Thursday, June 19, 2008

water? on mars?

The Phoenix Mars mission is reporting that they've found conclusive evidence for water on Mars.

Their evidence? Watching the alleged chunks of ice disappear over four days.

"It must be ice," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. "These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."
Um, seriously? That's it? There's nothing else on there that could characterize water a little more spectroscopically? They went and equipped the darn thing with a twitter account but couldn't include an IR spectrometer?

Who's running this thing, anyways? Sounds like they could use a chemist or two.


katiedid said...

I read on one of their updates that the column on one of their pieces of equipment got clogged with dirt. So, I think there's some sort of spectroscopy equipment, it just maybe wasn't tested enough before it left here...

Joel Kelly said...

Also, it is possible that under the atomospheric conditions, water could be the only reasonable answer to something sublimating. CO2 and methane might not want to exist as a solid at those temperatures and pressures.

I have, however, made several annoucements to my labmates announcing that I've found water ice ALL OVER THE LAB! press releases shortly.