UnNews:Phoenix Lander discovers ice on Mars

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1 July 2008

Ice Chunks on Mars

"Phoenix discovers ice again."

The Phoenix Lander is still finding ice on Mars. University of Arizona scientists are reported very satisfied with the lander's ability to not only find ice, but continue to find ice as the mission proceeds. This is not dry ice, but wet ice, only not wet because the pressure is too low. Using the Ice Chunk Enabler (ICE) on the lander arm, Phoenix exposed several chunks of ice to the Martian atmosphere. This ice "disappeared" over a two day period.

The Phoenix lander has been continuing to find ice since shortly after it landed on Mars the 25th of May. The exciting prospect of analyzing more ice chunks awaits the download of another 250,000 lines of computer code to re-activate the ICE device which was accidentally disabled at the end of the last 250,000 lines of code. Geologists state the findings, so far, point to considerable ice yet to be found on Mars.

Ice chunks will not be analyzed aboard the lander's TEGA oven because the chunks are too large to pass the cover screen. Independent analyses of soil samples, which are still continuing, give every indication that the planet Mars was once able to support ice and shows every indication of being able to do so in the future. Despite the low temperature and atmospheric pressure, scientists eventually hope to be able to find evidence of flowing water, as glaciers.

Scientists have long known that ice might exist on other worlds. We have suspected ice on other worlds for years but now we have actually melted extraterrestrial ice. Ice is of special interest to scientists because ice forms crystals which are known to contain templates that tell ice to grow. Someday, we may be able to grow Martian ice crystals here on Earth.


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