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back to article Puddles on Mars, aerospace boffin claims

Pictures taken two years ago by Mars rover Opportunity might show puddles of liquid water on the Martian surface, according to New Scientist. The possibility was raised in a report, not yet seen by El Reg, detailing a fresh analysis of the images. Along with Michael Hecht from NASA's Jet Propopulsion Laboratory, Ron Levin, a …

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Anonymous Coward

Winds on Mars??

Erm, call me stupid (feel free) but "Winds on Mars"??

On Earth, I thought winds were a result of the heating/cooling effect of the oceans vs. the land temperature.

So, how come?

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unlikely -- picture taken on the side of a crater

This fellow needs to check his angles. The picture is not of level ground but of the side of a crater, so it is pretty unlikely to be flat ice.

Oh, and the pictures were altered to make them look blue.

The guys at the Planetary Society found the original picture and expanded it:

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000998/

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Surfice tempreture on Mars

Isn't the surface temperature on Mars about -140C. How can liquid H20 exist below 0C?

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Anonymous Coward

And you trust scientific data.. which are censored ...?!

Andy Barber: You shouldn't trust the official data like given temperature and such, everything gets censored..as they would call it -sanitized- .. Actually official data already told the world that the Mars surface temps practically like those on Earth although they were previously telling that there were very cold and very hot conditions only.

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Winds

Wind is caused by varied temperatures in the atmosphere itself. It is true that on Earth the oceans tend to drive this sort of thing, but unless the atmosphere is all the same temperature across the entire planet of Mars, there will be wind.

What I wonder about is how a liquid manages to sublime. I had previously thought that was only a transition directly from the solid to the gaseous phases. And I tend to think that I'm still right...

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Marvin

Where's the kaboom? There's supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom!

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Silver badge

Wait a minute

The martian atmosphere seems to be quite a magical place. In the same article I am told that, on the one hand, it is a virtual "hard vacuum" (whatever that means I retain vacuum as the principle adjective), and on the other, there are winds that disturb water sublimation.

Okay, so which way is it ? If there's wind, then there cannot be a vacuum. If there's a vacuum, then there's no air to make a wind with.

There has got to be a mistake somewhere.

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Silver badge

Winds and temperature (what censorship?)

The martian atmosphere is in the order of 100 times thinner than earth's: not really hard vacuum, but making air at the top of Everest seem thick as soup. It is hardly the place to remove your space suit. Despite this, it is way thicker than e.g. the residual atmosphere still experienced by e.g. space-stations like the ISS, or Mir, or sky-lab (it is the main cause for the demise of the latter: orbits become unstable due to drag). The martian atmosphere is well-known to kick up massive dust clouds, particularly during perihelium (when it is closest to the sun, and the energy input into the atmosphere is largest).

Regarding temperatures: in the sub-tropical regions of mars, these range from -120 C to about -20, but the soil can occasionally heat up to +20 or more. There could be liquid water, but it is likely to evaporate very rapidly (not sublime, indeed). Temperature measurements and estimates come from a variety of sources, and it is very difficult to hush anything of for three reasons: (a) scientists are highly competititve: any strange finding (i.e. which is contrary to received knowledge) will be jumped on, especially if you can reproduce the measurements, (b) anyone posting "doctored" data will live in fear of being found out: a career-ending move(!), and (c) scientist cannot help blabbing about their pet subject. The guy blabbing about censored data probably hides his identity for fear of some global martian conspiracy (enter the lizard army!).

The post by John Oram is very relevant: taken out of its (near vertical) context, the (almost) true-colour shot looks convincingly like water on some sandstone or sand (could have been taken in a wadi in the Sahara, OOPS new conspiracy theory born). However, when looking at the mosaic shot, I am simply puzzled about what the hell it is (water thawed by sunlight stricking the surface and quickly freezing into ice? I would expect ripples of some sort).

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Dust Devils cleaning the solar panels?

The correct answer was clearly given in http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20041107&mode=classic , as many of you perhaps remember.

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Boffin retracts claim

http://www.newscientist.com/blog/space/2007/06/no-puddles-on-mars.html

No liquid water for you, Mars...

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RE: Christos Georgiou

That cartoon makes no sense. An image of the rover with an extra wheel and fly-wing shaped solar panels. Is the joke that it has been 'tricked out', or do technogeeks just find cartoons of robots inherently funny?

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Anonymous Coward

Errrr

You missed the point of the image. Look again, its not been tricked out per sé just ever so slightly modified to help mitigate the dust on the energy collectors problem.

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