A new map of the water ice on Mars


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Annotated water ice map of Mars
Click for full resolution image.

In a new science paper planetary scientists have produced a new global map of the water ice of Mars, based on data from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Mars Odyssey.

The image above is a lower resolution version of that map, annotated by me. The black areas are regions covered with a thicker layer of dust, so no good data was obtained. As you go from red to green to blue to purple the ice is thought to be closer to the surface, with the depth as small as an inch in the dark purple areas. The white rectangular represents the region best for human settlement, as it has ice near the surface and is at lower latitudes.

The red box indicates the location in Arcadia Planitia that is SpaceX’s candidate landing zone for Starship. Based on this new water ice map it appears that SpaceX has chosen very well. And the scientists who wrote this paper agree, as noted in the press release: “A large portion of a region called Arcadia Planitia is the most tempting target in the northern hemisphere.”

The map also confirms the existence of the 30 to 60 degree latitude bands where scientists believe a lot of buried glaciers exist. Both bands are both very evident in this new map.

To provide some further context, below is a global map of Mars labeled to show its major geographic features as well as the locations of all previous and upcoming landers/rovers, rearranged to match the water ice map above.

Global map of Mars matching water ice map

If we can avoid destroying ourselves over politics, the future in space could be very exciting.

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10 comments

  • “If we can avoid destroying ourselves over politics, . . .”

    I’ve said before it’s a horse race, and given history, I’d tend to bet on the Four Horsemen.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Blair,

    Never say never, I suppose, but the half-century starting in 1970 has been rather small beer where the Four Horsemen are concerned compared to the half-century from 1920-1970 or even the half-century from 1870-1920. Here on the ground, by 2070 the two main powers in the world will be the U.S. and India. The remaining troublemakers in the world, the PRC and Russia, should be long gone and greatly diminished, respectively. The PRC regime seems destined to implode from internal strains fairly soon. What succeeds it seems vastly less likely to be the global pain-in-the-arse the PRC has been. Russia, meanwhile, is likely to have fallen well below 100 million in population by 2070 and to have faded still more as a strategic military threat due to five additional decades of penury and decay.

    Somewhere along the way, the U.S. seems likely to have squished all or most of the other pesky insect regimes of the world – North Korea, Cuba, Iran. Venezuela will long since have fallen to its own citizens once more, though perhaps with some help from neighboring So. American nations who reach the ends of their tethers anent the mess that is Venezuela on their borders.

    In space, there will be substantial industrial installations on the Moon, Mars and two or three of the larger asteroids. There may not be huge human populations on these places, but there will be six or seven figures worth of humans living in orbiting habs near all these extraterrestrial locales.

    The future, in my view, looks bright.

  • Questioner

    Dick Eagleson:

    I do not want to disturb your wet dreams of continued American dominance in the distant future over the rest of the world, but I think your scenario is unlikely. I think that America is moving more towards Brazil (“Brazilization”). It is a dangerous Brazil because it has many nuclear weapons. The smaller the proportion of the white population in America, the more it will resemble Brazil. I would not bet on India, too inhomogeneous and too diverse. China will be the next world super power. We may like it or not, it doesn’t matter. If Russia and the European countries are smart, they will join forces with China because unlike America, China will not try to transfer its ideology and culture to other countries. Trump’s presidency is now believed to mark a turning point in America’s history: the beginning of farewell to the Empire.

  • Edward

    Questioner,
    You wrote: “China will not try to transfer its ideology and culture to other countries.

    America has not tried to transfer its ideology or its culture to other countries. Any transfer has happened because the populations of these other countries desired them. For instance, American culture moves not because Americans emigrate to other countries (it is the other way around) but because the populations of those countries willingly purchase music, movies, and other “cultural goods.” They even move here permanently in order to enjoy our ideology and culture. Apparently, these go overseas because they are preferred not because they are forced.

    Other countries have made much ceremony out of the fact that they have tried to emulate America’s Bill of Rights and other freedoms. Even the United Nations brags about having its Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). These countries and the UN have missed the point of the Bill of Rights in that certain rights are natural rights (lions roar, birds sing, etc.) that cannot be taken away by government, but these other declarations of rights are written as though the rights were granted by the countries, UN, or whatever organization wrote their own rights document(s). Indeed, the UN UDHR has a clause that allows the UN to take away any right it chooses:
    https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

    Article 29. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

    Meanwhile, the Bill of Rights uses phrases such as “shall make no law,” “shall not be infringed,” and “shall not be violated” to describe how these rights are paramount over governmental laws and rights.
    http://constitutionus.com/#x1

    The Ninth Amendment declares that just because the Constitution lists some inalienable rights, that is not all that there are. The Tenth Amendment guarantees a limited power of government and is antithetical to the UDHR Article 29 (3). It is too bad that We the People let this last amendment be so badly violated. This horrific violation is why you believe that “Trump’s presidency is now believed to mark a turning point in America’s history.

    … the beginning of farewell to the Empire.

    I find it fascinating how many people there are who have no idea what an empire is but in their ignorance are willing and eager to declare the United States to be one.

    Are your other predictions for the future also based upon such ignorance? After all, the United States is inhomogeneous and diverse, too, yet you believe it to be a dominating empire.

  • Edward: To confirm your comments about how others from other countries value our Bill of Rights, see this article: Overheard at Tajikistan Airport Security Checkpoint, Second Amendment

    It describes a conversation very far from the U.S. between two foreigners about the second amendment and the American Bill of Rights, and includes this quote from one of those individuals:

    America has a Constitution that guarantees certain liberties, and per the second amendment of the American constitution people can exercise the right to bear arms at any time and any place, to protect themselves, but even more importantly, to insure their government does not become tyrannical.

    The right to keep and bear arms is one of the unique things about America that makes her a great nation.

    Those not blinded by race hatred and bigotry, as Questioner clearly is, know the truth, and deeply wish their countries could emulate the U.S. when it comes to our Constitution.

  • Edward

    and deeply wish their countries could emulate the U.S. when it comes to our Constitution.

    Unfortunately, too many people in other countries have been raised to believe that human rights are only granted by other humans, usually the leaders.

    This raises the question as to who gave those other humans the rights, in the first place, in order to grant them to the populace. So far, I have not received an answer to that question.

    The other countries will only successfully emulate the U.S. Constitution when they finally acknowledge that there are certain natural rights that cannot be taken away by government. The distinction between these two philosophies seems to be too subtle for many people to understand, but it is vitally important to the direction of who serves whom. Governments were formed by men in order to serve their citizens. Governments were not created so that their citizens would serve them. Rights are a gift of nature, not of men. Otherwise the gift could be withdrawn by less generous men, but it cannot be withdrawn by nature.

    Hopefully, Martian and lunar settlements will understand this distinction.

  • Edward

    Robert,
    From your Tajikistan-airport link: “It is a testament to the lack of historical awareness in the United States that we have a significant contingent of citizens who wish to destroy it, precisely because the United States is so wealthy, rich, powerful, and successful.

    There is an irony with the Statue of Liberty, in that her meaning was abrogated by the poem that was chosen for her, “The New Colossus.” “From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome … Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

    From that, people assume that she raises a beacon to welcome people to America. However, her intent was to shine a beacon to show the rest of the world how to breathe free; not to drain the rest of the world of its population but to show that population how to do it themselves.

    Instead of spreading freedom, ending the poverty of the weary huddled masses, many people choose instead to degrade the successful America and tear it down to the level of the rest of the impoverished masses yearning to breathe free. Rather than securing the “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” (America’s mission, according to the Constitution’s Preamble), many are eager to secure the blight of tyranny and socialism for all the world.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Statue of Liberty’s purpose were to come to pass, and the whole world were free? Then instead of being jealous of the U.S. or instead of wanting to come to the U.S., the rest of the world would be happy where they are and would be fruitful, producing an abundance for all to enjoy.

  • Questioner

    Edward:

    Don’t be fooled by your theoretical considerations, look at reality.

    Usually one says that if something looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and squeaks like a duck, it really is a duck.

    When a country looks like an Empire: 1. around 900 military bases around the world, 2. by far the largest military spending in the world, and behaves like an Empire: 1. dollar as world reserve currency, 2. dominance of the world financial and trading system to drain other countries and export its own inflation, 3. maintenance of a large number of dependent vassal states around the world, 4. ruling of the seas and space, 5. conduction of a very large number of intervention wars, then really is an Empire.

    Incidentally, Iraq’s “voluntary” takeover of the American way of life and “liberty” (= rule of oligarchs and large corporations) left about a million dead in Iraq, including many children. And that is only one example of many.

  • wayne

    Metallica
    “The Day That Never Comes”
    2008
    https://youtu.be/dkNfNR1WYMY
    8:24

  • Edward

    Questioner,
    You wrote: “When a country looks like an Empire: 1. around 900 military bases around the world, 2. by far the largest military spending in the world

    I don’t know what fantasy world you live in, but in reality neither of these appearances resemble an empire. Further, in the real world, the U.S. has been invited to guard many countries around the world (your item 1) at our own expense (your item 2). When asked to leave, we do; just ask the Philippines.

    Your second list of empire-like behaviors do not define an empire, either: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/empire

    1. a group of nations or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress, or other powerful sovereign or government: usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom, as the former British Empire, French Empire, Russian Empire, Byzantine Empire, or Roman Empire.

    2. a government under an emperor or empress.

    3. (often initial capital letter) the historical period during which a nation is under such a government.

    4. supreme power in governing; imperial power; sovereignty.

    The U.S. is sovereign over what nations? Or do you think that the U.S. has an emperor? Certainly you do not think that the U.S. is a period of time rather than being a nation. Otherwise, do you think that the U.S. governs over other nations, and if so, which ones?

    In addition, other countries choose to align with the dollar as a reserve currency, even when China and others have proposed to change that, so there is no power of an empire there.

    Having the largest economy in the world comes from the liberty that Robert and I have been talking about; if the rest of the world would liberate their populations then they would have larger per capita economies. Either way, empire is not defined by size of an economy.

    You do not seem to understand the word “vassal” or the concept of “vassal state.” The seas and space are not ruled by any nation; you do not seem to understand international law. The “intervention wars” are at the request of other nations, the United Nations, or both.

    So if it doesn’t look like an empire, rule like an empire, or squeak like an empire, is it an empire in reality?

    Speaking of empires, the United Nations wants to make its own laws to be supreme over member nations’s laws. Now that is an empire (definitions 1 and 4, above).

    Incidentally, if it left a million dead, then Iraq did not “takeover” the American way of life. Or do you think that the American way of life is death? Since you put “liberty” in quotations, you also do not think that Iraq “took over” American liberty, either. In fact, you defined “liberty” as being ruled by oligarchs and large corporations. What kind of liberty is that? Are your many other examples just as poorly thought out?

    Since I describe American liberty as being quite different than what virtually the rest of the world does (including Iraq), I do not think that Iraq “took over” American liberty, either.

    Just as a history lesson: the United States was born out of colonies that were victims of an empire. We have striven to avoid becoming the same thing, which has been tricky, as we had been implored to intervene in two world-wide wars that we had little interest in joining. After having been eventually dragged into these wars (due to attacks on our ships), many of the world’s nations asked us to lead the world in peace and liberty, only to result in having various people around the world call us an empire — the very thing we have tried so hard to avoid becoming.

    No wonder there have been so many Americans calling for America to become isolationist. They think that if the rest of the world goes to war with each other then that is their problem, not America’s. Except that we kept getting dragged into these wars due to attack. So what good was the isolationism?

    You, Questioner, have confused leadership with empire. America was innovative and found a way to lead other countries into peaceful relations without becoming sovereign over them. Just because this is rare in history does not mean that it is impossible to do, it just takes “doing a Trump” by making the right deals, or negotiations. This may be where your confusion comes in. You may have a culture or live in a nation where this is contrary with your history, and if it hasn’t happened there then it cannot happen anywhere.

    Or perhaps your confusion comes from being a leftist, a philosophy that believes in rule over others and dependence upon government rather than believing in liberty and independence. Thus, you naturally conclude that leadership requires rule by empire rather than realizing that leadership allows for liberty by example. It is too bad that the leaders and the peoples of the other nations do not follow our example — do not understand the meaning of Lady Liberty’s beacon.

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