Patterico's Pontifications

9/27/2015

Water on Mars?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:05 pm

There’s a big NASA announcement coming tomorrow, and the (seemingly accurate) speculation is that it is about the discovery of liquid water on Mars:

NASA says it has big news for us Monday. “Mars Mystery Solved,” the agency’s news release touts without offering even a hint as to what mystery they mean.

For those who just can’t wait, a little Googling may solve the puzzle — and it’s not Matt Damon, little green people, or any other clear indication of life. It appears to be a confirmation of periodically flowing water on the planet’s surface.

Three of the scientists slated for the news conference are listed as authors of a new paper to be delivered at this week’s European Planetary Science Congress.

In it, the researchers say analysis of imaging from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter proves that seasonal dark streaks on the Martian surface are the result of briny water periodically flowing across the planet’s surface.

How about that.

58 Responses to “Water on Mars?”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (fecd9b)

  2. My wife and I comment frequently how much we miss the great Johnny Carson.

    mg (31009b)

  3. Canals!

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  4. BTW, I met Bowie once.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  5. BTW, I met Bowie once.

    Now there’s a story! Please do tell.

    He is, I believe, one of the great musicians in rock history.

    Patterico (fecd9b)

  6. i see that Martian book on the train all the time but I’ve got a lot of other stuff to read and now that you’re forced to picture the guy as being Matt Damon it’s hard to get excited

    happyfeet (831175)

  7. Carson was more hip than Jimmy Fallon can ever hope to be. Clearly Bowie wasn’t his cup of tea but Carson was always professional and respectful when introducing and interviewing acts outside his wheelhouse.

    Mark Johnson (a71a16)

  8. What is it with this thing?
    Best I can find, Mars’ atmosphere is about one percent as dense
    as ours.
    Can there be liquid water in what amounts to a near vacuum?

    Richard Aubrey (27bcd2)

  9. .

    ***************
    ** ZIGGY !!! **
    ***************

    My man!!

    .

    IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (15ea72)

  10. Carson was more hip than Jimmy Fallon can ever hope to be. Clearly Bowie wasn’t his cup of tea but Carson was always professional and respectful when introducing and interviewing acts outside his wheelhouse.

    Carson was the best talk show host ever. He know when to talk and when to shut up. He also read his audience. If they smelled bored with the guest, he’d either redirect or shuffle him off for the next guest, as seemed appropriate.

    IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (15ea72)

  11. Can there be liquid water in what amounts to a near vacuum?

    That figure seems speciously low, but I grant I’m not up on the latest.

    Either way, one possibility, you could have substantially more air pressure in deep river valleys. Remember, Mars isn’t a place of rapid erosion, so deep rills would not fill in very quickly.

    IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (15ea72)

  12. Liquid water is indeed a thing. Also, solid ice. 😉

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  13. Liquid water is indeed a thing. Also, solid ice.

    Yes, I know, but they already found ice there, smart aleck, so I’m just distinguishing this from the previous discovery.

    Let me ask you two questions:

    1) What does H2O stand for?

    2) What is the chemical formula for ice?

    OK then.

    Patterico (fecd9b)

  14. Patterico, you know the joke about the guy who asks where the library is at, I’m sure.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  15. What is it with this thing?
    Best I can find, Mars’ atmosphere is about one percent as dense
    as ours.
    Can there be liquid water in what amounts to a near vacuum?

    Richard Aubrey (27bcd2) — 9/28/2015 @ 6:46 am

    The air is thin up at the adiabatic layer of Earth atmosphere also. So the question is how does water condense in a near vacuum?
    The answer has to do with temperature gradients, and the relative size of water vapor molecules.
    Smaller molecules move at the speed of ambient temperature. Higher temperature the faster the movement, lower the temperature the slower the movement.
    Larger molecules like H2O tend to remain stationary in a free atmosphere, but acquire their speed (and temperature) from collisions with the smaller higher velocity molecules. The amount of collisions it takes for the h2o molecule to “speed up” to ambient temperature is what is referred to as it’s global warming potential.
    With the introduction of a temperature gradient (from sunshine usually, but it could be any heat source) the higher energy (hotter) molecules will push the water vapor toward lower energy regions.
    This eventually pools the individual h2o molecules into a droplet.
    The process has a name. It’s called thermophoresis. Here is a good illustration.

    Generalized term referring to all air molecules. Water vapor might have a specialized term for the same process, but I don’t know what it is.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  16. Come on, I put a little winky emoticon thing. Just kidding, Mr. Patterico.

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  17. I’m hoping they continue the robot missions and forget about the manned Mars thang. They can do the robots for about 2% of what it costs to “lightly kill” humans on the same trip. This ain’t the ’60s when the economy wasn’t in a shambles, like today and the near future.

    dee (b5e869)

  18. Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. Water. Big deal.

    CrustyB (69f730)

  19. Happy–

    Assuming that your persona is anything like what you play online, you would probably like “The Martian.” Mark Watney is really not much like Matt Damon. He’s numerate, for example.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  20. And the Scientologists are saying “I told you so!”

    Rodney King's Spirit (ab8c0d)

  21. #4 Spare me the sordid details.

    Rodney King's Spirit (ab8c0d)

  22. Short representative except from The Martian, which is in the form of a diary:

    Day 14:

    I got my undergrad degree at the University of Chicago. Half the people who studied botany were hippies who thought they could return to some natural world system. Somehow feeding seven billion people through pure gathering. They spent most of their time working out better ways to grow pot. I didn’t like them. I’ve always been in it for the science, not for any New World Order bullsh1t.

    When they made compost heaps and tried to conserve every little ounce of living matter, I laughed at them. “Look at the silly hippies! Look at their pathetic attempts to simulate a complex global ecosystem in their backyard.”

    Of course, now I’m doing exactly that. I’m saving every scrap of biomatter I can find. Every time I finish a meal, the leftovers go to the compost bucket. As for other biological material…

    The Hab has sophisticated toilets. Sh1t is usually vaccum-dried, then accumulated in sealed bags to be discarded on the surface.

    Not anymore!

    In fact, I even did an EVA to recover the previous bags of sh1t from before the crew left. Being completely desiccated, this particular sh1t didn’t have bacteria in it anymore, but it still had complex proteins and would serve as useful manure. Adding it to water and active bacteria would quickly get it inundated, replacing any population killed by the Toilet of Doom.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  23. ok i’ll give the Martian a whirl at some point

    maybe once i finish The Expanse series

    but that means for sure I can’t see the movie

    I finally saw Kingsman this weekend it’s very charming and sweet and fresh I was surprised I hadn’t heard about it more

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  24. god i hate hippies SO much

    people what are obsessed with waste products squick me out

    we have one here in the office

    i once saw her pluck a banana peel off her desk and bag it in a little sandwich bag

    she said she was taking it home to compost it

    I looked at her and nodded as if what she’d said was as normal and sane as anything ever

    she has a lot of cats

    no children

    no husband no boyfriend no girlfriend

    but she has her goddamn banana peel

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  25. Liked Kingsman, too. Loved Edge of Tomorrow, another sleeper — worth seeing more than once, and a buff Emily Blunt is hot.

    But, hey, briny water on Mars! Can we send the delta smelt there?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  26. Could Mars rival Canada as the Left’s next destination?

    mg (31009b)

  27. hadn’t I mentioned kingsman, earlier,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  28. yes, but emily is a temperamental gal, in her latest statement,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  29. the book is great, the film despite having jessica chastain, is weighed down by matt daamon,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  30. it must not have registered Mr. narciso my bad

    happyfeet (831175)

  31. going forward though, I think it’s going to be hard to have a sequel,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  32. really?

    did someone die?

    happyfeet (831175)

  33. no is already in works

    happyfeet (831175)

  34. don’t you remember, I’m not giving away spoilers,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  35. yes yes spoilers are no good

    #nospoilers

    happyfeet (831175)

  36. well there could be a backstory, since there is 18 years between the beginning of the film, otherwise it could be too much like the stormbreaker film,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  37. how do they explain how mars lost it’s atmosphere?

    narciso (ee1f88)

  38. mars was careless

    happyfeet (831175)

  39. 38.how do they explain how mars lost it’s atmosphere?

    Fear and Terror. The two sons of Ares by Aphrodite, also the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. Moons draw off a planet’s atmosphere. Our Moon is the reason our atmosphere is not too dense, too hot, and too polluted with primal volcanic gases to support life, like that of Venus.

    I’m too lazy to look it up. Is the asteroid belt a third moon of Mars that broke up or a would be planet?

    nk (dbc370)

  40. This is what Wikipedia is good for

    The asteroid belt formed from the primordial solar nebula as a group of planetesimals, the smaller precursors of the planets, which in turn formed protoplanets. Between Mars and Jupiter, however, gravitational perturbations from Jupiter imbued the protoplanets with too much orbital energy for them to accrete into a planet. Collisions became too violent, and instead of fusing together, the planetesimals and most of the protoplanets shattered. As a result, 99.9% of the asteroid belt’s original mass was lost in the first 100 million years of the Solar System’s history.[5] Some fragments eventually found their way into the inner Solar System, leading to meteorite impacts with the inner planets. Asteroid orbits continue to be appreciably perturbed whenever their period of revolution about the Sun forms an orbital resonance with Jupiter. At these orbital distances, a Kirkwood gap occurs as they are swept into other orbits.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_belt

    kishnevi (9cb6b5)

  41. those two moons are too far away, the link suggested a collusion with a small planetoid, or cosmic rays, neither is too likely,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  42. TIL Thank you, guys.

    nk (dbc370)

  43. They need to bring in Ahmed the Clock Boy to solve this conundrum!

    Patricia (5fc097)

  44. According to the evil Clinton “Media Matters,” Rush Limbaugh said that the water on Mars is a leftist plot of some sort to do with global warming. That kind of makes me happy. He’s a silly person.

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  45. Oh my, carlitos. Sure, I go to Media Matters for accurate information about what any Right of center talking head says. They have a long history of honest and fair reporting of events.

    I really dislike blowhards like Rush Limbaugh. But he isn’t a scientist. What he loves to do—and is very, very good at—is trolling Lefties.

    My guess? He is responding to the Left’s ability to spin literally everything (even mutually exclusive events) that occurs to fit into the latest mantra of Climate Change.

    But in the final analysis, going to Rush Limbaugh to hear about planetary science, and then snickering at what he opines? Really?

    It’s all about Otherizing people with whom you disagree with name calling and derision. And that is a nonpartisan strategy, unfortunately.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  46. When the factories grind to a halt and the power flickers as in the third world, because of this alchemy, his humor will be short lived.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  47. Anthropogenic Martian Warming, please. Let’s call it for what is. For millenia, there was no evidence of liquid water on Mars. Then, within the space of ten years of introducing man-made technology to the planet, we find liquid water. We increased Mars’s temperature! Res ipsa loquitor, quod erat demostratum, ipso facto. The science does not lie!

    nk (dbc370)

  48. The scientists do though.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  49. Narciso, the deeply sad part is that the people who are letting their politics swag policy will never, ever suffer from their decisions.

    If folks truly believed in carbon dioxide and climate change, there would be a huge drive to nuclear power plants, of the thorium variety (which can’t easily be reprocessed into weapons grade material). Instead, we get calls for alternative energy ideas that seem to be, ahem, associated with political contributions (while complaining about big companies). Sigh.

    Nk, I have always thought there was plenty of subsurface water on Mars. And the funny part is the contortions we go through over robot missions, when one crewed mission would answer the questions. I am starting to suspect that the contortions are the goal.

    Papertiger, it makes me so sad as a scientist to partially agree with you. Narrative, narrative, uber alles.

    Simon Jester (a0e1d9)

  50. Oh my, carlitos. Sure, I go to Media Matters for accurate information about what any Right of center talking head says. They have a long history of honest and fair reporting of events.

    I really dislike blowhards like Rush Limbaugh. But he isn’t a scientist. What he loves to do—and is very, very good at—is trolling Lefties.

    My guess? He is responding to the Left’s ability to spin literally everything (even mutually exclusive events) that occurs to fit into the latest mantra of Climate Change.

    But in the final analysis, going to Rush Limbaugh to hear about planetary science, and then snickering at what he opines? Really?

    It’s all about Otherizing people with whom you disagree with name calling and derision. And that is a nonpartisan strategy, unfortunately.

    Simon Jester (c8876d) — 9/29/2015 @ 7:36 am

    I have absolutely no idea what your point is here. MM is inaccurate, Rush Limbaugh is inaccurate, “Climate Change” is capitalized, and who is “Otherizing” whom, exactly?

    On the bright side, we agree on nuclear power, especially with regards to thorium.

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  51. You think thorium is carbon neutral good luck with that.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  52. From my first awareness of the global warming issue people from both sides have told me that it is self evident there are such things as greenhouse gases, and that a respirator equipped person sitting in a co2 saturated environment, given the same solar input, would feel appreciably warmer than that same person in an Earth natural environment.

    Horse manure. Here’s my Benchtest: I like this video “Making Dry Ice 1935“, but there’s a bunch to choose from.

    Basically dry ice is made by exposing compressed co2 to the air. Co2 evaporates so quickly that it leaves pockets of sub zero temperature behind where if you continue to feed it co2 the gas freezes.

    This is what co2 does at 100% ivory pure concentration.

    This one you can do at home. Get two aquarium thermometers, 2 glasses, and out of the fridge one soda, and one bottled water. The soda will stay cold longer. Every time.
    That’s co2 at “natural” concentration.

    It’s because co2 boils at minus -70 °F something degrees.

    That coupled with thermophoresis (see comment 16) means that co2 never causes warming. Hell co2 struggles to reach room temperature.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  53. Don’t take my word for it. try it.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  54. I think that Ace rounds up the typical DNC approach: “headline lie” about people, and repeat it over and over again. Because most folks won’t bother to dig in the topic. Check it out.

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/359235.php

    Simon Jester (a0e1d9)

  55. It occurred to me, co2 being subject to the same thermophoretic forces that condense water vapor into clouds and rain, there must be an invisible analog of clouds made from co2 in the upper reaches of the troposphere. How would you detect it?

    So I went looking for a report of Co2 precipitating out as snow in Antarctica. Turns out that it’s impossible because there’s not enough co2 in the atmosphere to reach a saturation point.

    But in looking for that, I stumbled upon Gavin Schmidt, the penultimate worthless individual in a field crowded with useless money sucking con men, who to our countries’ embarrassment is given political stature within NASA.

    Schmidt claims here that co2 is a non-condensing greenhouse gas, and because it doesn’t condense that co2 “is the key factor in sustaining Earth’s greenhouse effect”. He claims because it’s non-condensing that “carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the radiative forcing that sustains the Earth’s temperature“.

    There are two Martian ice caps that say Gavin Schmidt is a bald liar.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  56. carbon dioxide manages to condense out of the Mars atmosphere.
    I’ve watched it happen in real time, as the ice caps melt with the seasons.
    Something else worth mentioning. There are no storm clouds. Just sand blown about. Sometimes huge planet obscuring sand storms, but they’re only visible due to the sand.

    Co2 is transparent to all visible light. Co2 obscures infrared. So if there are big billowing clouds of co2 snowing out to replenish the Martian ice caps as the seasons turn, which there absolutely has to be, then they are invisible clouds precipitating, condensing invisible co2 ice directly onto the winter ice cap.

    Given the upper atmosphere of Earth is cold, 50,000 feet up, why wouldn’t the Earth have invisible co2 clouds condensing dry ice here, falling but not reaching the surface?

    papertiger (c2d6da)


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