October 3, 2022

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Marslander surprises astronomers: there is no water on Earth

Marslander surprises astronomers: there is no water on Earth

After many years of intense research around Mars – the first landers were already there in the 1970s – surprises are still possible. Posted this week Geophysical Research Letters Analyzing data from a seismograph on Mars, which has been measuring the Red Planet for four years. With a shocking conclusion: there is no water up to 300 meters in the soil of Mars under the Euro-American apparatus. And this was exactly where the water was expected. Once upon a time there were oceans on Mars, this is a proven fact. Where else than Earth would at least some of that water have gone? Part of it will evaporate and escape from the atmosphere due to low gravity. The rest is like ice deep in the glacier ice, undoubtedly. not like that. And certainly not under Mars InSight, which landed in the plain of Elysium Planitia on Mars’ equator on November 23, 2018. The instrument consists of a probe (grapple arm, cameras, and solar panels), a seismograph (with a tortoise-like cover) and a drill with a thermometer a few meters away.

(The message continues below the pictures.)

NASA/JPL-Caltech . Images
NASA/JPL-Caltech . Images
NASA/JPL-Caltech . Images
Mars InSight’s seismograph, with its distinctive cover, imaged from the lander.
Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Mars InSight probe has been operating on the surface of Mars since 2018.

The conclusions are a classic scientific problem: you don’t find what you expect. As one of the astronomers involved, Michael Manga of Berkeley, puts it somewhat timid press release From Geophysical Research Letters: “As scientists, we now have the best possible data and the best observations here. While our models predicted that there would still be ice in the Earth’s interior at this latitude, with layers of liquid water beneath it.” Seismic measurements showed that fractures and pores in the subsoil of sediment and basalt were not bridged with glacial “cement”. There is only air inside, and at most 20% ice, if there is any snow at all. More research is needed.

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Read also: Five proofs of water on Mars (2015)