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Phoenix Lander Team: It Snows at Night on Mars

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posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 04:18 PM

It snows on Mars. This occurs, at least in the northern arctic region where the Phoenix lander set up camp in 2008. Science teams from Phoenix were able to observe water-ice clouds in the Martian atmosphere and precipitation that fell to the ground at night and sublimate into water in the morning. James Whiteway and his colleagues say that clouds and precipitation on Mars play a role in the exchange of water between the ground and the atmosphere and when conditions are right, snow falls regularly on Mars.

Well, This is almost an un-surprise..

I'm kinda 'wow' about it but also a bit 'thought as much'..
Fascinating discovery though. You'll find a video image of clouds moving across the Martian sky too.. that's pretty cool to see.

There is a thread here on ATS that asks why the rover (one of them) does not seem to have a build up of dust on its solar panels... Could it be that this snow is keeping them clean?
Snow falls on the rover at the morning it is melted and washed away the dust..

Could be.. Maybe we'll know for sure sometime..

“Before Phoenix we did not know whether precipitation occurs on Mars,” Whiteway said. “We knew that the polar ice cap advances as far south as the Phoenix site in winter, but we did not know how the water vapor
moved from the atmosphere to ice on the ground. Now we know that it does snow, and that this is part of the hydrological cycle on Mars.”

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 04:30 PM
We learned about this last September but the writer of the Universetoday article has the story all messed up. The snow was not seen to reach the surface. No snow was ever seen to reach the surface. It tends to sublimate before it reaches the ground.

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 04:33 PM
reply to post by Phage

it snows on mars yet we are having a hard time finding water there? anyone else see how rediculous this sounds?

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 04:38 PM
reply to post by nine0099thousand

Not ridiculous at all if you understand how water acts.

We've seen it snow. We've found water ice. We know there is water vapor. The existence of liquid water has not been confirmed. The low atmospheric pressure on Mars makes it problematic for liquid water to last very long.

This is the closest we've found yet, but there's no way to verify it.
First liquid water may have been spotted

[edit on 7/2/2009 by Phage]

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 04:47 PM
Holy crap.....if you go and look at that little video of the clouds moving,towards the end, it looks like there is some kind of object appearing and taking off into the sky!!! Am I the only one seeing this???

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 04:57 PM
reply to post by Extralien

Nice to find this and put it forward, but when a writer makes such an obvious error:

...precipitation that fell to the ground at night and sublimate into water in the morning.

As Phage noted, water sublimation is a phase change directly from frozen to vapor, without the intervening liquid state. A 'science' writer should know better...

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 06:58 PM
I cant help but think that when they sent up the last explorer they sent with them a mini haarp machine to maybe create a small area of atmosphere. We know they can do it here, who says they haven't done it there.

Im just thinking out loud.


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