There’s Water on Mars

Today’s press conference for the Phoenix Mars Lander presented some fascinating information. All indications are that there is in fact water on Mars. The landing current landing site was chosen as a place where ice was very likely to exist, based on subsurface hydrogen detected by the orbiting 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

The first soil samples taken from the surface of Mars showed a tendency for the soil to clump together. There was also a visible presence of a white substance, that sometimes appeared to form layers below the soil surface.

More test trenches were dug this week, and photographs of the trenches show something very interesting.

sol-comparisons

Look in the bottom left of the trench in the Sol 20 frame on the left. There are several white clumps of material there that you can see even more clearly in the insert. Now look at the Sol24 frame. The clumps of white material have disappeared. Where did they go?

NASA scientists say this is exactly what they expected to happen when they found water on Mars. Remember, it is extremely cold there. Water boils at 4 degrees Celsius on Mars. It moves from solid to vapor form almost instantly, leaving little evidence of a liquid state. Moisture may contribute to the soil clumping, but the soil never appears wet.

The scientists next action will be to move some of the white clumps in to a TEGA oven. TEGA is the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer that “bakes and sniffs” out the chemical composition of the soil. They will also use the MECA to examine results.

The MECA is Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, which is a wet chemistry lab that measures levels of acidity, minerals, and conductivity in dirt samples. It will help the team determine the possibility of “livability of Mars.” The Phoenix Mars Lander does not have the means to determine if there is life on Mars, it is meant to find whether the basic building blocks for life are present in the soil of Mars.

For an more detailed article on today’s press release, follow this link: NASA Press Release

You keep coming back. Looks like there is more to come on this story.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on June 21, 2008 at 5:46 am  Comments (1)  
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News From Under the Phoenix Mars Lander

Images from the Phoenix Mars Lander are returning very interesting information. The photos appear to be supporting the idea that there is a layer of solid ice just below the shallow soil surface of Mars. NASA states that the camera on the robotic arm took this picture.

That could be ice on Mars

The Thrusters have removed from two to six inches of soil and now we see a very solid surface below. Is the robotic arm up to “digging” in to that stuff? It appears we will have to wait until June 2, 2008, when NASA has announced they will have news conference to tell us all about the Mission to Mars.

You are getting the “Public” view (per NASA) of the mission through my eyes. Admittedly, I have been watching NASA more closely since viewing a video that presented evidence that NASA might not have been totally truthful with the Public about the manned mission to the Moon.

I have made several posts regarding the Phoenix Mars Lander and its’ entry in to the Martian atmosphere. You will find those posts, and a neat animation of the landing on the  Phoenix Mars Lander Page.

You can also be a Public  visitor at the NASA website and sees that latest pictures and animations. The titles to their animated gifs made me think they had the robotic arm loose from the sheathing that still wrapped it. Their pictures don’t support that idea. Take a look for yourself. I don’t see where that arm has moved anywhere.

NASA really does have some great animations of the mission on their website, even though they are not providing a lot of hard facts on the current mission status. Check out this link for the latest on the Mars Mission.

NASA – Hard Substrate, Possibly Ice, Uncovered Under the Mars Lander

Other than that, it is just another day in Paradise.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on June 1, 2008 at 12:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Phoenix lands on Mars tonight

There must be a reason, but I have no idea what it is. It has been a very slow day on the Internet. I haven’t been able to get a good connection this morning.

This has happened before, and then things take off again. The question is, why does this happen? I am getting the feeling that it is something that is beyond my control. Things do constantly change, but darn when they don’t go the way I wish.

My concerns today are small potatoes compared to the boys at NASA are experiencing. Ten months ago they sent the Phoenix Lander off to Mars. Yep, ten months out in space and it is due to land on Mars tonight.

The landing sequence begins at 7:30 PM (EDT). The Phoenix Lander has travelled 423 million miles. It is expected the Phoenix Lander will plant its three metal feet on the North Pole of Mars with the help of thrusters and parachutes at 7:53 PM tonight.

So much accomplished, but NASA is most concerned about the last seven seconds of the flight. They will have to wait fifteen minutes for the camera pictures to reach the Earth to know whether The Phoenix Lander has landed right side up!

That could be a long wait. I happen to know NASA has not had success trying this in the past. Only five of the last eleven Mars probes have succeeded.

It is a grand journey, but watching first attempts are sometimes frustrating. I hope everyone at NASA has a wonderful evening watching great pictures from Mars. They are due for a good evening.

I have already watched the animated version on uTube and it went just fine. That video is posted on the main page of Uduzit, and if you are wondering about the shovel, it is for soil samples. Soil having water equals the potential for life on Mars.

Hope the locals have a sense of humor, should we happen to dig up someone’s microb garden while there.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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