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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Mars Coming Out of an Ice Age?

A poor creature trying to survive during the last ice age.
A poor creature trying to survive during the last ice age.
Mars has been warming for some time now. It has been thought that this was akin to global warming on Earth. New data now suggests that Mars is coming out of an ice age. Having burried ice around the equator is what got scientists thinking that this trend of warming was not what we first thought. "One explanation could be that Mars is just coming out of an ice age," William Feldman or LANL said. "In some low-latitude areas, the ice has already dissipated. In others, that process is slower and hasn't reached an equilibrium yet. Those areas are like the patches of snow you sometimes see persisting in protected spots long after the last snowfall of the winter." He also said that dust may be covering and insulating ice, which makes up 10% of the regolith, up to 3 feet deep. "A model that fits the data has three layers near the surface," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, Tucson, team leader for the gamma-ray spectrometer instrument on Odyssey. "The very top layer would be dry, with no ice. The next layer would contain ice in the pore spaces between grains of soil. Beneath that would be a very ice-rich layer, 60 to nearly 100 percent water ice."

Thanks to snelson5871 for submitting this news.

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- posted by Jim @ 10:30 EST