Water, Water Everywhere

NASA sees water everywhere it looks! In surprising places.
With pictures.
But maybe not where you heard…

No, not the Moon, as interesting and useful it might be.

This is the other gorgeous water discovery, this thursday…

Yes, there is water on Mars, again.

This is actually a very nice result.
Although the timing of the announcement, hard on the heels of the quantitative measuring of OH on the lunar surface is opportune indeed.

MRO has seen small fresh meteorite craters Mars – with depths of 1-3 meters.



fresh crater cluster on Mars, from a year ago – dark splodges on right (click to embiggen)

MRO’s cameras are good enough to resolve these craters, and the coverage is wide and frequent enough that they are caught quickly.

When the craters are fresh (some) have white shiny stuff in the bottom.
A few weeks later the shiny white stuff turns dark, and then it goes away.



fading bright craters on Mars (click to embiggen)

After the original discovery of the variable morphology craters, the MRO team caught one young enough and large enough that a spectrum could be taken, and the shiny white stuff is in fact water ice.


Splodge.

Cool.

This strongly suggests that there is a fairly widespread subsurface, shallow water ice layer on Mars, which is both disturbing and very nice.
It also tells us that Martian spacecraft should have bigger and better shovels and drills.

We now go to watch old Schwarzenegger movies for inspiration…

Byrne et al Science 25 Sep 2009 (subscription required)

Press release images

h/t NASAwatch

Comments

  1. #1 syntaxiko
    September 25, 2009

    Awesome

  2. #2 doug l
    September 25, 2009

    For even better inspiration, for get Schwatzenegger and go pick up Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Red Mars” and the sequels “Green Mars” and “Blue Mars”.

  3. #3 Steinn Sigurdsson
    September 25, 2009

    I like KSR’s stuff, the Mars Rainbow series I couldn’t finish. Yet.

    I fall back on Burroughs, Heinlein, or better still –
    Ken McLeod’s “Star Fraction” series.