back to article Phoenix lander sucks up water on Mars

NASA has extended the Mars Rover mission by five weeks after confirming it had found water in a soil sample on the rocky red planet. Evidence of water on Mars had already been picked up by the Odyssey orbiter, and Phoenix had spotted evidence of the sublimation of water last month. However, the space jockeys confirmed yesterday …

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Joke

So the next thing...

...they look for is carbon, and now they worry about Martian Warming, eh?

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Black Helicopters

@amanfromMars

Quick!, Hide: They've found your house

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Happy

“This is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted."

Pure hyperbole has been found alive and well on Mars.

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Cool...but not the same as being there

This is a remarkable discovery...but I take issue with the characterization that water on Mars has been "touched and tasted". It has not...it's been chemically analyzed. It takes a human being on Mars to touch and taste Martian water.

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Alien

The history of Mars water and why we need people on Mars...

It must take a special mentality to be a space scientist.

Regarding water on Mars: First there was no water and never was and then well, maybe there used to be some a long time ago but it was really salty and couldn't support life. ...Oh well maybe there was more water than that but it is all gone and wasn't around long enough for life to develop, etc. To make a long story short it seems like now you can't go to Mars without tripping over water. There are some that argue that even the rovers scraped the covering dirt off of some briny water (It must be briny because there can't be THAT much water, right?)

All these probes are purpose built and that purpose is based on the prevailing scientific opinion 4-10 years before launch so why would anyone build a probe that can look for life? Optimal launch windows occur approx. every 26 months but the real turnaround in scientific thinking takes around a decade as probe designs get revised which means that some time around 2020 we may have a probe that can begin to look for life signs - assuming that researchers are willing to fly in the face of conventional wisdom (there is no life on Mars after all) and invest in a risky discovery mission.

Now about that scientific mindset - Let us presume that there is a higher incidence of atheism among exobiology researchers, it is monumentally ironic that they are willing to extend research by minute incremental steps (the word 'pedestrian' hardly begins to describe this pace of research) every decade or so. Many current researchers will be Dead (capitalized to emphasize their lack of afterlife) and only remembered in dusty mission reports in a universe that, for them, ceases to exist when they die. Legacies are for people that believe in spiritual continuity yet these people labour away knowing that they will never see the real fruits of their labours.

On the other hand some astro-johny on the spot - even a square jawed military poster boy - could pick up the rock with the green scunge and comment, "Crikey, maybe we should stick this under a 'scope and 'ave a look." Then all those scientists could knock off early and rest up to really kick it at the post-Nobel party.

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Coat

tea

So, we've got water. Time for a brew!

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re: tea

I'm afraid you've picked the wrong brew from my standpoint.

A nice Martian Red Ale sounds great right about now.

(why isn't there a beer mug icon?)

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Silver badge
Alien

Rob Foster

You, sir, have a very strange opinion on scientists and outer space exploration. Probes are probing for what it is possible to probe for. Like, simple chemicals. Now, how exactly do you plan to exaustively probe for life? You have no idea? I thought so.

I won't even try to correct your view on scientific mindset (it would take too long, and I don't really care). You can kiss my Scientist's *ss. (capitalized just because) instead.

Random icon.

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Coat

Mars flows with cool, clear Dasani

Reference The Onion...

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Thumb Up

now what's in that water

ice in the soil!! That's good stuff. Now let's bake that soil and see what carbon is released, and what that may mean regarding life on mars.

I'm ready for some color pictures on the science channel. Congrats to NASA.

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@Pierre

Short assessment - long on missing the point.

You are correct - I don't know how to exhaustively analyze for life on Mars from here and neither does NASA. From 1970 Viking missions to 40 years later we have progressed to a robot that can barely collect a sprinkle of dirt (sometimes) and sort of analyze it.

Having no one on the spot cripples these probes' functionality as soon as the unexpected occurs. Viking was landed in the middle of a Martian desert because it was flat and safe and decades later probe designs are still influenced by that result. The scoop doesn't work properly because the NASA scientists are so constrained by previous empirical evidence that the engineered design is too inflexible - likely driven by a budgetary constraint.

My thesis was that a man mission by the nature of its flexibility would have a higer pay off in spite of higher risk and cost. And yes I know that not all the questions around bone density loss, psychological effects, solar radiation, how to actually land a human on Mars, etc have not been answered.

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@Rob Foster

Quite apart from your dismissal of the problems of getting a man to mars as "higher risk and cost", rather than "as yet, not proved to be possible with the technology we have available", you seem to have missed another fundamental point.

The devices that get sent to Mars aren't built in 24 hours. The design is done exhaustively, and then reviewed exhaustively, as well as being modeled and redesigned. This design is then built, painstakingly, with stupid attention to detail, very slowly - since every stage is tested extensively as well.

In the end, the stuff that gets shipped up probably WAS designed 5 years before it was shipped up there - explaining the "pedestrian" development.

Considering the turnaround involved (probably in the order of 10 years from starting to design the device to it actually being on the surface of Mars - is it really fair to compare it to any sort of research on Earth that takes minutes or even days to do?

I work in IT. Some things take 5 minutes to test - these I develop quickly. However, one of the things I'm working on takes 1.5 hours to "run", and therefore development on that takes a LOT longer - and that's just a moment compared to what these guys have to deal with.

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Happy

water on mars

To the sceptics out there, that always need to find the negative in everything. Are you truly happy???

anyway, water on Mars, what an amazing discovery!!!

although there is a slim chance of mars sustaining life, it's still an amazing breakthough. It is a stepping stone to more discovery

To Anonymous Coward, i wouldn't put my name on that gibberish bull S@#t either.

Petah

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Anonymous Coward

Beagle 2

I used to work in the office next door to where part of Beagle 2, the European / Brit lead mars lander, was built. Even before its launch we knew it as Crater Creater. ;0) ( sorry, office humour)

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