It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
I know this is off-topic, but I would like to answer it anyway.
Originally posted by rikriley
This is where I believe our tiny micro printed circuit boards on Earth were born from information obtained not only from crashed UFOs but from Martian technologies.
"We are awash in chemistry data," said Michael Hecht of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lead scientist for the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, or MECA, instrument on Phoenix. "We're trying to understand what is the chemistry of wet soil on Mars, what's dissolved in it, how acidic or alkaline it is. With the results we received from Phoenix yesterday, we could begin to tell what aspects of the soil might support life."
"This soil appears to be a close analog to surface soils found in the upper dry valleys in Antarctica," Kouvanes said. "The alkalinity of the soil at this location is definitely striking. At this specific location, one-inch into the surface layer, the soil is very basic, with a pH of between eight and nine. We also found a variety of components of salts that we haven't had time to analyze and identify yet, but that include magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride."
It was more than a month ago, on sol 30, that the wet chemistry laboratory (WCL) on Phoenix first detected what looked like perchlorate in the Martian soil.
We've waited until sol 72 to report this finding, and even this has been a somewhat reluctant announcement. To many people, the question will be what did we have to hide?
The answer highlights a fundamental difficulty of doing good science under the gaze of the public.
When the science relates to the possibility of life on another planet, that gaze can become very intense. The data from WCL that streamed back to Earth was not immediately ready for such public scrutiny.
After more than four months on the arctic plains of the red planet, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's days are finally numbered. As the sun begins to set for the frigid Martian winter, the spacecraft will lose its energy supply, freeze and eventually fall into a mechanical coma from which it will likely never wake up.
As winter descends on the Martian arctic, two important things will happen: The sun will sink below the horizon, and "it's going to get cold," said Phoenix meteorological team member Peter Taylor of York University in Toronto, Canada.
Of course, Mars is never warm by Earth standards (it is further from the sun and lacks our planet's thick, heat-trapping atmosphere), but summer above the Martian arctic circle is downright balmy compared to the winter.
Midday temperatures at Phoenix's landing site hit about -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) in the summer (as measured by the lander's meteorological mast thermometer). Nighttime temperatures then still dropped to -112 F (-80 C). Currently, those daytime temperatures have started dipping down to -22 F (-30 C), with nighttime temperatures hitting about -130 F (-90 C).
By mid-November, those night temperatures are expected to plummet to -184 F (-120 C).
The reason of course, is that setting sun.
The sun is constantly above the horizon during the arctic summer, just as it is on Earth. Come fall, it starts to dip below the horizon more and more each day until winter, when it sets for good and doesn't rise again until the spring.
The colder temperatures and setting sun combined will diminish the energy available to Phoenix for its science operations.
During the summer, there is plenty of sunlight hitting Phoenix's wing-like solar arrays, its sole source of power on the planet. But once the sun is gone, so is its energy supply.
"The sun is going down, so there's less and less energy being fed into the batteries through the solar panels, and that really is the biggest problem" facing the mission, Taylor said.
Specifically, the orientation of Phoenix's solar arrays limits how much sunlight it can take in as the sun changes its position in the sky.
"The problem is that the solar panels are horizontal, and we can't tilt them, so as the sun gets lower and lower on the horizon, there's less and less power being generated," Taylor explained.