Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Spacecraft fleet zeroing in on Martian water reserves

08.12.2006
The discovery of bright deposits on Mars, announced today by NASA, could indicate that liquid water has recently flowed on a few locations on the planet. The new data help planetary scientists involved with several missions orbiting the Red Planet focus their quest to understand the Martian water cycle.

It has been an established fact for several years now that water exists on Mars. However, the big question is how much of it – if any – is in liquid form. The newly discovered deposits were identified by comparing different images of the same area taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor (MOC camera), over a period of few years. The images suggest that water may have flowed there sometime within the past seven years.

This gives planetary scientists an excellent target for follow-up work. Yet, just because water appears to have flowed does not automatically mean that underground reservoirs of liquid water are present.

ESA’s Mars Express has found large reservoirs of water underground using its radar experiment MARSIS. All are frozen, with the largest in Mars's polar regions. Such frozen underground lakes might be driven to temporarily thaw and flow across the surface by changes in temperature, caused by changes in illumination from the Sun or, possibly, by local variations in the underground pressure.

In addition, much water is locked into so-called hydrated minerals that have been found by the OMEGA instrument on ESA's Mars Express.

The new observations demonstrate the crucial need for continuous monitoring of Mars. Only by studying the same areas over and over again will any temporary processes by revealed. In an extremely lucky case, instruments may even catch the water flowing.

Planetary scientists on both sides of the Atlantic will now be focusing their efforts on combing this region for more evidence of water. Scientists responsible for the MARSIS instrument on Mars Express are looking ahead to see when the ESA spacecraft will next bring the region into view.

MARSIS can probe as deeply as 5 kilometres below the surface, and it is complementary to SHARAD, the radar flown on NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The latter will be help to detect possible water reservoirs contained in the first kilometre, just below the surface of the discovery area.

In addition, other instruments such as cameras and spectrometers will collect more valuable information about this exciting area on Mars. In this way, scientists will continue to piece together the fascinating behaviour of Mars, both in its past and its present.

Agustin Chicarro | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEMN4E9L6VE_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte
17.08.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht Protecting the power grid: Advanced plasma switch for more efficient transmission
17.08.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>