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Originally posted by rogerstigers
I am pretty certain that NASA sponsored research has done at least a FEW spectroscopic imagings of the martian atmosphere. My guess is it was either an inconvenient result, or was considered to be in error for some reason, since we keep hearing the same "water cannot exist on mars except in solid form" over and over.
There are two major objectives of the Viking MAWD experiments. The first of these is to map, during the far encounter and preliminary orbital phases, the distribution of water vapor over the planet
..But when Navarro-González and his colleagues added 1 percent by weight magnesium perchlorate to soil from the Atacama Desert in Chile, which is thought to closely resemble Martian soil and is known to contain organic compounds, they found an intriguing result.
Heating the perchlorate-adulterated desert soil to temperatures comparable to those in the Viking experiments produced the same chlorinated organic compounds that were found by the landers in 1976 but dismissed as contaminants. Nearly all the organic compounds originally in the Chilean soil were destroyed during the heating.
The weather appeared to remain fairly constant throughout the week, however, as both the beginning and end of the week displayed similar conditions.
Acidalia was rather hazy, but no active dust lifting was observed. Water ice clouds persisted over Tempe, Acidalia, Arsia Mons, and were tenuously present across the southern mid- and high latitudes. The MER-B rover in Meridiani Planum saw mostly clear skies.
Originally posted by Phage
The article is talking about water vapor high in the Martian atmosphere (20-50 km). Where the atmosphere is that thin it does not take a lot of water vapor to supersaturate it. What was surprising was that the vapor was carried that high above the surface without condensing out into clouds of ice.
The discovery does offer an explanation of what became of the seas that Mars apparently had at one time. Rather than forming underground "glaciers", the water may have been broken down by sunlight and escaped into space.
"The data suggest that much more water vapor is being carried high enough in the atmosphere to be affected by photodissociation," added Franck Montmessin, also from LATMOS, who is the Principal Investigator for SPICAM and a co-author of the paper.
"Solar radiation can split the water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen atoms, which can then escape into space. This has implications for the rate at which water has been lost from the planet and for the long-term evolution of the Martian surface and atmosphere."
edit on 9/30/2011 by Phage because: (no reason given)
There's lots of facts about Mars we are not taught or told as laypeople, and in many cases a lot of apparently deliberate misinformation perpetuated and taught instead.