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Water on Mars  (Source: Finding Dulcinea)
Studying the ratios of isotopes in Mars' carbon dioxide shows history of water on Mars

Measurements by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander have determined that liquid water has had a presence throughout Mars' history. 

In 2008, the Phoenix performed measurements of stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon in the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere on Mars. These measurements were taken by the Evolved Gas Analyzer, which is part of the Phoenix's Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA). TEGA was built at the University of Arizona and has a mass spectrometer capable of better analyses of carbon dioxide than those on NASA's Viking landers (these were the only others with instruments that could compile results on Mars' isotopic composition). To perform its task, the TEGA instrument opened a "pin-point-sized" hole while a puff of Mars' atmosphere was sucked into its chamber with a vacuum.

"We use the TEGA instrument as a crime scene investigator," said William V. Boynton, a professor at the Lunar and Planetary Lab in the UA's department of planetary sciences and co-author of the paper. "Like a chemical fingerprint, isotopes tell us what process is responsible for making the material we are studying."

Figuring out the ratios of isotopes in Mars' carbon dioxide offers new information on the complete history of volcanic activity and water on Mars' surface. Based on the measurements, liquid water has existed on Mars' surface at freezing temperatures, which means that hydrothermal systems (much like hot springs at Yellowstone National Park here on Earth) have played a small part on Mars' surface throughout the planet's history, but has been present nonetheless.

"Atmospheric carbon dioxide is like a chemical spy," said Paul Niles, a space scientist at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and lead author of the paper. "It infiltrates every part of the surface of Mars and can indicate the presence of water and its history."

Other results from the TEGA analysis concluded that both Mars' carbon dioxide has proportions of oxygen and carbon isotopes much like the carbon dioxide found in Earth's atmosphere. The analysis noted two key clues that shows that Mars is both "geologically active" and that water has been present on the planet throughout its history. 

First, Mars has recently replenished its atmospheric carbon dioxide because an older atmosphere would contain more of the carbon-13 isotope, and Mars has seen a significant loss in this particular isotope. The results suggest that the atmosphere was replenished with carbon dioxide from volcanoes, meaning Mars is more active than previously thought.

Second, the measurements were compared to Martian meteorites that fell to the Earth after being hurled into space, and the meteorites had carbonate materials that could only form in the presence of carbon dioxide and liquid water. One meteorite in particular crystallized about 170 million years ago, which is considered recent in Mars' geological time, and contains carbonates with "isotopic proportions that match the atmospheric measurements by Phoenix." This tells us that water has been present on Mars recently and in the past, and there's enough of it to manipulate the composition of the planet's atmosphere. And for water to exist under Mars' cold and dry conditions, it has remained near its freezing point.

"The findings do not reveal specific locations or dates of liquid water and volcanic vents," said Niles. "But geologically recent occurrences of those conditions provide the best explanations for the isotope proportions we found."

The study was published in the September 10 issue of Science.



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Wait for it...
By gamerk2 on 9/13/2010 10:26:04 AM , Rating: -1
I'm waiting for the Creationists to point out that radiometric dating is a flawed science...

What? We all know they'll be barging in here by the end of the day; they always do.




RE: Wait for it...
By RugMuch on 9/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Wait for it...
By Iaiken on 9/13/2010 11:13:13 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
all your evidence says that you found isotopes which turned into water.


That's not what the evidence said at all...

The evidence said that carbonates (the most obvious of these is calcium carbonate, or calcite), which require liquid water for natural formation, are present on mars.

This means one of two things:

- There was liquid water on Mars at some point
- The calcite came from somewhere else

Now they've found these carbonates it on Mars and they've recovered it from several Martian meteorites here on earth. The possibility that these carbonate deposits first came to Mars from somewhere else and then were re-ejected by an impact and found their way to Earth is so improbable that it borders on impossible.

As such, we can only conclude that the simpler of the two answers is the correct one. That there was liquid water on mars in which these carbonates crystals grew as recently as 170,000 years ago.

Why does this frighten you so much?

Beyond that, your statement of Atheists thinking that the world revolves around them is laughable. Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps they better realize how utterly insignificant they are in comparison to the broad scope of of time and space in the universe at large? No, I would argue that the people who need to argue the existence of some greater being who loves them above all else as being the self-centered ones.

From there your argument devolves into incoherent drivel that a politer person would simply ignore.

Anyway, thanks for the laugh.


RE: Wait for it...
By RugMuch on 9/13/2010 11:17:30 AM , Rating: 4
Hope you caught
quote:
/s
it is usually understood to sarcastic and I was just taking a piss.


RE: Wait for it...
By FITCamaro on 9/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Wait for it...
By Iaiken on 9/13/2010 1:45:02 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
In case you've never read the Bible, God is kind of a prick.


Especially in the old testament, but I'm going to skip the entire polarity argument of god being good, bad, neutral, fallible , infallible, etc... It's been done to death between theologians and philosophers and I've come to the conclusion that god is none of the above because gods are man-made and not the other way around.

quote:
I think the complete denial of a "God" is pretty stupid and ignorant. Main reason being, regardless of your (lack of) faith, we just don't know.


This is where you show your own ignorance of others beliefs and make the mistake of thinking you are right or that I think I am right.

Look at it this way, even if a creator does exist, I don't care. My family, friends and wife love me and we treat each other exceptionally well and we didn't need the fear of god to do so.

I have no fear of damnation because any god petty enough to damn me for not worshiping it is simply not worth my worship in the first place. Catch 22.

And yet the reward of existing for eternity is another selfish creation of mortal fearful men. It brings me no pain to think that when I die, I will cease to exist except in peoples memories and that those will fade with time and I will simply cease to be.

You can freak out about that all you like, it won't change my character, but it will certainly give me a better idea about yours.


RE: Wait for it...
By timmiser on 9/13/2010 8:05:25 PM , Rating: 3
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, cuz the sinners are much more fun!


RE: Wait for it...
By hr824 on 9/13/2010 1:45:47 PM , Rating: 3
I believe leprechauns and unicorns rule the universe, I think a complete denial of leprechauns and unicorns is pretty stupid and ignorant. Main reason being, regardless of your lack of faith we just don't know.


RE: Wait for it...
By acer905 on 9/13/2010 6:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, whatever some people call "God" is in actuality a hybrid unicorn-leprechaun?

I like to view things this way, rate up if you like, or down as well.

From the structure of the universe we have seen thus far, it is apparent that there is a structure. There are many scientific laws that have been discovered, and that are universal constants. Were there to be no guiding force in the universe, thee laws could not exist, pure chaos would not allow it. Whether you believe there is a sentient being which imposes order, or not, the fact is that the universe does not exist in a state of pure chaos.

Nobody invented physics, Newton was not an all powerful being capable of influencing the way objects interact, he just figured out how they did. We have no power to fundamentally affect the structure of the universe. We can observe it, change some bits, but equilibrium will always return, everything seeks lowest energy.

For thousands of years we have tried to understand what we cannot, and for countless years to come we will continue. The key is simply understanding that by definition, in an infinite universe, anything is possible, so one should never completely dismiss anything.

Bit of a rant, but I felt it was worth sayin...


RE: Wait for it...
By TSS on 9/13/2010 1:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
If we truely don't know, how can you claim god is a prick? Just because you read it in a 2000 year old book written by a bunch of men who claimed it's from some magical beared guy in the sky?

Complete denial is better then "we just don't know". As we just don't know isn't practical in this life. That assesment will lead to only 1 thing: "It's better to be safe then sorry". Thus, people will live as if god exists, rather then when he does not.

This has lead to all the horrors the various religions have committed throughout history. Because If no god exists, nothing'll happen after their dead, but if he does exist, they will go to heaven.

Not beeing able to pick a side is ignorant and stupid, not to mention spineless. If my attitude means i'm going to hell, so be it. Atleast i'll die with a clear conscience. I'll be damned if it isn't the right thing to do (pun intended).


RE: Wait for it...
By AstroGuardian on 9/13/2010 6:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
What? You believe in god? Any proof that god exists?

I'll tell you what, you believe (in god) cause you don't have a clue about the thing surrounding you. So stop believing and start knowing!


RE: Wait for it...
By RivuxGamma on 9/14/2010 8:49:48 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I think the complete denial of a "God" is pretty stupid and ignorant. Main reason being, regardless of your (lack of) faith, we just don't know.


That's about the worst reason I've heard to believe in anything.


RE: Wait for it...
By pwnsweet on 9/13/2010 9:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The possibility that these carbonate deposits first came to Mars from somewhere else and then were re-ejected by an impact and found their way to Earth is so improbable that it borders on impossible.


Impossible like the likelihood that the universe began with a big bang, Earth is placed at the perfect distance from the sun to sustain life and we all evolved from a single celled organism?


RE: Wait for it...
By zippyzoo on 9/13/2010 2:01:59 PM , Rating: 1
I love the wine part, because it's back asswards like these C h ry sties


RE: Wait for it...
By MrBlastman on 9/13/2010 10:54:15 AM , Rating: 2
Will you just can it with the anti-Creationist crap for once? Where in this article did it mention anything at all about Creationism or Evolution?

IT DID NOT ANYWHERE

So, what is the point of your post other than to try and hijack an otherwise interesting article? Also, nowhere in Creationism does it prevent the ability for life, elements or matter to exist elsewhere besides Earth.

I find it intriguing that through atmospheric analysis they were able to determine that water has a high probability of having existed in liquid form in the past on Mars. I'd be curious, as we all still are, as to where the water has gone since then. Of course, there is the frozen ice on the poles--but, I highly doubt Mars's orbit shifted enough to allow it both to accumulate (a violation of Gravity as the shape of Mars does not allow it to flow all to there) and freeze in these extreme latitudes.

Perhaps, instead, Mars was used as a staging area for extrasolar sentient life in their travels and visits to and from Earth, thus drawing from the water reserves. What I find curious though not mentioned in the article is that the atmospheric pressure of Mars itself is a huge preventer of liquid water from existing for a significant time.


RE: Wait for it...
By RugMuch on 9/13/2010 11:15:25 AM , Rating: 2
What type of retarded sapience is this

quote:
Perhaps, instead, Mars was used as a staging area for extrasolar sentient life in their travels and visits to and from Earth, thus drawing from the water reserves.


Right and Xenu raced across the earth in his chariot with lakes fire and ice and plopped it down on mars. Which thought of magic are you referring to the Chariots of the Gods? or Scientology?


RE: Wait for it...
By FITCamaro on 9/13/2010 12:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
So now you, the evolutionist, is denying that there might be life centuries ahead of ourselves in space travel? How do we know that aliens didn't take all the water from Mars to Earth because Mars was dying and Earth was seen as a viable planet for teraforming. Might be where the genesis story came from.


RE: Wait for it...
By JKflipflop98 on 9/14/2010 5:52:03 AM , Rating: 2
Wow.


RE: Wait for it...
By MrBlastman on 9/13/2010 12:28:10 PM , Rating: 2
Retarded sapience? Do you proclaim yourself to possess infinite wisdom and in the grandeur of your illusionment proclaim freely that mankind is the sole sentient lifeform in the entire universe?

I should hope not, in fact, I do hope you don't.

quote:
Right and Xenu raced across the earth in his chariot with lakes fire and ice and plopped it down on mars. Which thought of magic are you referring to the Chariots of the Gods? or Scientology?


So basically you are saying Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Freeman Dyson and the rest of the scientific and science fiction community are all a bunch of Scientolgy crackpots? Oh wow. That is amazing. Are you that blind?

Scientology is a crock of crap but honestly, to place anyone and everyone that actually believes in extraterrestrial life (some of which whom are Christian) is absolutely unbelievable. Pick up your Bible and read it cover to cover. Then, after you do so, come and talk with me about where inside it that it says life outside of Earth cannot exist. Here's a hint: the God you yourself worship... created our gift of science!


RE: Wait for it...
By RugMuch on 9/13/2010 1:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
This is for both FITCamaro and MrBlastman. First, if you answered the question and not assume you know where the logical premise of the question was heading you wouldn't have to write your uninteresting diatribe. From reading MrBlastman's posts I am completely lost on whether we are misunderstanding each other or at complete different conclusions.

FITCamaro really we moved water from a dieing planet to a baren planet, you say earth, instead of moving it to say Venus second most livable planet today in our solar system?, because it has water. Also, we no longer have that technology that can move worlds of water across the solar system? I never denied aliens, and i don't, but if you read about Xenu or thought about the premise of CoG? you could determine the insanity.

quote:
Might be where the genesis story came from.


But, I do love your logic, not that we really can track any of our tales except back to Hercules/Oedipus theology this might be what happen. Should I take your comment as fluff or should I start basing all your evidence on it. I mean write a paper man that way we can laugh you out of a room. No wait we will say were giving you a nobel and gank it, then laugh and laugh.


RE: Wait for it...
By Iaiken on 9/13/2010 11:22:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course, there is the frozen ice on the poles--but, I highly doubt Mars's orbit shifted enough to allow it both to accumulate (a violation of Gravity as the shape of Mars does not allow it to flow all to there) and freeze in these extreme latitudes.


With a time frame as near as 170,000 years (as projected by isotope ratios) it is unlikely that there was any significant orbital shift or atmospheric temperature/pressure changes during that time.

We know that there are huge ice caps on Mars, but we don't know how they got there or why there doesn't seem to be any ice anywhere else. I'd be interested in seeing experiments on the long-term sublimation of ice crystals in conditions like those of Mars. Perhaps it could answer some of these questions...


RE: Wait for it...
By Darnell021 on 9/13/2010 11:27:35 AM , Rating: 2
It's truly saddening to read your post as it seems you're trying to use real logic in order to disprove the idea of water on Mars based on the classic "I'll believe it when I see it" cop-out. Yet you're quick to make up a ridiculous theory that Mars was just a "staging area for extrasolar sentient life". Is that really how creationists reason with modern science? Yikes..

Scientists look at Mars and try to use real data to surmise the most accurate story of the history surrounding the planet. You're comment makes a Creationist sound like they would rather have an elaborate story and ignore empirical data.


RE: Wait for it...
By FITCamaro on 9/13/2010 12:38:46 PM , Rating: 2
Having talked with a friend of mine who is a devout Christian and creationist, no that is not what they think.

However his point that it is all a best guess is perfectly valid. Personally I wish more resources were spent on getting to Mars than understanding where it came from. There are just some things that man cannot understand or explain.

That is the thing that pisses me off most about hardcore evolutionists. That they think they can or already do. There's so many "well we think this and you can't prove otherwise" facts today its not even funny. But when the one of God is brought in THATS the one that is somehow unbelievable and evil.


RE: Wait for it...
By MrBlastman on 9/13/2010 12:38:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Scientists look at Mars and try to use real data to surmise the most accurate story of the history surrounding the planet. You're comment makes a Creationist sound like they would rather have an elaborate story and ignore empirical data.


Where the hell do you pull this crap out of, your rectum?

The second some idiots on here see "Creation" in a post, they go all out assuming that,

a. They are a Creationist
and because of "a."
b. They are a dumbnut that have no clue about science or reality.

I was posting ideas and asking vague questions, ideas and questions then lead to the formation of a hypothesis, which leads to experiments and tests, ultimately drawing of a conclusion from them as to whether it was true or false.

Of course we use data! That is what this article is about, data based on atmospheric samples. It however led to further questions--as any true scientist would draw from the collection of data because it answered a piece of the puzzle, but did not solve the whole puzzle by itself!

Per your comment:

quote:
Scientists look at Mars and try to use real data to surmise the most accurate story of the history surrounding the planet.


I did not once say something contrary to it. However, thank you for your ignorant inferences towards my premise (in your eyes). Your post is a complete blunder in assumption.


RE: Wait for it...
By nuarbnellaffej on 9/13/2010 8:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
Your idea about aliens terraforming mars to use as a staging area to get to earth or what ever is ludicrous. Not saying its impossible, but you completely pulled that idea out of your imagination.


RE: Wait for it...
By carnage519 on 9/13/2010 8:17:10 PM , Rating: 2
Try not to view all "creationist" as the same. Not all religious people buy into the dogma of the western church. As a Hindu I have much respect for all life in on Earth, and in other places. The Vedas speak, and later writings speak of life here, in the "heavens", other universes (Multiverse M-Theory etc).. I see no point in battling science, and have great respect for the ever changing discoveries in it.


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