31.7.08

Water Water Everywhere

Image source with more information
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
/Texas A&M University

So, the Phoenix team report that their scooper (above) has successfully scooped up some water ice. This is a great piece of news regarding the aims of this particular mission, but despite what many news outlets seem to be reporting, it is old news that there is water ice on Mars. We've known this for quite a few years thanks to orbital observations by several craft of both the bloody great big ice caps on either end of the planet and also the frozen red soil between them.

Given my fondness for Saturn, its enormous (mostly) water ice rings and its numerous water ice moons, you may also be far from surprised to learn that those science correspondents claiming (and/or implying) that this is the first evidence of any water ice in space should probably be fired. Out of a cannon.

On a positive note, Phoenix's mission has been extended. It also seems that they're overcoming problems with their oven door and the consistency of the Martian soil. Personally, I'm hoping they'll let the thing keep going til it breaks, but then I always feel that way about our robot space-friends.

3 comments:

diddums said...

It puzzles me when the same thing is announced over and over again. :-)

Maybe they figure someone somewhere missed it the first fifty times round.

chiya said...

Haha nicely written, this made me laugh :)

I hope they let it keep going til it breaks, too. What else would they do with it?

Geosomin said...

Oven?
They're baking muffins up there aren't they?
Tasty moon muffins.
Hmmm...now I'm hungry