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Huge Dry Ice Deposit on Mars: NASA Orbiter Reveals Big Changes in Red Planet's Atmosphere

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posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 01:11 PM
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ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2011) — NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has discovered the total amount of atmosphere on Mars changes dramatically as the tilt of the planet's axis varies. This process can affect the stability of liquid water, if it exists on the Martian surface, and increase the frequency and severity of Martian dust storms.





Researchers using the orbiter's ground-penetrating radar identified a large, buried deposit of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice, at the Red Planet's south pole. The scientists suspect that much of this carbon dioxide enters the planet's atmosphere and swells the atmosphere's mass when Mars' tilt increases. The findings are published in the journal Science.

The newly found deposit has a volume similar to Lake Superior's nearly 3,000 cubic miles (about 12,000 cubic kilometers). The deposit holds up to 80 percent as much carbon dioxide as today's Martian atmosphere. Collapse pits caused by dry ice sublimation and other clues suggest the deposit is in a dissipating phase, adding gas to the atmosphere each year. Mars' atmosphere is about 95 percent carbon dioxide, in contrast to Earth's much thicker atmosphere, which is less than .04 percent carbon dioxide.

"We already knew there is a small perennial cap of carbon-dioxide ice on top of the water ice there, but this buried deposit has about 30 times more dry ice than previously estimated," said Roger Phillips of Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. Phillips is deputy team leader for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's Shallow Radar instrument and lead author of the report.

"We identified the deposit as dry ice by determining the radar signature fit the radio-wave transmission characteristics of frozen carbon dioxide far better than the characteristics of frozen water," said Roberto Seu of Sapienza University of Rome, team leader for the Shallow Radar and a co-author of the new report. Additional evidence came from correlating the deposit to visible sublimation features typical of dry ice.

"When you include this buried deposit, Martian carbon dioxide right now is roughly half frozen and half in the atmosphere, but at other times it can be nearly all frozen or nearly all in the atmosphere," Phillips said


Science Daily - Full Article

Well this is neato! So let's heat this up while simultaneously coating Mars with a Big Bag of seeds of all sorts of plants. Tera-forming Mars would be a piece of cake then


I truly hope I am still around when we actually do get to delve into this planet. I am a firm believer that Mars holds some secret to our existence here on Earth. If anything, Halloween stores will now have virtually an unlimited source of dry ice. Acquisition and delivery may cost a pretty penny though.




posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 01:16 PM
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What mars needs is a large moon. One day we can probably move a large asteroid there. This moons gravity would hopefuly cause mars core to heat up and make a magnetic field.



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 01:17 PM
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Im with you.....
Surely we could send rockets ahead of the astronatstoform an atmosphere to greet them when they get there?
Send some plant forms or something?



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 01:32 PM
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reply to post by Xeven
 


Could you imagine the size of the Brake Pads you'd need on whatever you built to slow the Asteroid down?



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 01:44 PM
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I love hearing about building a large moon. Do you realize the amount of steel ever produced on earth in earth's history wouldn't even approach the mass or size of Mars's smallest moon? This is considering the fact that during WW II the city of Pittsburgh smelted enough steel to build a 3-foot wide 3-inch thick sidewalk to the moon and back, 6 times over?

Things that big are not 'manufactured', that's ridiculous!



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 01:48 PM
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reply to post by Illustronic
 


ummm hello, I know a specific Dark Jedi that seemingly has a very troubling breathing condition and wears a black helmet and cape that may want to debate you on that sooooo.



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by UberL33t
reply to post by Xeven
 
Could you imagine the size of the Brake Pads you'd need on whatever you built to slow the Asteroid down?


Use multiple aerobraking passes.

Piece of cake, no fuel or brake pads needed.



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by Illustronic
I love hearing about building a large moon. Do you realize the amount of steel ever produced on earth in earth's history wouldn't even approach the mass or size of Mars's smallest moon? This is considering the fact that during WW II the city of Pittsburgh smelted enough steel to build a 3-foot wide 3-inch thick sidewalk to the moon and back, 6 times over?

Things that big are not 'manufactured', that's ridiculous!




They are not manufactured YET!

With experiments like the large hadron collider, who says we will not some day be able to create structures that today would seem impossible.

Just because something cannot be achieved today does not mean that it cannot be achieved tomorrow



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 03:33 PM
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reply to post by Flying Sorcerer
 




Just because something cannot be achieved today does not mean that it cannot be achieved tomorrow


Imagine...just 200 years from now, where we'll be technologically speaking...where we are now vs. 200 years to our history, should give one an idea. Well that is if we don't botch it before then with petty human indifference.



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 03:37 PM
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reply to post by UberL33t
 


Add some Miracle Grow with that bag of seeds and you would cut the amount of time it would take in 1/2 guaranteed
. They need to hurry up and develop that Star Trek device "Genesis". Let's get the ball rolling on making another planet home before our planet gives us the boot



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by Blisse
 


I could not have replied with a better post
...well done! I see you're new... on that note, welcome to ATS


ETA: and a neighbor no less

edit on 4/23/2011 by UberL33t because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 10:01 PM
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reply to post by Flying Sorcerer
 


The LHC breaks apart matter by smashing elemental particles (protons stripped of electrons, currently, lead) together in hopes of finding out what bonds mass. At the RHIC at Brookhaven Long Island, they use gold protons, and the Tevatron near Chicago, actually ionizes hydrogen gas and smashes the smallest protons together. What's 'created' lasts less than billionths of seconds.

You need the raw materials to assemble, you just don't materialize that. It takes massive stars to form heavy elements from nuclear fusion created by their gravitational mass. If you propose that a massive 'collector' of sorts can be assembled to fuse heavy elements from sparse space then you just found a way to circumvent formation of massive stars for raw materials.



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