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Image captured by Phoenix Mars lander  (Source: NASA)
There have been numerous traces of possible water on Mars, but astronomers are still looking for definitive proof

Researchers believe they have found evidence of liquid salt water on the Red Planet of Mars, with the discovery thanks to the NASA's Phoenix Mars lander.

Several images captured by Phoenix show what appear to be water droplets located on one of the rover's landing struts, which now makes researchers believe there could be liquid water somewhere under the surface of the planet.

"A large number of independent physical and thermodynamical evidence shows that saline water may actually be common on Mars," according to University of Michigan professor Nilton Renno.  "Liquid water is an essential ingredient for life.  This discovery has important implications to many areas of planetary exploration, including the habitability of Mars."

Renno worded his report very carefully, explaining that the discovery has "important implications," but not outright saying it's proof of water liquid.

Although the temperature in the northern plains of Mars didn't go above minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit while the Phoenix was there for a six-month period in 2008, researchers still believe there could be pockets of water under the surface.  The presence of high amounts of salt may have caused the freezing temperature of water on Mars down to minus 90 degrees, which is about 120 degrees colder than Earth's 32 degree freezing temperature for water.

There are numerous spots on Mars that could be salty enough that it's unlikely they'll be able to freeze without the temperature dropping to minus 100 degrees or further, scientists said.

The report is still highly controversial, despite 22 different scientists signing onto the report -- NASA never brought up the discovery, seeing how the evidence may not be enough.

Each discovery of possible signs of liquid water or ice helps researchers hone in on locations space probes and satellites can examine during future missions.

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By safcman84 on 3/19/2009 10:16:07 AM , Rating: 2
How can a scientists use Fahrenheit as a measurement of temperature??
The scientific units for temperature are either degrees Celsius or Kelvin (which is used mainly for thermodynamic temperature).

The fact that they use Fahrenheit shows to me exactly why they managed to make a satellite/probe crash into Mars by confusing meters and feet.

By nafhan on 3/19/2009 10:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
The scientists probably did use Kelvins (maybe C) and then someone converted it to Farenheit for the news article as F is more familiar to most US readers.

By safcman84 on 3/19/2009 11:02:20 AM , Rating: 1
for the greater good of the american scientific community:

I hope you are right

By drebo on 3/19/2009 12:30:45 PM , Rating: 4
Is one more precise than the other? No. So why does it matter? Every country has it's own idioms and cultural quirks. These are American scientists being reported on by an American news paper. Why shouldn't they use American units of measure?

Smell that? It's the burning wood of your soap box.

By Suntan on 3/19/2009 1:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
(which is used mainly for thermodynamic temperature).

As a degreed engineer with a specilty in thermodynamics and over a decade developing refrigeration systems, I have to say I've never come across the term "thermodynamic temperature."

In any case, I can assure you that people in these related technical feilds (I have never heard anyone in any branch of science call themselves "a scientist") are quite capable of using °F just fine, its not that hard.


By tjr508 on 3/19/2009 11:01:02 PM , Rating: 1

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