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InSight seismometer data suggests no underground ice at landing site

Using a computer model combined with seismometer data gathered by the Mars lander InSight, scientists have concluded that there is little or no underground ice in the equatorial region where InSight sits.

From the paper’s abstract:

We use rock physics models to infer cement properties from seismic velocities. Model results confirm that the upper 300 m of Mars beneath InSight is most likely composed of sediments and fractured basalts. Grains within sediment layers are unlikely to be cemented by ice or other mineral cements. Hence, any existing cements are nodular or formed away from grain contacts. Fractures within the basalt layers could be filled with gas, 2% mineral cement and 98% gas, and no more than 20% ice. Thus, no ice- or liquid water-saturated layers likely exist within the upper 300 m beneath InSight. Any past cement at grain contacts has likely been broken by impacts or marsquakes.

As the lander sits just north of the equator in the red planet’s equatorial zone, which ample orbital data has suggested is a dry region (as shown in the global map below), this result is not a surprise. It does provide further confirmation however of this conclusion, that if there is any water on Mars within 30 degrees latitude of the equator, it will be deep underground, and likely only in certain regions.

Global overview of ice on Mars

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

One comment

  • Col Beausabre

    While this sounds pretty convincing (over 99 percent in my opinion), we should always remember that we are dealing with an alien environment where what applies on Earth doesn’t necessarily apply on Mars. The number of surprises we have had on Mars are many, but let me point out one. The drill that was supposed to penetrate several feet into Martian soil and failed because that soil was not like Earths. Until someone goes to this spot, drills down and collects core samples, we just don’t know.

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