Scientists find previously unknown deposits of CO2 on Mars


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Scientists find a gigantic and previously unknown deposit of CO2 at Mars’ south pole.

“We already knew there is a small perennial cap of carbon-dioxide ice on top of the water ice there, but this buried deposit has about 30 times more dry ice than previously estimated,” said Roger Phillips of Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. Phillips is deputy team leader for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Shallow Radar instrument and lead author of the report. . . . “When you include this buried deposit, Martian carbon dioxide right now is roughly half frozen and half in the atmosphere, but at other times it can be nearly all frozen or nearly all in the atmosphere,” Phillips said.

What this discovery means is that, depending on Mars’ orbital circumstances, its atmosphere can sometimes be dense enough for liquid water to flow on its surface.

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4 comments

  • jwing

    Point to ponder: While Mar’s atmophere is mostly CO2 (gas), Mars is an extremely cold planet as evidenced by the persistence of water ice and frozen CO2 on Mars. Does global warming obey the inverse effect on Mars than on Earth? Either CO2 in the atmosphere is a green-house gas leading to global warming or it is an ice-house gas leading to global cooling.

  • interesting . i think we should send people not robots to investigate . or at least people with robots . c/fe

  • Mars and Venus both have CO2-dominant atmospheres (95% and 97%, respectively), but one is much closer to the sun. And, of course, the atmo on Venus is much denser. I’d be real interested to know if anyone has run sims on a Venusian climate with an Earth-normal atmosphere. It’d be hot, but how hot?

  • jwing

    So it is immediately obvious that something else far more complicated than the theory of AGW is the mechamism of a planet’s climate. Mars is cold and Venus is hot as if follows that Venus is closer to the Sun and Mars is past that of Earth. Neither Mars nor Venus have SUV’s or coa- buring power plant either. AGW is a farse on the level of purposely scaring a small child.

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