View Full Version : Mars: What We Have Learned

05-25-2013, 03:52 PM
Viewpoint: Mars - what we've learnt in five years
24 May 2013 Last updated at 20:12 ETby Tom Pike

On 25 May, it will be five years since Nasa's robotic spacecraft Phoenix touched down in the Martian "arctic". Here, Dr Tom Pike, one of the mission scientists on Phoenix, explains what we've learnt about the Red Planet in that time.


Perhaps the highest profile achievement of Phoenix was to dig down to a buried layer of ice just below the Martian surface. I was the scientist on watch who first recognised that the "white stuff" Phoenix was digging up was slowly disappearing.
This was the definitive proof we'd hit water ice. As later careful examination of fresh meteorite craters showed, this icy layer was not just where Phoenix landed, but stretched right around the most northerly quarter of the planet (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8273855.stm).
But the running joke in the planetary science community was that at least Phoenix could add its name to the list of missions to "discover" water on Mars. It certainly was the first mission to come directly into contact with ice, and melt it. But it had been known for decades that there was water in the form of ice on the planet.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/67792000/jpg/_67792265_67792264.jpg Phoenix uncovered water ice beneath the Martian surface, and saw it vanish
Probably the most important discovery from Phoenix was the presence of perchlorates in the Martian soil (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7544328.stm). These chemical compounds had ironically been detected by adding water brought all the way from Earth. One of the Phoenix instrument suites, MECA, was able to look for key chemical signatures in the resulting muddy soup, and the signature of perchlorate was quite clear.

Read the whole article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22653399#?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

06-22-2013, 02:41 PM
How about liquid water on a nice sunny day! You can see the water around the edges of the rock slabs.



KK :cool: