is reasonable, people will choose to stay on the other side. What you are saying is that the cost will never be reasonable. This is like--to continue the analogy--stating that in 1493, that no average joe will *ever* sail west across the Atlantic, and that every voyage would need to be funded by royalty. So it took perhaps 130 years before that was not true... so? I agree that the cost will be prohibitive for a long, long time. But that doesn't mean that it will always be.

Re:format (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17776712)

It's not extrapolation. (Nor was it my analogy in the first place) I believe that once the cost of the trip is reasonable, people will choose to stay on the other side. What you are saying is that the cost will never be reasonable
I'm saying that nobody knows what things will be like that far into the future and any talk about it is pointless speculation unless your're a sci-fi author.

This is like--to continue the analogy--stating that in 1493, that no average joe will *ever* sail west across the Atlantic, and that every voyage would need to be funded by royalty. So it took perhaps 130 years before that was not true... so?
AFAIK, sailing distances as far as the Atlantic was not cost prohibitive even in 1493. It was just that nobody had tried (well, the Vikings did, but they never settled).

-matthew

Re:format (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17773930)

Once it becomes cheap enough to visit Mars with regularity,...
What makes you think the laws of physics are going to change?

Re:format (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17774544)

What makes you think the laws of physics are going to change?
What law of physics says that energy is expensive?

Re:format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771222)

Bye-bye karma, I barely knew ye ;)
I am going to dedicate the next five mod points I get to modding down morons who say things like "I'm going to get modded down for this ..." or "there goes my karma ..."

Say what you have to say and stop whining about your precious "karma."

Re:format (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771600)

Actually, your opinion matches up with a number of folks. Of course, most of them believe that ID is real.

Thank god that it is not likely to win. Simply put, it is no where near as expensive as NASA or even you believe. Why? Because of NASA's and RKA (USSR/Russian space agency ) precursor work of figuring out what works.

  1. Launch will be provided by any number of transports. My belief is that spaceX and scaled composites will capture the bulk of this within another 4 years.
  2. Bigelow's stations will be used for transport (100 million or so) nearly 100% based on NASA's work.
  3. And then a modified BA-330 will be sent to the martian surface by 2015 to see how long it will last. (and yes, the BA-330 will be out by 2010 because of DOD's needs (they are going to use them to hide where antenna are pointing as well as provide a short sleeve work env for repair)). If need be, then craft will be put in a metal container to keep off the environment. (hopfully, one of the next surface missions will send some small samples of material to see how they really survive).
  4. Armadillo's craft will be used for hopping around and doing mining on the surface.
  5. Modified forms of Lunar suits will be used for the martianaughts.
No, your fears are trivial to get past.

The one hard part on all this is, power. We have 2 choices; Nuke or power sat. If NASA has a decent low-weight, high-power generator, then we will send that. But it is probably good for only 30 years and will probably not be easy to move. Of course, we could send a power sat and then beam the power down. But how much power?

In fact, baring war or worsening debt crisis (sadly, this is highly likely), I believe that we will be on the lunar surface by 2015 and mars by 2020.

Re:format (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17773986)

You're either out of your mind, or have no clue what you're talking about. let's look at (1):

Launch will be provided by any number of transports. My belief is that spaceX and scaled composites will capture the bulk of this within another 4 years.

Scaled composites are going to build an orbital vehicle out of carbon fibre and powered by tyre rubber and kerosine, are they? No, of course not. You realise SS1 just went straight up and straight back down again, not, like, "round and round", yes? You realise one takes 27,000mph whilst the other barely required Mach1? I'll do you a favour and stop there. I suggest you do, too.

Re:format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17776326)

Obviously, you do not read and are not in the industry. SS2 is not based on the same technology. In addition, the white knight is being scaled up to handle major launches for SS2 AND SS3 (the expected next stage available around 2011 with passengers and cargo). Here is a minor write up [wikipedia.org]

So yeah, it is a good idea that you stop while you are just a little bit behind.

We're gonna need a bigger magnet (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17779758)

Yep, the obvious makes Mars pretty unfriendly, but I think the biggest problem mankind would face would be the radiation. Good ol' Earth here is set up with a convient magnetic field that keeps the solar radiation out. Mars doesn't have one of these. Even if you can, say, terriform Mars to have a breathable atmosphere, get a greenhouse effect going to make it warm, ect., the lack of protection from the solar radiation would strip it all away in time, and boil all the water to vapor, which would also be stripped away. Sounds fun, altough if you have the ability to terriform a whole planet, I suppose a planet wide magnetic field wouldn't be that much harder to pull off. The other option you'd havewould be to live in a bubble with a self-contained environment and radiation protection, and we all know how good humans are at living in peace with limited resources. Rather than eyeballing Mars, its probably a better idea to hold off a century or two to ensure Earth continued habability.

Re:format (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17779930)

the chances of any permanent settlement are nil, zip, zilch, nada. You have to understand how much it would cost,...You have to understand how hard it would be to get there and maintain life support in such a hostile environment.

What I see as more likely would be living in underground caverns. Some process would have to be devised to fill them with breathable air.
       

Re:format (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17780032)

Lots of O2 up there. Lots of iron that is easy to work with. Nice thing that by doing a cave in the ground, it should be possible to line it with metal and then do an insulation layer (think aerogel). The only real issue on Mars will be power. Without lots of power (much more / person than even America uses), and the idea of living of the land becomes impossible. Nuclear technology becomes paramount.

get real (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771816)

I'll take a one-way mission, too. Hell, imagine never having to wear bug spray anymore. No more poison ivy. No more dimwits trying to push their religion on you by force if necessary. And you'd be spending your life building a new world. That would be a wonderful place to die.

How much fresh water, oil, and labor do you think it takes to just keep you fed? To supply you with clothing? To make a single computer chip? There are no supermarkets on Mars, no Chinese sweat shops, no Best Buy. In fact, those "dimwits" you want to get away from will control everything you do, say, and think; if you don't comply, they'll just stop sending supplies.

If you want to "build a new world", try getting yourself a plot of land in the north of Canada and living off the grid: the government will leave you alone, and it will be paradise compared to Mars.

Re:format (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772088)

I'll take a one-way mission, too. Hell, imagine never having to wear bug spray anymore.
No need to imagine. I live in NW Oregon. No bug spray needed... even out camping in the lush forests. It is pretty great, actually.

No more poison ivy.
Talk about throwing out the baby with the bathwater...

No more dimwits trying to push their religion on you by force if necessary.
Can't say that happens to me here. The only time I ever come into (virtual) contact with a religious freak is if I opt to visit some forum or usenet group. Besides, who knows what kind of fucked up cults might develop in Martian settlements.

And you'd be spending your life building a new world.
Insofar as a corporate/government owned industrial complex outside the legal jurisdiction of Earth bound society is a "new world," sure. See, there is one huge difference between pioneering in space and pioneering on Earth. On Earth, anyone could set out and claim land on their own and live by their own means. On Mars, there would be no "on your own." The ONLY way you're going to survive on Mars is through significant investment by Earth bound corporations and/or governments. And once you're there, there may be no way back if the powers that be don't want you to go. So, if you like the idea of being a slave, have fun.

That would be a wonderful place to die.
Sounds horrible. I mean, once the novelty of being on another planet wears off.

-matthew
-matthew

Same shit, different planet (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17780184)

If you plan to take any other people with you, that dream goes out the window. Sure, there might not be any bugs o poison ivy, but there will still be people, and that means dimwits trying to shove their religion down your throat and wild-eyed theophobic dimwits. In other words, same shit, different planet

Re:format (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771676)

Any way. Sign me up. I'll gladly run a drill rig for NASA or what ever. I've got skills. Just get me off this war torn planet.
Trading a "war torn planet" for a barren wasteland. A little desperate, are we?

-matthew

Old News (5, Funny)

celardore (844933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17766860)

Re:Old News (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767168)

Yes, because wikipedia is right all along that is why you can find anything on it.. Especially if it's controversial!

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17768088)

Did you even look at the link?

It was a joke.

The Crowd Goes: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767984)

"Boooooooooooo!"

Too slow twofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17766862)

Twofo [twofo.co.uk] Is Dying

DC++ hub.twofo.co.uk:4144

It is official; Netcraft confirms: Twofo is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleagured University of Warwick [warwick.ac.uk] filesharing community when ITS confirmed that Twofo total share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all file sharing. Coming hot on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Twofo has lost more share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Twofo is collapsing in complete disarry, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Student comprehensive leeching test.

You don't need to be one of the Hub Operators to predict Twofo's future. The hand writing is on the toilet wall: Twofo faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Twofo because Twofo is dying. Things are looking very bad for Twofo. As many of us are already aware, Twofo continues to lose users. Fines and disconnections flow like a river of feces [tubgirl.com] .

N00b Campus users are the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of their total share. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Twofo sharers fool_on_the_hill and Twinklefeet only serves to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Twofo is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Sources indicate that there are at most 150 users in the hub. How many filelists have been downloaded? Let's see. 719. But 1621 IP addresses have been logged, and 1727 nicks have been sighted connecting to one user over the last term. How many searches are there? 600 searches in 3 hours. The highest sharer on campus, known as "firstchoice", or Andrew.Maddison@warwick.ac.uk in real life, was sharing over 1 TiB, despite working in ITS and not being on the resnet. He's only there so people off campus who think they're too good for bittorrent can continue to abuse the University's internet connection.

Due to troubles at the University of Warwick, lack of internet bandwidth, enforcements of Acceptable Usage Policies, abysmal sharing, retarded leechers, clueless n00bs, and ITS fining and disconnecting users, Twofo has no future. All major student surveys show that Twofo has steadily declined in file share. Twofo is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Twofo is to survive at all it will be among p2p hardcore fuckwits, desperate to grab stuff for free off the internet. Nothing short of a miracle could save Twofo from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Twofo is dead.

Fact: Twofo is dying

Article link? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17766864)

Got a link to the article? Or do I have to go to Mars and see it for myself? I'll pack thermal underwear and a shovel.

Re:Article link? (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767300)

Don't forget your towel

Re:Article link? (1)

iago-vL (760581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17768564)

So uhh... Wanna get high?

Underground water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17766926)

mmm... probably dates back to the prohibition era.

*ducks*

Since we lack the link! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17766992)

Let us all call it a dupe! :-)

Mars water should be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767028)

The water on Mars should be free for everyone and not under the control of greedy corporations out to make a profit. It should have a license designed to protect that freedom.

Volunteers should try to push the free Mars water into as many applications as possible. Then, once enough people are locked in, the license should become more and more restrictive until those volunteers have sucessfully gained control of the whole universe and can enforce communism on all the previously free peoples! Unlimited money and power forever!

Re:Mars water should be free (1)

splutty (43475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767308)

Repeat after me: We are all individuals!

Not a new result (3, Informative)

amightywind (691887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767040)

This is not news worthy in the least. It has been several years since groundwater seeps have been observed by the MOC camera [msss.com] on Mars Global Surveyor.

Re:Not a new result (3, Interesting)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767088)

I think the point of the research being referenced (though the link is bad, so its hard to tell) is that new experiments show the water loss rate should be much lower than they previously thought, which means all that water that used to be there must have gone somewhere.

Re:Not a new result (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772092)

This isn't about the occasional seeps, it's saying that there may be vast quantities of water locked up because water is being lost much more slowly than previously thought.

The desert planet (4, Funny)

iiii (541004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767052)

Beneath the surface of the desert planet we will find huge stores of water and the spice melange, which will allow us to see into the future, which will enable us to travel among the stars. It's actually the poop of some giant monster worms creatures, but who cares, let's eat it anyway.

Re:The desert planet (2)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767372)

Actually, it's the "poop" of the "little makers". I only got half way through "God Emperor", and there was no mention of the waste of the great worm up to that point. But if I know the Fremen, they're collecting and using that, too.

-Peter

Re:The desert planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17769264)

It's actually the poop of some giant monster worms creatures, but who cares, let's eat it anyway.

Well, stupid rich people are already doing that [chicagotribune.com] .

TFA broken link :( (1)

Apoklypse (853837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767092)

typo, anyone?

Speculation... (5, Insightful)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767124)

Why does this make news? It's speculation. Can I make the /. frontpage by saying "There might be miniture Giraffes under the surface of mars"?

It'd be a fascinating article if they had found water under the surface, but this?...Come on...

Re:Speculation... (2, Insightful)

delt0r (999393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767186)

A large majorty of interesting science is speculation and about 100% of popular science is halfway between speculation and fabricated. This is /.

Re:Speculation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767250)

That's science for you.

Speculate -> theorise -> test, rinse and repeat.

The media's take (1)

pifactorial (1000403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17769582)

This just in! A commentator on the popular technology site "Slashdot" (who very well may be an expert) claims to have definitive proof that miniature giraffes dwell in subterranean Martian ice mines. One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the giraffes will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new long-necked overlords.

More at 11.

MARSIS (5, Informative)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767130)

Don't know where the link was supposed to go, but some (not really new) information can be found here [esa.int] , along with a nice section of Mars North Polar Cap obtained with the remarkable Italian MARSIS [esa.int] instrument. Nice to see another world studied by geologists with just the same techniques used here on Earth.

Underground Reservoirs? (2, Funny)

ticklejw (453382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767158)

In fact, a huge storehouse of water and carbon dioxide could be found in underground reservoirs.
...just waiting for Arnold Schwarzenegger to "get his ass to mars" and put his hand on some funky alien 3-fingered button and push, which will entirely replace the planet's atmosphere with an oxygen/nitrogen mix at roughly standard Earth pressure in a matter of seconds, just in time to save him and his girlfriend from asphyxiation on the surface, but a little too late for the bad guy to survive.

Re:Underground Reservoirs? (1)

Kirin Fenrir (1001780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767776)

Four fingers actually, you forgot the thumb.

Next time on "How to Tell You're a Nerd": Reacalling the number of fingers on the switch to an alien device in an 80's Schwarzenegger movie!

Re:Underground Reservoirs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771902)

I can't believe this wasn't the first post. I don't think the nerd community respects Total Recall like it should. It was the first and only violent epic comedy... scratch that, some of Paul Verhoeven's other movies are in the same catagory...

Fact:
Schwarzenegger saying a idiotic tagline in a 'clean' movie like Batman & Robin = ?!?!
Schwarzenegger saying a idiotic tagline in an over the top violent scene = comedy gold

Did I miss something, or did they? (4, Informative)

Speed Pour (1051122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767366)

Seriously...there's been a decent number of sightings of ice water on Mars including European Space Agency [esa.int] and again recently with NASA [nasa.gov] .

There's nothing new here. Stating a theory that perhaps less water has disappeared than previously thought? What's expected? Ice is known to have a lower planetary dispersion rate.

To add to all of this, it's scientifically reasonable to assume there should be fairly large quantities of water under the surface. Logic applies, we've seen landforms that support the belief of water having once been on mars, and we've got recent pictures to show some (likely a lot) is still there. Guess what, anybody who knows anything about dessert geography also knows that water naturally burrows below the surface. This is just putting 2+2 together.

What are they going to report on next, the discovery of Magnetic Fields and how they might exist on other planets?

Re:Did I miss something, or did they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17768680)

anybody who knows anything about dessert geography also knows that water naturally burrows below the surface


Hot fudge does this as well. So what's your point?

Some secret agent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767388)

Some secret agent (whis an austrian aakkzent) just has to turn the reactor on mars on.

For Heaven's Sake... (1)

Cicero382 (913621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767556)

Look - it's very simple. Either there are *usable* amounts of water on Mars, or there aren't.

I understand that the geologists (areologists, whatever) can get excited about the possibilities of trace amounts of water because it will help explain planetary evolution etc. And I share their enthusiasm, if not their expertise. But what I and thousands of other space enthusiasts want to know is; "Is there water on Mars?"

If we are ever going to have some sort of (semi-) permanent presence on Mars, we must have water. Enough speculation, for heaven's sake! Why have we not sent a probe to specifically answer this question?

Re:For Heaven's Sake... (2, Interesting)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17768366)

We did. It was called Beagle 2.

It was supposed to dig down a little bit and try to take some underground samples.

Keep in mind that most mining equipment is not very portable, if at all. Taking it to Mars and landing it safely is beyond our current capabilities.

OTOH, we could smash a block of something and analyze the resulting plume. There is no better way to dig a crater that smashing a 1 ton bullet traveling at a couple kilometers per second.

There is, but try smuggling a nuke to space these days...

Re:For Heaven's Sake... (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17769256)

If we are ever going to have some sort of (semi-) permanent presence on Mars, we must have water.

Well, yeah, but that's like saying "if we're going to have a human colony on the surface of the sun, we must have a way to survive temperatures of hundreds of millions of degrees". Of course we're not going to have permanent colonies on Mars; the idea's preposterous to everyone who got over being 13 and reading too much bad science fiction. Oh, wait, this is Slashdot... Delusion Central. My mistake, sorry, mind you don't trip over my karma on the way out.

Re:For Heaven's Sake... (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17778576)

But what I and thousands of other space enthusiasts want to know is; "Is there water on Mars?"

And the answer is the same as it has been for decades: YES. You can see it from Earth, if you have a good telescope.

The permanent Martian polar caps are water ice. In the winter hemisphere they get bigger because of the CO2 ("dry") ice on top of the water ice

Sheesh. The only thing exciting about water elsewhere on Mars (geological history implications aside) is that you won't have to haul it as far.

Detecting Aquifers on Earth (1)

PowerEdge (648673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767582)

Can NASA satellites or other satellites currently orbiting Earth detect our Aquifers? If so, perhaps the same instruments can be used on a probes sent to orbit Mars. If not, perhaps they should determine the method of detecting Earth's groundwater first, from orbit, and then export such tech to Martian probes. Just my 2 cents.

Re:Detecting Aquifers on Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770740)

Yes, that's already done. However, it only works in places like the Sahara Desert, since the dielectric constants of sand are low, and the frequency of radio waves can pass deep through sand (like GPR). Mars has low dielectric constants, I think.

Re:Detecting Aquifers on Earth (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771240)

Sure they can detect aquifers on Earth. Some of them "antennas" are actually dowsing rods!

They consult an astrologer to interpret the data.

soda! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767654)

" In fact, a huge storehouse of water and carbon dioxide could be found in underground reservoirs."

water + CO2 = carbonic acid, or soda water.

Mars is a big soda!

considering its red color, I'm guessing either Dr Pepper, or Cheerwine

Re:soda! (3, Funny)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770294)

So, all we have to do is drill holes all over Mars and drop huge Mentos candies down the shafts, and voila! Instant atmosphere and oceans! Plus, if we time the drops right, we might be able to nudge Mars into an orbit closer to the Sun!

Re:soda! (1)

mbrod (19122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770572)

Or increase the mass of Mars moon. This will start the inards of Mars churning again (like the Earth's inards are churning from the effects of our big moon), and free up gas and water thus creating the required atmosphere on Mars.

Re:soda! (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771088)

Then we'd have to rename Mars as "Belchium" or something...

Re:soda! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17776820)

No...
Its IRN BRU.

(google for it if you haven't heard of it)
  RJG.

Zyou inseNsitive clod! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767672)

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These scientists are behind the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17767860)

Have these scientists just now gotten around to watching Total Recall?

Hmmm... (1)

drew_92123 (213321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17767988)

Now as soon as they find oil I can move to mars and start bottling the water

Full Atricle before they fix link and slashdotted (1)

max909 (619312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17768344)


The Mars Express spacecraft, from the European Space Agency (ESA), has indicated to scientists that the dry atmosphere and surface on the planet Mars does not necessarily mean Mars is dry underneath the surface. In fact, a huge storehouse of water and carbon dioxide could be found in underground reservoirs.

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The exploratory mission of the Mars Express--whose name refers to the quickness of its design and manufacture and to the short relative distance it traveled between the Earth and Mars due to careful timing of the mission--originally consisted of the Mars Express Orbiter and the Beagle 2. On June 2, 2003, the spacecraft was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan powered by a Soyuz-Fregata rocket. Unfortunately, after entering Mars orbit in December 2003 and deploying from the orbiting Mars Express Orbiter the Beagle 2 was lost on December 25, 2003, when it failed to communicate to the already-orbiting NASA Mars Odyssey. The ESA Mars Express team declared the Beagle 2 officially lost on February 6, 2004.

The Mars Express Orbiter continued its important science mission without Beagle 2. One of its first indications that Mars might possess underground water came in November 2005 when the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) experiment found the presence of underground water ice. MARSIS has the ability to remotely sense and record subsurface reflections; that is, it can analyze the composition of the ground beneath the surface of Mars (down to about five kilometers [three miles]), specifically with regards to the presence of frozen water.

Then, in 2007, ASPERA (Analyzer of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms), another instrument onboard the Mars Express Orbiter, found that the rate of water loss on Mars is much lower than believed. Dr. Stanislav Barabash of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (Kiruna, Sweden) headed a team whose research from the Mars Express Orbiter found the entire planet only loses about 20 grams of oxygen and carbon dioxide each second--a rate that was only about 1% of what was previously believed to be lost. If Barabash's discovery proves to be correct, then only a relatively miniscule amount of water and carbon dioxide would have disappeared over the past three to four billion years.

Barabash's team does not know what happened to this water. They surmise that it might have been removed through one or more currently unproven processes (such as dramatic asteroid and comet impacts, solar winds, or magnetic storms). Or, they also think that a possible scenario is that the water may still be on Mars, only stored underground. In fact, Barabash reported to New Scientist that: "We are talking about huge amounts of water. To store it somewhere requires a really big, huge reservoir."

Barabash and his colleagues report their findings on January 26, 2007, in Science magazine.

Scientists know that when Mars was a much younger planet it contained large amounts of liquid. However, scientists do not know where all of that liquid went. Mars Express and other spacecraft sent to explore Mars may soon find out. Future manned missions to Mars may find plenty of water to support humans and to provide hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel. Whether that occurs or not will only be found out sometime in the future--as more information is carefully and deliberately retrieved from Mars.

Information about the Mars Express mission is found at ESA's site: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/index.htm l [esa.int] .

Information about the Mars Express mission can also be found at NASA's site: http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/express/ [nasa.gov] .

The Home Web page of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics is located at: http://www.irf.se/ [www.irf.se] .

Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17768854)

I hit the link and got a /. URL, a 404. I looked at the links; one was a mailto and one was a bad /. URL (explaining the 404).

So if any of you want to actually RARFA (Read A Real Fucking Article), I suggest you try here. [newscientist.com] I saw this yesterday, I was very interested.

Maybe the article was about the gullies (2, Informative)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17768956)

I recently attended a presentation by a geologist (areologist?) investigating the gullies [nasa.gov] . She argued convincingly that many of these are caused by liquid water erupting horizontally from aquifers about 100m underground. This water would lie about 100m below plateaus and the water would emerge from the side of steep faces. This is exactly where the gullies appear in photography and the 100m is consistent with the pressure and temperature required to keep wtar in a liquid state. On emerging to the surface the water would only last a few minutes before boiling and freezing. This is consistent with the length of the gullies. From what we know of the temperature of Mars these conditions aren't suitable for liquid CO2. The sinuosity of the gullies is inconsistent with landslides.

This is quite different from evidence from radar. We're talking about water that may have flowed in the last couple of years. (Not geological time. A few years here means less than ten.)

Just wait (2, Funny)

Fist! Of! Death! (1038822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17769072)

For the damned Mars Mineral water brand to hit Earth shelves...

Hollywood Got This One Right (1)

airship (242862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17769470)

Hollywood got this right in 1964: http://imdb.com/title/tt0058530/ [imdb.com]

Not only is there water, you can heat the rocks to get oxygen, and there are edible psychedelic plants. Oh, and aliens with flying saucers.

Ah, Mars. Is there anything it DOESN'T have?

Quick recap of the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770588)

For those too busy to RTFA, here's a recap:

* The surface of Mars is dry
* we don't know what's under the surface

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771090)

My company SpongeNoMore will be entering the sponge removal phase soon. The plan is to rocket them to Mars, and nukle 'em with my TeslaWave OvenRay.

They better find water, 'cus i don't want to be responsible for making Mars into the black planet.

Again the same baseless claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17772158)

Over and over we have to hear how water is probably on Mars.

How about just waiting for the story that says "yes, we found it".

It is like listening to the "W" tell us how we are winning in Iraq.

Total Recall (1)

mpv1145 (987306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772234)

I agree with most on this topic that this is extremely old news. Several years ago Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to locate that thingamajig that penetrated that whatchamacallit, which instantaneously spawned a new, Earth-like atmosphere. Now there are trees and grass and bodies of water and snow-capped mountains and clouds and all sort of other nature for us all to enjoy... Don't you remember? I mean, his eyes are still a little bugged out, but for the most part he is back to normal.

Late To The Game..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772968)

Old News. Pass it on.....

Proving by disproving (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17774108)

As in many other things, it's now common to prove things by disproving everything else. Now by disproving the existence of any water on the surface, they're convinced of a huge storehouse of water underground.

They just keep on hoping (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17774392)

They just keep on hoping. We haven't found any sign of it anywhere yet (secondary evidence like erosion channels means little unless you actually see them being created), so let's say it must (might) be here where we can't look at all yet. Impossible to prove a negative.

Re:They just keep on hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17779294)

Have you completely missed the evidence gathered by the rovers? They actually pretty much proved that there was once huge bodies of water floating on the surface of Mars.
Then there was some recent news about the nasa Mars orbiter finding evidence that suggest that there has been some outflow of liquid somewhere between 2000 and 2005, which at the moment can only be explained by liquid water. They actually have a photograph from before and after the eruption, so that is pretty damn close to witnessing it.

History of Mars Water (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17779978)

1973: There MAY be water on Mars.

1977: There MIGHT be water on Mars.

1997: There is POSSIBLY water on Mars.

2004: There is PERHAPS water on Mars.

2007: There COULD be water on Mars.

I am beginning to see a trend here, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
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