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Scientists now have solid evidence to show that ice under the Martian surface varies in depth from location to location

After continuing to receive more detailed information about Mars, U.S. scientists now believe that it is possible that up to half of the Martian surface is covered by ice.  The problem that researchers continue to face is that underground ice depth varies from location to location -- while it can be directly on the surface in one spot, it can be several feet deep just a few feet away.

"We find the top layer of soil has a huge effect on the water ice in the ground," said Arizona State University's Joshua Bandfield.  It was previously believed that Martian ice could be found anywhere from 3 to 6 feet below the surface -- Bandfield's research indicates that it is possible ice can be found just two inches underneath the surface.

Bandfield compares seasonal changes in thermal infrared patterns, after the data was collected with the NASA Odyssey spacecraft, to be able to accurately estimate readings within several hundred feet.  Dusty areas insulate ice, while locations on the surface with large amounts of rocks help pump a lot of heat into the ground -- something that increases the depth where ice will be found.

The Phoenix Mars Mission launches in August; the aim of the mission to put a craft on the surface of Mars to sample the ice.  

Researchers are now trying to estimate how deep the ice on the surface could be.  It is believed that the ice deposits are deep enough that they would cause the creation of large oceans if the deposits were to melt.

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RE: And now.. what's in it?
By 3kliksphilip on 5/3/2007 12:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
We need to suck some of the atmosphere (The CO2) out of venus and dispense it on mars until it gets to Earth-like temperatures, then the ice will melt and we'll have another planet to inhabit/spoil!

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 5/3/07, Rating: 0
RE: And now.. what's in it?
By hubajube on 5/3/2007 1:58:47 PM , Rating: 3
yes, spoil another planet... They are just all our for the taking anyway, right???
Oh yes, earth is such a shit hole. . I don't know where you live, but I live in a beautiful desert area. Quite a bit of difference than where I'm from (Pennsylvania - quite green and beautiful too) but I love the varying shades of red, green, and brown. I find it fascinating and stare quite a bit at nature.

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By greenchasch on 5/3/2007 2:25:19 PM , Rating: 3
yes, spoil another planet... They are just all our for the taking anyway, right???
If we don't own them, who do you think they belong to? At 700 degrees on the surface, I don't think we need to worry about any Venusian natives. I also don't think cooling the planet down a bit would be "spoiling" it for anyone.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 5/3/2007 3:12:35 PM , Rating: 2
I’m getting the impression my sarcastic remark was missed by at least 3 people, hence the negative rating. I guess my humor is a little to dry for some…

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By masher2 on 5/3/2007 1:26:01 PM , Rating: 5
> "We need to suck some of the atmosphere (The CO2) out of venus and dispense it on mars until it gets to Earth-like temperatures"

Despite the common perception, CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas. It absorbs in a relatively narrow band of infrared and, no matter how high the concentration, can only exert a certain maximum warming effect.

We'd have much better luck by putting a large amount of water vapor into the Martian atmosphere.

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By ADDAvenger on 5/3/2007 2:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, and the greater problem is Mars' weak gravity (and lack of a magnetic field) that caused it to lose so much of its atmosphere in the first place. Granted, I don't think it's going to bleed atmosphere so fast that it will revert to normal in ten or even a hundred lifetimes, but if we're talking about something on this large of a scale we may as well consider something on this long of a timescale.

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By Tsuwamono on 5/3/2007 3:44:42 PM , Rating: 2
although you obviously know your gases you apparently do not know that Mars cannot support an atmosphere as it has no magnetic field therefore anything you put into it will just be washed away by solar winds.

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By masher2 on 5/3/2007 3:57:15 PM , Rating: 4
Mars can support an atmosphere. Indeed, it still has one today, albeit a very thin one.

If man possessed the ability to thicken the atmosphere substantially, it would eventually bleed off to outer space. Eventually. In a few hundred thousand years or so. And of course, if we could terraform it in the first place, we could certainly keep manage to sustain it across loss at such an agonizingly slow-- by human terms-- pace.

BTW, you may be interested in the recent research coming from the Swedish Institute of Space Physis, which discounts solar winds as the cause of Martian atmospheric loss.

By SquidianLoveGod on 5/3/2007 9:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
But because of the lack of a magnetic field, It cannot support a substantial atmosphere, And its been proven that the atmosphere is still leaking into space.

I reckon' we should just sticky tape giganticle magnets to the top and bottom of mars. That would fix all those issues.

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By CollegeTechGuy on 5/3/2007 4:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just guessing here, but the earths magnetic fields come from the core, where supposedly theres a huge mass of some kind of metal. I say supposedly and some kind of because no one has ever been to the core. Anyways what we would have to do to get Mars habitable is to steal some metal from another planet, put it in mars's core and melt all the ice.

Alright someone call Superman and tell him to find alot of iron and force it into mars's core and use his laser eyes to melt the ice.

By SquidianLoveGod on 5/3/2007 9:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
Your correct the earths core is made from metal. (And not foam like we all believed!)
And I doubt anyone would goto the core, the pressures and heat are far to great for a human being to withstand. Not to mention it requires allot of digging with a spoon to reach that depth.

Mars also has a core, But it has cooled down and become solid, which is what will happen to earth eventually, and thus lost the magnetic field, and thus; Lost most of its atmosphere.
I think we should just build a giant microwave.
Heat up mars, and add a new rocky cover and call it a new round mars bar.

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By CollegeTechGuy on 5/3/2007 4:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
Put a large ammount of water vapor into the Mars atmosphere...seems like i've heard of that before. Oh ya, the Governer of California did it. He pushed a button on a piece of alien technology and it super heated the ice on mars and put steam in the atmosphere creating breathable air.

In all honesty its not a bad idea the movie had, but the question is how do we do it without the alien technology?

RE: And now.. what's in it?
By masher2 on 5/3/2007 4:42:13 PM , Rating: 2
> "how do we do it without the alien technology?"

Divert a large ice comet passing nearby is the most likely scenario. There are other possibilities, but most require technology considerably in advance of what we control today.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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