back to article Curiosity find Mars' icecaps suck up its atmosphere

NASA boffins have crunched 34 million weather observations collected by the Curiosity rover its two full Martian years trundling about the red planet. The basics are pretty simple: Mars is reliably cold, dry and windy, while the thin atmosphere means not much heat is retained so air temperature “usually plummets by more than …

Silver badge
Holmes

34 million observations from two Martian years prove Mars is cold, dry and nasty

<sarc>

Amazing! that was money well spent then.

</sarc>

Joking apart, it's pretty cool to see climate data from another planet.

5
0
Silver badge
Devil

Yeah, but it appears the Martians figured out how to end Global Warming.... err... Climate Change.

3
6
Silver badge
Alien

And now so can we, whilst also terraforming Mars - all we need is a way of extracting Carbon Dioxide out of our atmosphere and a very long pipe. How hard can it be?

1
0

GLOBAL WARMING DETECTED ON MARS! ... this APRIL was warmest on MARS... sue nasa... their rovers are causing global warming there.. drum roll.. let the cool stats rolling!!! ... AlGore here is your Part-2 for your documentary!!! Man this time it should break the box office record ok!?! It will be an educational treat for your hundreds of millions of CNN-ed intellects!!!

1
1
Bronze badge

Meh - Fairbanks AK

A Mars year at the equator looks like winter in Fairbanks Alaska. There are worse places in the Siberian arctic.

0
0

So ...

"Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact it's cold as Hell." - Elton John, Rocket Man.

15
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: So ...

I have heard though that Mars has plenty of fruitbowls......

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: So ...

This evidence suggests that - assuming that the Elton John statement is accurate - there is a very good chance of hell freezing owner.

1
0
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: So ...

Oh shit, I bet most people in the US say they would vote Trump when Hell freezes over.

It's just a microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan...

1
1
Silver badge

Re: So ...

That's from "Right Red Hand" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

On a gathering storm comes

a tall handsome man

In a dusty black coat with

a red right hand

That doesn't sound like Trump at all.

0
0
Silver badge

Wow

"Daily temperature ranges in Los Angles are much smaller than at the Gale Crater"

Probably the least useful comparison I am likely to encounter today / this week / this lifetime.

I love astronomy and space exploration news. Gorp like this just makes the graphs harder to read.

7
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Wow

I'm not sure why you find this a difficult comparison - admittedly if you don't live in LA (hint, NASA is a US agency) you might wish to check on ranges, but surely it is not that difficult.

0
3
Silver badge

Re: Wow

"Probably the least useful comparison I am likely to encounter today / this week / this lifetime."

I initially thought exactly the same because of the old saw that LA doesn't have weather, it has climate. Then I thought yes, that's why it makes a good comparison with Mars. The extremely thin atmosphere of Mars means it barely has weather so it's really climate they are measuring.

1
0

Mars is reliably cold

So pack a sweater?

Maybe two?

5
0
Silver badge

cold, dry and nasty

Perfect place to ship all the lawyers, bankers, politicians, PR people and telephone sanitisers.

Could Elon Musk be persuaded to build a B-Ark version of the Mars Dragon?

4
2
Gold badge

Re: cold, dry and nasty

Elon Musk has stated that he'd like to retire to Mars. So I suspect not.

Well actually he put it rather more pithily. "I'd like to die on Mars, just not on impact".

14
0
Silver badge

Re: cold, dry and nasty

Perfect place to ship all the lawyers, bankers, politicians, PR people and telephone sanitisers.
The only problem is that they may emit enough hot air to provide a livable environment.

1
0
Gold badge

Re: cold, dry and nasty

Then they're helping to terraform theplace. Doing something useful. Their corpses will also provide excellent materials to create a viable topsoil. If it turns out that the place is too habitable too early, well I sugges that we utilise NASA's recently demonstrated ability to create nuclear powered laser tanks. NASA can charge people to have a go, thinning out the herd, and incidentally make a nice profit to spend on science.

I'm struggling to see any downsides really. This is an almost perfect way to bootsrap the space industry. And ensure this new commercial phase is not as patent-encumbered as the tech industry has turned out to be.

3
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: cold, dry and nasty

I'm willing to kick in a couple of bucks to help make that happen

1
0
Silver badge

Really?

Spring: the season when plants and trees begin to grow

0
0
Silver badge

New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

Global Operating Devices doing GOD’s Work ‽

One does wonder why, in light of the practically real difficulties recognised in Man going to and sustaining life on Mars [and with apparently almost zero attention on return with anything profitable], the massive monies proposed for spending on flight and accommodation are not reprogrammed to provide an altogether alien environment on Earth for space travellers/Quantum Communications Leapers.

Is it because of a lack of intelligence and default stupidity which has evolved or is designed and actively exercised to maintain and retain an inequitable executive elite domination of assets, or is there an assumption that all alien visitors are to be ignored and resisted and feared as a class of illegal immigrant rather than invited and catered for with provision of their needs and seeds and feeds?

Imagine the new worlds that could be built by IntelAIgent Grand Design on a planet where lifeforms are destroying themselves with all manner of crazy weapons for …… well, what would they be doing all of that nonsense for, other than to prove that madness is systemic and endemic and the land is populated by fools not preventing the folly?

1
9
Silver badge

Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

That's all well and good, but it'd only take one lump of space rock crashing into Earth to wreck any dteams of a terrestial utopia.

Better to have the ability to haul any potential asteroid-mitigating technology inro orbit, and / or wirk towards a self sustaining extraterrestial colony. Once wehave assured our survival we can tgen work towards making it a fair and beautiful survival.

3
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

Oh Gods, who let him in...

7
0

Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

Better to have the ability to haul any potential asteroid-mitigating technology inro orbit, and / or wirk towards a self sustaining extraterrestial colony.

Genuine question: Why?

Of course, I don't want humanity destroyed but I am not that bothered. If it happens, it will make no difference to the universe. Nor will it mean anything to all of us who die.

Also, it is extremely unlikely to happen any time soon. So unlikely that attempting to "assure our survival" is a pointless waste of time. Better to spend the resources on faster scientific progress and being able to do a better, and more efficient job, some time in the future.

1
5
Silver badge

It is also extremely unlikely to win the lottery, yet people do that all the time. The lottery happens more often than killer asteroids, granted, but all you need is to win once.

The problem with your point of view is that you'd have us avoid pointlessly "wasting our time" until it was far too late to do avoid the issue - which means we could all thank you when the killer rock shows its nose and we find that we're fucked.

So I thank the scientists that are actively trying to save Humanity as a whole, you included, so that you can keep spouting such nonsense.

6
0
Silver badge

Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

Better to have the ability to haul any potential asteroid-mitigating technology inro orbit, and / or wirk towards a self sustaining extraterrestial colony. Once wehave assured our survival we can tgen work towards making it a fair and beautiful survival. ..... Dave 126

Is it idiotic to not virtualise and realise self sustaining extraordinarily rendered internet working terrestrial colonies will both ensure, assure and insure beautifully fair survival for a species which has lost its way and knows not the way of making ways with IT?

I suppose an army of fools and lost souls would be expecting it and IT to be done for/to them if they were to be thinking about such things at all, and then be terrified of the prospect.

And yes, you can assume that is a genuine offer to provide supply of the above, for such is easily provided. And in the big scheme of things is it not a fortune to set in motion relatively anonymously with remote distant monitoring and virtual mentoring to guarantee every success and destroy wanton obstruction and ignorant doubt.

Ok, El Regers, who and/or what is a worthy target of all of that. Speak up now you have the chance. Don't be all coy and tongue tied whenever everything around you is turned to shit and austere nonsense.

1
0

Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

"Better to have the ability to haul any potential asteroid-mitigating technology inro orbit, and / or wirk towards a self sustaining extraterrestial colony. Once wehave assured our survival we can tgen work towards making it a fair and beautiful survival."

Our survival isn't really threatened by asteroids. The one suspected of wiping out the dinosaurs wouldn't wipe us out. It would push us back to the stone age, but we'd rapidly return to present technology levels, we wouldn't be starting from total scratch, we'd have notes and memories of things like rockets and aircraft are possible and how they generally work. There is great competitive advantage for a group to learn how to make firearms and rockets and computers again. I reckon it could be less less than 300 years we'd be back manufacturing computers.

I suspect actually the biggest threat isn't from asteroids, but from the very technology we would develop to repel them. Once we get a better control and footing in space it will lead to a militarization that hasn't yet happened. Id be more worried from a species survival aspect about a future war in which nukes or something nastier pour from orbit onto Earth, Mars and other colonies than about the danger of a single giant asteroid hitting us today.

2
2

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

"Is it idiotic to not virtualise and realise self sustaining extraordinarily rendered internet working terrestrial colonies will both ensure, assure and insure beautifully fair survival for a species which has lost its way and knows not the way of making ways with IT?"

I imagine all civilizations are initially be lured by the idea of spacefaring only to shortly realize the folly of space exploration (there's nothing much out there, every star, planet, etc is just the same kind of thing in different configurations) and will eventually come to hunker down in one place and create worlds in VR that are far richer than what is out there in space.

Spreading out through the galaxy has the drawback of messing up communications, unless the light speed limit for communications can be overcome. Having a 60000ms ping to mars, or whatever it is, that changes depending on time of years of both planets is just a pain in the ass for maintaining any kind of commerce or internet. It's just creating a problem that would be avoided by everyone clustering in the same place, around the same planet. For all the romance of going out into space the only real benefit would be some kind of political escape/hermitism to break away from the main cluster of civilization.

2
2
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

I think your wrong. Commerce between Europe and the New World in the age of sail worked pretty well even though it was at least 6 months before a message reached its destination (12 months before your find out if your message even made the destination, assuming your ship didn't sink in one of the trips or get done by pirates or any of the other myriad hazards).

Humans are adaptable creatures. We have coped without "instant" communication before, we would find ways to do it again.

7
0
Silver badge

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

>Better to have the ability to haul any potential asteroid-mitigating technology inro orbit, and / or wirk towards a self sustaining extraterrestial colony.

>>Genuine question: Why?

Well, y'know, it's good to have a hobby!

>the only real benefit would be some kind of political escape/hermitism to break away from the main cluster of civilization.

That and having some form of redundancy of habitat for our species. And if you see our future as being VR/Brain-Computer link/ Uploaded Conciousness or whatever, then what matters if our inert bodies / brains in jars are on a terrestial Eden or in orbit around the sun?

3
0

Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

Oh shit, the poorly written Eliza program wanna-be called "amanfromMars" is back. I think it's the same program that writes that nonsense on those click-bait web pages and emails.

0
3
Gold badge

Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

I suspect actually the biggest threat isn't from asteroids, but from the very technology we would develop to repel them. Once we get a better control and footing in space it will lead to a militarization that hasn't yet happened. Id be more worried from a species survival aspect about a future war in which nukes or something nastier pour from orbit onto Earth, Mars and other colonies than about the danger of a single giant asteroid hitting us today.

If we have spaceships able enough to be called military ones - then nukes aren't going to be required for planetary bombardment. You simply drive over to somewhere that's got a source of rock with some metal in it, stick that in your linear accelerator / rail-gun, point it at your target and Kaboom!

After all, assuming you have spaceships, ICBMs suddenly become a damned site easier to intercept from space - but ships in orbit will only be dropping limited numbers of warheads - which might be within the capabilities of even current missile defence systems to deal with.

If you're really feeling particularly militant, you could move an asteroid into the orbital path of a planet - and wait for the bang.

In which case your original argument about asteroids might still stand. You're doing survivable damage, with resources on hand to rebuild with. Or the victor's space marines land and create a new imperial slave-planet.

0
0
Gold badge

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

NomNomNom,

In just one solar system there are truly vast amounts of mineral resources, hydrocarbons and free solar energy kicking around. Even if we can't leave the solar system that's going to become progressively easier to utilise. Of course it might take a while.

But the idea of mining an asteroid for all the goodies to build space stuff, and then living in the hollowed out middle isn't totally insane.

We'll need to solve some materials science problems in order to get people into and out of orbit more easily. But once you can start some kind of production facilites in space, they can help expand themselves, and most of the resources are available to do so.

In 200 years time it might be that enviornmental regulations on Earth make most minining impossible, because it can be done with much less pollution and disruption in space.

2
0

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

back then people didn't have the internet. Leaving earth without faster than light communication is basically saying goodbye to an internet connection, which I think is going to become ever more part of human life. So the only people leaving will tend to be doing it for reasons that overcome that which is why I said political escape/hermitism. Arguably people leaving england for the new world were doing it for political escape. I just don't think humans are going to turn into a spacefaring species, the vast majority will cluster where the entertainment is.

0
3
Silver badge

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

"the vast majority will cluster where the entertainment is."

Well, the vast majority stayed home in the Old World, But it didn't keep the New World from developing, populating, and innovating, did it?

Once viable colonies are established in space, it'll only be a few generations before off Earth populations out number terrestrial ones.

Lots of potential for 'new beginnings'.

6
1

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

The time-delay would stop you doing anything which requires a quick response. So you wouldn't be able to hold a telephone conversation between Mars and Earth but that wouldn't stop you ordering a movie to watch later. Even from Pluto it only takes a radio signal about 5 hours to reach Earth.

http://www.spaceacademy.net.au/spacelink/commdly.htm

But once you had enough people out there they would setup their own local internets which would operate as quickly as on Earth in their own region caching entertainment/news reports etc from the Earth and other parts of the solar system.

So I can't see lack of entertainment and the internet as much of an impediment to colonising the rest of the solar system. Improving our technology so that we can get a large number of people off Earth relatively cheaply and perfecting the technologies to allow them to live in these hostile environments are the bigger problems.

4
0

Re: Forget and don't worry about dumb space rocks, Dave 126

Better late than never.

The time delay works both ways so news etc. in all receiving locations will be old. Don't we watch enough repeats and reruns anyway?

0
0

Re: New Orderly World Orders AI …. for Live Operational Virtual Environments ‽

Our survival isn't really threatened by asteroids. The one suspected of wiping out the dinosaurs wouldn't wipe us out. It would push us back to the stone age, but we'd rapidly return to present technology levels, we wouldn't be starting from total scratch, we'd have notes and memories of things like rockets and aircraft are possible and how they generally work. There is great competitive advantage for a group to learn how to make firearms and rockets and computers again. I reckon it could be less less than 300 years we'd be back manufacturing computers.

Can you explain why you think a repeat of an impact which most scientists think caused an extinction event wiping out 70% of species on the planet - and practically all land species which were larger than about the size of a cat - wouldn't wipe out mankind completely ?

0
1

Neither we nor our electro-mechanical devices are going to very cold [or hot or hot/cold] places at any time soon. Even the Moon isn't hospitable.

1
0
Silver badge
Coat

Even the Moon isn't hospitable.

No, in fact one could say that she's a bit of a harsh mistress.

9
0

Neither we nor our electro-mechanical devices are going to very cold [or hot or hot/cold] places at any time soon.>

I suppose that depends upon what you mean by very cold or hot - our electro-mechanical devices can survive a lot.

From http://www.astrome.co/blogs/how-do-satellites-survive-hot-and-cold-orbit-environments/

"

However, the typical range of temperatures was found to be from -170 ˚C to 123 ˚C for LEO satellites while -250 ˚C to 300 ˚C could be experienced in other orbits.

"

and of course landers have survived on the surface of Venus at 467C for upto 110 minutes.

http://www.space.com/18526-venus-temperature.html

http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/ask/44-Has-a-spacecraft-ever-landed-on-Venus-

There is even a planned mission to probe the outer corona of the Sun currently scheduled for launch in 2018

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Probe_Plus

"

It will approach to within 8.5 solar radii (0.034 astronomical units or 5.9 million kilometers or 3.67 million miles, roughly 1/8 of the perihelion of Mercury) to the 'surface' (photosphere) of the Sun.

"

1
0
Silver badge

So Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids?

3
0

cold,dry and nasty

So, like Ricky Gervais then?

7
0

Re: cold,dry and nasty

Sort of the same colour too.

1
0

More information please...

"Mars' orbit is elliptical" - unlike all the other perfectly circular orbits?

"...so the South receives less solar energy than the North..." - I'm genuinely interested, any chance of a proper explanation?

1
2
Silver badge

Re: More information please...

axial tilt + elliptical orbit = uneven distribution of solar flux.

The way Earth is tilted, along with our elliptical orbit means that the southern hemisphere gets a bit more warmth. We are at perihelion during the Australian summer (when the south of the planet is tilted towards the sun) and at aphelion during the Northern summer.

5
0

Re: More information please...

Thanks! That's what I thought, but the article suggested there was something uniquely Martian about it.

0
0

Re: More information please...

Mars' tilt is slightly greater than the Earths and the orbit is both larger and more elliptical hence the effect is larger than on Earth see

http://www.universetoday.com/14894/mars-tilt/

"

Of all the features of Mars, its axial tilt is most similar to Earth. Mars’ tilt is 25 degrees, just a fraction away from the Earth’s 23.5 degrees. And because of this tilt, Mars has seasons, just like the Earth. Of course, since Mars takes twice as long as Earth to orbit the Sun, the seasons are twice as long.

Mars also has a very elliptical orbit. Because of this, the difference between its closest and most distant point along its orbit vary by 19%. This extreme difference makes the planet’s southern winters long and extreme. The northern winters aren’t as long or cold.

"

Dave

4
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017