NASA Briefing: Current Water on Mars?

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rlb2

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<font color="orange">that seems viable. like geysers, but more sporadic than earthly ones.<font color="white"><br /><br />Water is much more explosive, boils away at a much higher rate, in a 7 millibar atmosphere.</font></font> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Ron Bennett </div>
 
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JonClarke

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<i>perhaps you meant eastern and western hemisphere...</i><br /><br />Nope, I definitely mean the northern and southern mid latitudes. The map below shows what i mean. the areas in pink are where gullies occur,in the mid latitudes of both hemispheres. In brown is the mutually exclusive areas where slope streaks are found. The image is from here<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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rlb2

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Here from "Mars images" on this board is a peak from the past from us talking about this same subject with images illustrating the streaks from Surveyor and Odyssey in 2004.<br /><br />http://uplink.space.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=sciastro&Number=1358&page=18&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=0&fpart=9&vc=1<br /><br /><font color="yellow">I call them geyser vents, small mounds with holes in the center. You would be amazed at what else <br />I found going though old images of Surveyors and Odyssey. I am putting together another page <br />to my web site, which will fill more than 50 images of unseen hidden wonders. It is truly amazing <br />how much detail I have extracted out of those images.<br /></font> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Ron Bennett </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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It's not cheap, but it's some of the best money I spend.<br />I never run out of material to read <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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robnissen

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"So I say "Send that MSL rover to Hellas!" "<br /><br />NASA is concerned about contaminating any potential current life, so it is my understanding that unfortunately NASA plans to send the MSL only to a place that definitetly DOES NOT have liquid water. DAMN that prime directive <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> (For all the killjoys in the audience, I know the prime directive is fictional from Star Trek.)
 
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JonClarke

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As I understand it they don't want to land the rover where there is a chance of liquid water in the event of a crash. But the rover can drive to a spot where there might be liquid water.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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bonzelite

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<font color="yellow"><br />The water lake might not evaporate so quickly if it is ice covered, </font><br /><br />michael malin suggests this in the press statement. i posted a link to this on the first page.
 
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JonClarke

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Several things to remember. <br /><br />1) Boiling is not an instantaneous phenomenon. It will take time for the water to boil away, time in which the water can flow a significant distance.<br /><br />2) As far as I can tell from the coordinates, the Centauri Montes region where one of the flows occurred, lies below the zero datum on Mars which means that liquid water will not boil away.<br /><br />3) The lack of observed erosion may simply mean that the image resolution is insufficent to see any or that the flow was not erosive. Malin et al. infer the deposit as being a mud flow, these are not erosive.<br /><br />4) The Eberswalde (Holden NE) crater delta is also below datum, meaning that sustained fluid flow is possible. The delta is also very old, and a higher past atmospheric pressure is likely.<br /><br />5) The snow pack idea is good for gullies associated with plastered on material. However there is no sign of such deposits associated with these two flows.<br /><br />6) Thanks for the Norbert paper, I had not seen that. It's most interesting. The critical observation that connects the slope streaks to water, based on more than 23,000 observations, is that they only occur where the peak temperatures rise about 275 degrees. The author suggest that sublimation of small amounts of water (frost perhaps) , triggers slope instabilities in the thick dust mantle. Much of the area where slope streaks occur is above datum as well.<br /><br />7) I am not sure there is any point invoking liquid SO2, H2O is far more common and thus more likely.<br /><br />8) I don't believe the pure acid story. Acids are rapidly buffered by reaction with rock. To main acid waters on Earth the acidity must be constantly generated through oxidation of reduced sulphur of volcanic gases. If the waters are acidic on Mars, what's generating that acidity? <br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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bonzelite

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a valid thought, yes. and it is nonetheless amazing to me that mars evidently displays such diversity not only as seen from the ground-based twin rover data but from data captured from orbit. it is a fantastic world that apparently possesses a dynamic atmosphere and geology. this is an exiting time to witness our sciences on the cusp of pioneering these developments. never before have we seen such things, and we only discover something for the first time once. we are among these discoveries right now. and it just seems to be getting even more exciting. <br /><br />with ever strengtheing evidence for fluvial activity, serpentinization of minerals seems nearly absolutely a given. this can either enhance a case for the methane presence due to an olivine/CO2 reaction, or, too, lead to even greater speculation about biotic processes. where there is smoke there is fire. <br /><br />evidently, there is a seasonal increase in the presence of methane and water vapour most concentrated in the vallis marineris region (if i recall correctly). being that this region is basically a huge scar cutting deep into the land, this may reveal that the water and possible biotic metabolism is nearly entirely below ground. <br /><br />it is at least very frustratingly curious. <br /><br />do you know of any spectral or other data that confirms ubiquitous olivine in this region? i know there was a thread about this a year ago or so. maybe JonClarke can speak to this. <br /><br />
 
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JonClarke

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Indeed, olivine has been reported spectrally from Mare Sirenum in this paper from Centauri Montes but not as yet from Promethei (AFAIK).<br /><br />But remember though that olivine forms serpentinites only at high temperatures, at low temperatures it just forms clays and hydroxides.<br /><br />It would be interesting if CRISM or OMEGA detect clay alteration asociated with these gullies. But there is always the problem of blanketing dust.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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bonzelite

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then if i'm reading you correctly, it would practically require massive internal heating for an olivine/CO2 reaction in the presence of ground water? so the methane and water vapour content, if abiotic, is a signature of geothermal processes? what kind of temperatures are you implying? <br /><br />
 
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JonClarke

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As I recall serpentinisation occurs at temperatures of 200-600 degrees. You can tell the temperature from the minerals. Lizardite forms at low temperatures and breaks down at the higher end. Antigorite forms at the highest temperatures My metamorphic petyrology books are all at work, though.<br /><br />Likewise from memory, serpentinisation released hydrogen only. Formation of methanes and other hydrocarbons occurs through Fischer Tropsch synthesis where CO2 or CO react with the H2. The F-T reaction (which is an industrial process) can also work where where you get reaction H2O and CO2 in the resence of a reductant like pyrite or magnetite. It happens at several 100 degrees.<br /><br />Serpentinisation is exothermic, so the water flow does not cool the rock. Once it starts it is self perpentuating until either the olivine is exhausted, or the water supply &%$#@!s off.<br /><br />Jon <br /><br /><i>added in edit -How the dickens does the fiter dislike the word s h u t ????</i> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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vandivx

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"One idea is that the rivers were not surface rivers, but transported beneath a caked layer of mud that prevented direct contact with the atmosphere. Some of that mud made the sediments that got deposited in the delta."<br /><br />from seeing Mars images for some time I have to say that it is fairly common to see water like eroded gullies that start from some elevation on crater walls, that is originate from a certain soil layer some distance below the general surface ground surrounding the crater<br /><br />that would be no 'caked layer of mud' covering the liquid but a solid layer of deep Mars soil covering the extensive underground liquid 'plateaus' (sp) <br /><br />I wouldn't go as far as to say it is water but it is definitely some liquid that exists underground at certain layers (same as here on Earth water layers exist between clay and the soil above it) and this liquid breaks on surface here and there and flows for a bit before it evaporates or more often it breaks out of crater walls and flows down to crater floor making those gullies in process<br /><br />I feel it won't be long now before we will get direct evidence, ie, witnessing the just happening flow someplace, we just have to move around Mars for a bit longer as it is just a matter of time IMO<br /><br />vanDivX <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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bonzelite

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ok, as i follow you, the chemical reaction of the F-T result produces heat? or does it <i>require</i> heat? <br /><br />so magmatic, ie, molten, CO2 is a source for CH4; am i following correctly? <br /><br />if this is correct, then mars must have a very hot interior like in Yellowstone Park with geysers and such.
 
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silylene old

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<font color="yellow">Remember, when cooking, salt lowers the boiling point; this would only aggravate and make less tenable the view that there was surface flow of water entrained with fine bright material.</font><br /><br />This is <b>incorrect</b>.<br /><br />Adding salt raises the boiling point significantly, according to the following equation:<br />deltaT (B.P.)=i·K·m<br /><br />where i = number of ions formed during salt dissociation<br />k = constant of the solvent (water in this case k = 0.51 C/molal))<br />m = molality <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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You need hot water to start the reaction off, but once it starts the reaction released fuether heat, and can caue the temperature to rise even further.<br /><br />The heat can be supplied by the geothermal gradient. We don't know what this is on Mars, it could be 10-20 degrees km. So you would start getting serpentinisation at depths of 10-20 km. of course local heating by high level magma chambers would raise temperatures to this value at much shallower depths. Even on Mars 1 km of hydrostatic head would allow water to remaining liquid at temperatures of 200 degrees. <br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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bonzelite

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would sulfur dioxide <i>necessarily</i> need to be detected on the surface for a geothermal gradient/magma chamber to exist?
 
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JonClarke

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A lot would dpend on whether or not it was a high sulphur magma. Also whether or not vapours could escape to the surface. <br /><br />From an astrobiological point of view a conduit containing sulphure gases, methane, hydrogen and hot water would be a very attractive target.<br /><br />Eventually of course the intrusion would cool down and cease to be a heat and gas source. But there are areas on Mars which have had (from crater counts) volcanic activity in the last few million years. So there may be some warm splots. I read somewhere that a systematic search has been made using THEMIS, but none has turned up. The possibility is still there though, especially if the thermal activity is low.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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Anonymous

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Hey, Jon, <br /> A case for you to solve ...<br /> "The case of missing Mars water"<br /> See to this link...<br /> http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast05jan_1.htm <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <strong><font size="2"><p align="center"><br /><img id="a9529085-d63d-481e-9277-832ea5d58917" src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/9/2/a9529085-d63d-481e-9277-832ea5d58917.Large.gif" alt="blog post photo" /><br /><font color="#339966">Oops! this is my alien friend.</font></p><p align="center"><font color="#ff6600">╬→Ť╠╣є ’ M€ ’<br />╬→ Ðôŵņ2Ëãřŧĥ ๑<br />╬→ ЙДm€ :Varsha<br /></font></p></font></strong> </div>
 
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robnissen

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"Mars is just awakening from an extended slumber."<br /><br />What POSSIBLE basis do you have to make that statement. Which of the following is the simplest explanation:<br /><br />1. After millions (billions?) of years of inactivity, Mars becomes active again COINCIDENTALLY within a few years of us arriving to see it?<br /><br />or<br /><br />2. Mars has always had a low level of activity, for example a couple of liquid water flows every decade planet wide, and now that we have the cababilities to detect low levels of activity, we are now seeing it?<br /><br />Occam's razor only points to ONE answer!!
 
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centsworth_II

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NASA is waking up from ITS extended slumber. <br />Mars is Mars, it's up to us to go discover it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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maxsage

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question:Has nasa stopped being an idiot or is it still landing its probes IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MARTIAN DESSERT!!!!!!!! It it actually wants to find any water it ought to look at the polar ice caps!! Instead tthey land it in the middle of the dessert cause it is easy to land there. Small problem? not! lets say some intellegient species landed a probe in the sahara dessert. it will sent back a message like this: Earth has limmited water and is made mainly of silicone there is no chance of intellegient life here. Of course if it landed in new york city it would be more like: earth is much to crowded, there are so many people they have to like in boxes atacked on on top of each other!(a.k.a. apartment buildings)
 
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bonzelite

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<font color="yellow"><br />2. Mars has always had a low level of activity, for example a couple of liquid water flows every decade planet wide, and now that we have the cababilities to detect low levels of activity, we are now seeing it? </font><br /><br />mars only has a "couple of water flows planetwide every decade"? and has "always had" a low level of activity? --the entire planet has not been observed! orbital camera platforms currently cannot possibly reveal every nuance of martian geology and erosion that happens over a recorded time. looking at the remains of past gullies and the massive swaths of outflow patterns (such as seen in margaritifer terra), i'd say mars has had massive outlfow issues. <br /><br />i generally agree with your rebuttal insofar as occam, and i do agree that we are just now becoming able to document and reveal recent change through MGS data.
 
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bonzelite

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"Instead tthey land it in the middle of the dessert cause it is easy to land there."<br /><br />right. <br /><br />there are thousands of amazing sites that are more dangerous to land in, but until they design some super lander that resembles an android, it's flatland for us. it's a shame. <br /><br />there are probably valuable science targets in high cliffsides, but we're currently limited to landing in flatland and motoring over to a crater. inasmuch as we're technologically advanced, we are in the dark ages of planetary exploration.
 
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JonClarke

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Cerainly water on Mars will readily evaporate, most of the time. Noy always through. widespread frosts and local valley fogs indicate that the atsmosphere is locally super saturated.<br /><br />Even if flowing water does boil, it doesn't disappear instantly. jennifer Heldman at Ames has calcuated that the flow out distance of at least some gullies matches the distance you would expect for water of particular volumes and salinities to flow before it boiled away.<br /><br />If MRO does not find water then this does not preclude it being present, only constrain it. CRISM can only detect water in the top microns. SHARAD may be too coarse in resolution for small, local aquifers.<br /><br />As for buffering, this will go to completion. The buffering capacity of most rock aquifers greatly exceeds the reaction capability of of acid waters because the surface areas of pores is so large. The exception is quartz sandstone aquifers, but those are unlikely on Mars. Plus through flow will always bring fresh rock to react with the brine. Old groundwater is always in equilibrium with the rocks. <br /><br />It is also worth noting that the SNC meteorites contain carbonate alteration, especially the nahkalites. This means that the water in the Martian subsurface has been buffered. The acidity indicated on the surface by jarosite may be a very superificial processes, driven by weathering.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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