Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No Ice Puddles on Mars?

It seems the story we posted here that held the implication that there might be frozen puddles as icy sheens on Mars has been so soundly criticized that it has been withdrawn by the researchers themselves!

I would apologize to you, dear readers for even posting it – but as Ralph says, this is, after all, a blog not a learned journal. We will try and be as accurate as we can be, but sometimes the exciting news is just exciting news and turns out to be just wrong.

We were notified of this situation by a reader, Ms. Charlotte Wolter and we appreciate not only her notice of the situation but also her tolerance of our initial defense of science and those who courageously theorize sometimes off the wall theories (like relativity). But, Ms. Wolter caught us speculating a little too freely even after the article was rescinded. To her, we tip our hats and sit in sack cloth and ashes. Charlotte - you were correct and we admit it.

In any case – no ice puddles on Mars. Really? Is that entirely accurate? The United States and the Europeans are spending an awful lot of money to actually find water ice on Mars – and I have recently seen the Mars bound Phoenix (just 37 days from launch) ready to fly to the poles and do just that! But alas, it probably won’t be found and ice sheens… or will it? Wait a minute! Do we count the polar caps as ice sheens, many meters thick? Water or carbon dioxide or both? NASA is hoping for both. Hmmm – we’ll examine this idea of ice on Mars after Phoenix lands and digs into the white stuff to see exactly what it is made of.

Ice sheens on Mars – imagine it. Impossible? Or is the fantastic idea worth the tens of millions it will take Phoenix to go find it? We shall see.

Until then – thank you Ms. Wolter for keeping us honest and straight!