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Friday, September 25, 2009

Water, water everywhere

Recent discoveries that there is water on the moon,
have been followed up by the news that there seems to be water in unexpected places on Mars

This is yet one more exciting thing in planetary science that has happened during my lifetime.

It shows how close you can sometimes be:  "the team estimates that had the 1976 Viking 2 Lander been able to dig just four to six more inches into the soil, it would have struck ice, too."

It also shows that there are likely new discoveries to come, as we ponder the yet another facet of that commonplace, simple molecule of water: "The purity of the ice – estimated at 99 percent water, 1 percent dust –reopens the question of how these deposits formed. None of the extant explanations, which include a process similar to the one that generates frost heaves on Earth, seem to work in the Martian environment, says Shane Byrne, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona." (emphasis added)

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