On the mining-thing. I can only state that in the broadest of senses mining operations have taken place on the lunar surface and are presently being conducted on Mars (and continue on a micro-scale, on the Moon). Although the use of terminology, 'mining' has been downplayed (by NASA) and there exists an 'internal memo' . For example, the Mars Rover (Spirit) is actually a micro-mining laboratory, complete with (2) spectrometers (see: marsrovers.nasa.gov... ) and other processing equipment/instrumentation.
Use of terminology, e.g., 'mining', could be considered (by some countries) to constitute a violation of the International Space Treaty. Thus, NASA is real-careful about use of terminology that could be considered a breach of 'Policy and Protocol'. I can give you this stuff as it's 'public information'. You have to look between the spaces/lines for more info and draw your own conclusions.
The thermal emission imaging system (THEMIS) on Odyssey is both an infrared camera and a visible camera. It has captured telltale signs of past water on Mars. In four locations on Mars, THEMIS has detected high levels of hematite, a mineral that on Earth forms most often in the presence of liquid water. Discoveries by THEMIS and its predecessor instrument(TES (thermal emission spectrometer) on the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter) led the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission team to choose Meridiani Planum as a landing site for its hematite content. Since landing, data from the Opportunity rover's science instruments, including the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (mini-TES) has since confirmed THEMIS' results that the area was once covered in water. "The morphology and thermal properties of the Meridiani Planum region indicate that the hematite-bearing area was deposited in a standing body of water that extended over 100,000 square kilometers (300 miles by 100 miles or about the size of Oklahoma), with smaller bodies of water in nearby crater basins," said Christensen. THEMIS, along with Christensen's two other instruments at Mars (TES on Mars Global Surveyor and mini-TES on the rovers), has shown that liquid water could have been in a few areas within the equatorial region of Mars for thousands or tens of thousands of years.
The discovery of Martian soil containing high quantities of sulphur and traces of water has sparked new questions about activity beneath the planet's surface. Scientists are puzzling over the contents of the bright white and yellow soil, first discovered after Mars rover Spirit churned it up while struggling to cross a soft patch of soil in the Columbia Hills region nearly a year ago. The material consists of sulphate salts associated with iron and likely calcium, substances not expected to be found on the planet's surface. Some scientists have speculated the materials might have been deposited in ancient times by liquid water on what is now thought to be a dry planet. However, Ray Arvidson, the deputy principal investigator for NASA's twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, said that is only one possible explanation. "This material could have been left behind by water that dissolved these minerals underground, then came to the surface and evaporated, or it could be a volcanic deposit formed around ancient gas vents," Arvidson said in a statement.
Spirit uncovered several types of materials distinctive in their color, physical properties and chemistry as a result of accidentally digging a trench 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) wide during a turn at the end of a drive. The white material in this image is brighter than any seen previously by the rover. It has a powdery and cloddy texture and exhibits a high abundance of salts. The materials appear similar in some ways to bright soil deposits seen back at the "Paso Robles" site that Spirit encountered on the rover's Martian day, or sol, 431 (March 20, 2005) while climbing the northern flank of "Husband Hill." Spirit analyzed the bright, yellowish exposures in the lower left part of the frame using instruments on the rover's robotic arm. Scientists hypothesized and then confirmed that these materials have a salty chemistry dominated by iron-bearing sulfates. These salts may record the past presence of water, as they are most easily mobilized and concentrated in liquid solution. Spirit also examined the unusual, pitted rock about 10 centimeters (4 inches) wide in the lower center of the frame. Scientists continue to study the origin of these rocks and soils and the role that water has played in their formation.
Michael J. Mumma: My name is Michael Mumma. I work at Goddard Space Flight Center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Greenbelt, Md. Our team has discovered Methane on Mars. The surprising thing about methane on Mars is tha - first, that we detected it meaning its recently generated. But in addition, we find that it is being released from several discrete vents, or sites, on the planet's surface, in either mid-summer in the northern hemisphere or early spring in the southern hemesphere on Mars. And yet at a later season, we see essentially no methane.
The big question is, "What is the origin of this methane now being released?" The two principal areas are first, by analogy with earth, it could be released and produced initially - primarily - by biology. This'd be microbial activity acting on certain chemicals below the surface and then producing methane as a byproduct.
But of course, we can't state with certitude that it is biologically produced, and so we also consider geochemical mechanisms in which carbon dioxide is actually combining with water and producing methane under very high temperatures and pressures, and that methane can then be released into the atmosphere separately.
One of the most important consequences of our discovery is that we've identified certain 'signposts' on Mars that basically are like little flags that say' " Come here, here I am."
NASA has several missions along these lines; one is called the Mars Science Laboratory. One of the key objectives is to understand whether life ever arose on Mars by sampling the material on the surface and then evaluating that in terms of its origin. You can then appreciate that if you go to this right location, you may in fact be able to identify whether biology was at work, or geochemistry.
Sand-laden jets shoot into the polar sky in this view by noted space artist Ron Miller. It shows the Martian south polar icecap as southern spring begins.
Geysers spewing sand and dust hundreds of feet into the "air" have been discovered on Mars, scientists say. Images from a camera orbiting Mars have shown the 100 mph jets of carbon dioxide erupt through ice at the planet's south pole, Arizona State University says.
The orbiting camera, called the Thermal Emission Imaging System (Themis), is on the Mars Odyssey probe.The geyser debris leaves dark spots, fan-like markings and spider-shaped features on the ice cap.
The scientists said geysers erupted when sunlight warming the ice turned frozen carbon dioxide underground into high-pressure gas. "If you were there, you'd be standing on a slab of carbon dioxide ice," said the university's Dr Phil Christensen."All around you, roaring jets of CO2 gas are throwing sand and dust a couple of hundred feet into the air."
Dr Christensen said the process was "unlike anything that occurs on Earth". His team discovered the jets through examining more than 200 Themis visible and infrared images. The findings were published in the latest edition of the journal Nature.
Every spring, the southern polar cap on Mars almost fizzes with carbon dioxide, as the surface is broken by hundreds of geysers throwing sand and dust hundreds of feet into the Martian "air". The discovery was announced in the journal Nature by researchers at the Arizona State University, based on data from the Thermal Emission Imaging System on the Mars Odyssey orbiter.
Christensen said: "If you were there, you'd be standing on a slab of carbon-dioxide ice. Looking down, you would see dark ground below the three foot thick ice layer. "The ice slab you're standing on is levitated above the ground by the pressure of gas at the base of the ice." He explains that as the sunlight hits the region in the spring, it warms the dark ground enough that the ice touching the ground is vaporised. The gas builds up under the ice until it is highly pressurised and finally breaks through the surface layer. As the gas escapes, it carries the smaller, finer particles of the soil along with it, forming grooves under the ice. This "spider" effect indicates a spot where a geyser is established, and will form again the following year.
This colour picture was taken by the HRSC camera on board ESA's Mars Express, from an altitude of 320 kilometres. It shows the centre of crater Gusev with the landing site of the NASA Spirit rover (marked). Gusev is a crater of 160 kilometres diameter. Earlier in the history of Mars, it appears that this area was covered by water. Because of the probable existence of sediments from this ‘lake’, Gusev is a highly interesting target in the search for traces of water and life on Mars. The area shown measures about 60 kilometres across at the bottom; North is at the top.
Martian Soil Good Enough For Asparagus
Washington DC (AFP) Jun 27, 2008 Martian dirt is apparently good enough for asparagus to grow in, NASA scientists said Thursday, as they announced the results of a soil analysis collected by the US Phoenix Mars lander.
Ripples in the Ripples This image taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the dunes that line the floor of "Endurance Crater." Small-scale ripples on top of the larger dune waves suggest that these dunes may have been active in geologically recent times. The image was taken by the rover's panoramic camera on sol 198
Looking like a gigantic series of hoofmarks, they appear to gallop across the Martian desert. These massive dunes were photographed by Nasa's £360 million spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.The dunes, in the Red Planet's Hellespontus region, have been shaped by powerful westerly winds.The wind heaps up the sand in a horseshoe shape also seen in earthly deserts and called a barchan dune. The Orbiter is mapping the Martian surface to select future landing sites. Today new 3D Orbiter photographs were also released showing Mars's misshapen moon Phobos in unprecedented detail. The lumpy satellite, just over 16.5 miles across at its widest, is dominated by the huge Stickney crater, nearly six miles wide ? the result of a massive impact. Streaks running down the walls of the crater show that material has since tumbled in from the rim in landslides. Chief Nasa investigator Professor Alfred McEwen, of the University of Arizona, said: "Phobos is of great interest because it may be rich in water ice and carbon-rich materials." Some scientists say any manned Mars mission ought to start by landing on Phobos - which has negligible gravity - to avoid the much bigger problem of lifting a heavy spaceship off Mars. The satellite (whose name is Greek for "Fear") is thought to be a captured asteroid and, like its smaller twin Deimos ("Panic"), is named after a son of Ares or Mars, the God of War.
Explanation: What causes the black dots on dunes on Mars? As spring dawned on the Northern Hemisphere of Mars in 2004, dunes of sand near the poles begin to defrost. Thinner regions of ice typically thaw first revealing sand whose darkness soaks in sunlight and accelerates the thaw. The process might involve sandy jets exploding through the thinning ice. By summer, the spots expanded to encompass the entire dunes that were then completely thawed and dark. The carbon dioxide and water ice actually sublime in the thin atmosphere directly to gas. Taken in mid-July, the above image shows a field of spotted polar dunes spanning about 3 kilometers near the Martian North Pole. Today, the future of Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity remains unknown windy dust storms continue to starve them of needed sunlight.
Originally posted by mars1
Great thread there zorgon just wonder what happened to all the water on mars.
Do you remember this.
Martian Soil Good Enough For Asparagus
So i presume there is still lots of water in the soil the images you show of the track's look very wet.
August 2, 2005
Life on Mars? Who knows? Ice on Mars? Most definitely—and now we've got more cold, hard evidence.
On Thursday the European Space Agency released a rare photo of a Martian ice lake in the far northern reaches of the planet. Capping a swirl of dunes at the bottom of a 23-mile-wide (35-kilometer-wide) crater, the frozen lake is thought to exist year-round. The modest temperature and pressure changes in this latitude would not be enough to allow the ice to melt or evaporate.
Water, a key ingredient for life, is believed to have once flowed on Mars, etching the gorges that crisscross the red planet. Today water ice is abundant underground, cakes the poles, and may even form frozen, buried seas (see photo). But it is unusual to find lonely patches of ice away from the poles.
The new image, taken by the agency's Mars Express probe, shows largely true colors. But the depth of the crater's ice-fringed, 1.2-mile-deep (2-kilometer-deep) ridges is exaggerated by a factor of three. —Ted Chamberlain
And welcome back don't let the sceptics drive you away ATS is overrun with them.