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Earth Mars NASA Space News Science Technology

Mars Is Coming Out Of An Ice Age (reuters.com) 166

Taco Cowboy quotes a report from Reuters: An analysis of radar images that peered inside the polar ice caps of Mars shows that Earth's neighbor is coming out of an ice age that is part of an ongoing cycle of climate change, scientists said on Thursday. Using images taken by satellites orbiting Mars, the researchers determined that about 20,872 cubic miles (87,000 cubic km) of ice has accumulated at its poles since the end of the ice age, mostly in the northern polar cap. Scientists are keenly interested in piecing together the climate history of Mars, which contains strong evidence that oceans and lakes once pooled on its surface, bolstering the prospects for life. From the perspective of an Earthling, every day on Mars may feel like an ice age. According to NASA, temperatures on Mars may hit a high at noon at the equator in the summer of roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), or a low of about minus-225 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-153 degrees Celsius) at the poles. The Martian ice began its retreat about 370,000 years ago, marking the end of the last ice age, according to the research published in the journal Science
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Mars Is Coming Out Of An Ice Age

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It was Volkswagen and their inefficient diesel cars, shame.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ickleberry ( 864871 )
      Damn Martian commuters and their diesel
      • by azzy ( 86427 )
        stupid cheap damn stupid Martian power packs.
        • Well, if I could just beg your indulgence for a few seconds more, sir, the old 345 takes a little time to warm up.
    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      The Mars Rover should have been hybrid. I told them, but they didn't listen. See where it got us.

  • > temperatures on Mars may hit a high at noon at the equator in the summer of roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius)

    So, the Martian equator is like living in the UK?

    • The difference is that on mars, you have no atmosphere. In the UK its usually cloudy, and it often rains. This keeps the temperature, even during the night. On mars its like in a desert (just way more worse): if the sun goes down, it gets cold immediately.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        No atmosphere? It most definitely has an atmosphere.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • by Anonymous Coward

          At 0.6% pressure of Earth's at the surface, it doesn't have much of an atmosphere. The Martian was a movie, remember. Oh wait, I forgot, we base policy decisions on movies now. Never mind; yes, Mars has a robust atmosphere! With plenty of Oxygen!

          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            The Martian was a movie, remember. Oh wait, I forgot, we base policy decisions on movies now. Never mind; yes, Mars has a robust atmosphere! With plenty of Oxygen!

            The Martian did not portray a robust atmosphere.

            • by Grench ( 833454 )

              The winds on Mars would never be enough to cause the rocket to topple over, because the atmospheric pressure is so low. Yes, the atmospheric gases move at hundreds of miles per hour in a storm - but the most they seem to be capable of is kicking up dust.

              • But, the writers can't come up with a relate-able peril scene to set the emotional stage for abandoning the crew member without a powerful storm that put the ship in jeopardy.

                The Martian was a great movie, as long as you didn't think about it.

              • by khallow ( 566160 )

                Yes, the atmospheric gases move at hundreds of miles per hour in a storm

                You do realize that the load from wind is the square of the wind speed times density? And the density would be increased by the dust that was picked up? At the height of summer, effective density of 0.01 atm and 175 kph wind speed (sited by the book and film, but could be higher during gusts), that would be 15 newtons per square meter [engineeringtoolbox.com]. A fragile high surface area rocket which is not well secured would have a significant side force which could indeed push it over.

                I haven't watched the movie so I don't kno

                • NASA said they got a lot of the science right, but that part of he movie was bogus. The writer admitted as much too, but needed it for the setup.
                • You there. Yes, YOU! Stop it with that science and physics and math, we're hear to speculate, not solve!
        • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
          No atmosphere? It most definitely has an atmosphere.

          For Earthlings, the Martian atmosphere is a fairly good vacuum.

    • If the UK gets down to hundreds below at night and has practically no air, then yes.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Ah. Talking about far northern Canada. That's what happens when you bottle it up and sell it to the Chinese.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Yes 4 feet from the ground. at 6 feet it's 40 degrees and drops off rapidly from there.

    • > temperatures on Mars may hit a high at noon at the equator in the summer of roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius)

      So, the Martian equator is like living in the UK?

      I wish we could get 20 degrees.

  • Ice spread from the poles on Earth because water which vaporized in the tropics condensed at the poles when the planet was cool. But Mars doesn't have free water in the tropics. There is probably permafrost there but its locked away, immobile.

  • An analysis of radar images that peered inside the polar ice caps of Mars shows that Earth's neighbor is coming out of an ice age

    Golly gee, so is Earth!

    Except in Earth's case, Earthlings and their civilization are somehow to blame for the temperature rising and not the natural cycles the planet has gone through in the past, long before humans were a gleam in Darwin's eye.

    Silly Earthlings!

    No wonder star-faring civilizations have avoided direct contact!

    Strat

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Friday May 27, 2016 @07:24AM (#52193937)

      Except in Earth's case, Earthlings and their civilization are somehow to blame for the temperature rising and not the natural cycles the planet has gone through in the past, long before humans were a gleam in Darwin's eye.

      TFA:

      The climate cycles are triggered by changes in Mars' orbit and tilt, which affect how much sunlight reaches the planet's surface.

      The shifts are particularly dramatic on Mars because theplanet's tilt changes by as much as 60 degrees, compared to variations in Earth's tilt of about 2 degrees.

      Since we've already accounted for the effect of Earth's orbit and tilt (which run on 100,000 and 20,000 year cycles), unless you have a bitchin' theory for how Mars' orbit and tilt afffect the climate of the Earth, we're still pretty damn confident that it's the humans.

      • Except in Earth's case, Earthlings and their civilization are somehow to blame for the temperature rising and not the natural cycles the planet has gone through in the past, long before humans were a gleam in Darwin's eye.

        Since we've already accounted for the effect of Earth's orbit and tilt (which run on 100,000 and 20,000 year cycles), unless you have a bitchin' theory for how Mars' orbit and tilt afffect the climate of the Earth, we're still pretty damn confident that it's the humans.

        Strawman. I never claimed Earth's climate changes were the result of the same orbital variations as those affecting Mars' climate.

        ... we're still pretty damn confident that it's the humans

        So, humans are to blame for all the previous warming periods in Earth's long climate change history, and long before humans existed and created an industrial s

        • You are making an unwarranted assumption that because humans weren't responsible for previous climate changes they can't be responsible for them now.

          But you know, the whole point of being a climatologist is to study the things that affect the climate and how it changes. You must think they're pretty stupid if they're missing the natural changes that are changing the climate now at a rate that is practically unprecedented compared to historical climate changes. You'd have a good chance of winning a Nobel P

          • You must think they're pretty stupid if they're missing the natural changes that are changing the climate now at a rate that is practically unprecedented compared to historical climate changes. You'd have a good chance of winning a Nobel Prize if you can show them the error of their ways.

            I don't think they're stupid at all. They're simply doing what they get paid to do. Finding more reason to pin climate change on human activity pays well, gets you fame and fortune. I think they're being honest about it too but that's the thing with incentive programs, you get what you pay for out of people. That's why we had things like ClimateGate 1 & 2 where it was shown how they manipulate data, skew research and publishing, and intimidate people with contradictory conclusions.

            And the Nobel Prize,

            • Hah! ClimateGate was much ado about nothing. There have been like a dozen investigations of the CG emails by different agencies and organizations and none of them found any scientific malfeasance, just a few nits about being more open.

              You don't think the fact that CO2 levels have increased to levels that haven't been seen for over a million years and the year to year increase in atmospheric CO2 is a bit less than half of human emissions has something to do with it? The basic physics of the radiative prop

          • You are making an unwarranted assumption that because humans weren't responsible for previous climate changes they can't be responsible for them now.

            But you know, the whole point of being a climatologist is to study the things that affect the climate and how it changes. You must think they're pretty stupid if they're missing the natural changes that are changing the climate now at a rate that is practically unprecedented compared to historical climate changes

            There are political/ideological forces with great political power and monetary resources, completely unrelated to science or climatology, at work here that are hellbent on using AGW as a club to force the political/ideological changes and wealth-transfers they desire down everyone's throat which you are ignoring.

            You'd have a good chance of winning a Nobel Prize if you can show them the error of their ways.

            No. There are trillions of dollars of wealth and tremendous amounts of political power at stake. If I had absolute proof that AGW was a scam I'd be much more likely to end up in a "black facility" i

            • Wow, do you seriously believe that thousands of climate scientists from around the world are willing to be part of a conspiracy that's been going on for at least 30 years (and maybe back to Arrhenius in 1896) to pervert the science just for the sake political ideology? There are a few scientists like that but the vast majority of them are smart enough to know that if they push science they know to be wrong they will be found out and their reputations destroyed. I think most of them have far too much integ

        • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

          Strawman. I never claimed Earth's climate changes were the result of the same orbital variations as those affecting Mars' climate.

          Strawman. I never claimed that you did. You instead claimed that the warming that has occured over the last, let's be generous, 200 years, was due to the same phenomenon.

          The problem being, the scientists already thought of that. Duh.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Because if something happens in two different places, there must be a common cause.

      If a baby bird falls out of a nest and someone trips and falls headlong down the stairs, there is a common cause: gravity. Forget all the "experts" who say staircases should have handrails, because people have always fallen down stairs. People will always continue to fall down stairs. There's nothing we can do about it, because it's gravity that makes them fall.

  • Why deal with petty things, this is INTERPLANETARY warming!

  • In Mars’s current atmosphere, water boils away quickly. If there pools of liquid water, logically, that would imply a denser and heavier atmosphere in the past. Can we do any math to predict bounds on what the atmosphere on Mars (given its gravity, etc.) would have had to contain in terms of content and total mass?

  • Mars' global warming is exactly why we need common sense socio-economic mandates here on earth. I'm so glad to see that a lot of large tech news websites, like Wired and The Verge, spontaneously all wrote articles on the anniversary of "An Inconvenient Truth."
  • According to the article, the ice age on Mars occurred when the planet was warmer. Ice was able to form in a stable state at lower latitudes when the climate was warmer.

    Unlike Earth, ice ages on Mars occur when its poles are warmer than average and frozen water is more stable at lower latitudes. Transitions between lengthy climate phases can leave telltale features in the ice, the research showed.

  • That -225ÂF night time low is interesting. I have a super freezer with a double compressor that goes down to -121ÂF which is colder than dry ice. I use this for shipping meat from our on-farm butcher shop. It's so cold that if you touch anything inside the freezer with your bare hands you'll stick to it and get instant frost bite. When you first open the chest freezer there is a mist undulating of CO2 vapor that hasn't quite frozen yet. Very cool to play with. Night time on Mars is far colder. Ouc

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