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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jun > Jun 9

Re: Mars Rover Finds 'Puddles' On The Planet's

From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2007 10:05:21 -0600
Fwd Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2007 14:08:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Mars Rover Finds 'Puddles' On The Planet's

>Source: NewScientist.Com News Service


>15:33 08 June 2007

>[Image at site]

>Mars Rover Finds 'Puddles' On The Planet's Surface
>David Chandler

>A new analysis of pictures taken by the exploration rover
>Opportunity reveals what appear to be small ponds of liquid
>water on the surface of Mars.


>"The temperatures get plenty warm enough, but the Mars
>atmosphere is essentially a vacuum," says Phil Christensen of
>Arizona State University, developer of the Mars rovers' mini-
>Thermal Emission Spectrometers. That means any water or ice
>exposed on the surface evaporates or sublimes away almost
>instantly, he says.

>But, he adds, "it is theoretically possible to get liquid water
>within soil, or under other very special conditions". The
>question is just how special those conditions need to be, and
>whether they ever really are found on Mars today.

>If there were absolutely no wind, says Christensen, you might
>build up a stagnant layer of vapour above a liquid surface,
>preventing it from evaporating too fast. "The problem is, there
>are winds on Mars... In the real world, I think it's virtually
>impossible," he told New Scientist. Simple test

>Levin disagrees. He says his analysis shows that there can be
>wind-free environments at certain times of day in certain
>protected locations. He thinks that could apply to these small
>depressions inside the sheltered bowl of Endurance crater, at
>midday in the Martian summer.


Even in the absence of wind, it isn't clear at all how such a
'bowl' of water vapor could persist. The atmosphere of Mars is
virtually pure CO2, which is ~2.5 times as dense as water vapor
when both are at the same temperature. The bouyant water vapor
would quickly be displaced by the heavier CO2, unless the water
vapor were in some anomalous supercooled state at a temperature
~160 degK colder than the surrounding atmosphere and the liquid
water interface.


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