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The frozen desert
April 24, 2011 7:50 AM   Subscribe


 
This is exciting news for anyone who's ever dreamed about humanity stepping out into the universe to drink seltzer on another planet.
posted by PlusDistance at 7:55 AM on April 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


So that's where I put it!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 AM on April 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


cool , we will need are disco balls capes.
posted by clavdivs at 7:56 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


and flavoured soda
posted by clavdivs at 7:56 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sweet. We should bring it all home to earth. We sure could use it here.
posted by NoMich at 8:02 AM on April 24, 2011


Obviously the Martian's attempts at carbon-capture came too late to save their dying planet.
posted by Flashman at 8:04 AM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


No! We go to Mars for their low-budget fog effects!
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:04 AM on April 24, 2011


Mars Needs Mail Order Steaks.
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 AM on April 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


This explains why people go to Mars for enhanced oil recovery training!

Well, what do you want. You guys already took all the good carbon dioxide jokes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:15 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


You guys already took all the good carbon dioxide jokes.

Yeah, a guy just can't cache a break around here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:19 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh come on AZ, you've a gas, let one out!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:19 AM on April 24, 2011


Announced in the same week Martian Chronciles finally becomes available on Lovefilm...co-incidence or something darker at work? Cue eerie music.
posted by biffa at 8:20 AM on April 24, 2011


Oh geez man, sorry didn't mean to make you read.

Here, have some water.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 AM on April 24, 2011


For some reason, I read the FPP's "frozen carbon dioxide" as frozen caribou.

Very confusing.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:24 AM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, you don't think they'd thaw there, do you?
posted by Naberius at 8:28 AM on April 24, 2011


Here's the primary author in a short interview for the Science Magazine podcast. The full PDF is there also but I not a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, so no paper for me.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:38 AM on April 24, 2011


Send Arnold Schwartzenegger to activate the alien device that converts the ice into atmosphere!
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:22 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You mean, "ahtmosfee-ah."
posted by hermitosis at 9:30 AM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The full PDF is there also but I not a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, so no paper for me.

Check your memail BeerFilter.
posted by cashman at 9:44 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


START THE REACTOR
posted by brundlefly at 9:56 AM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


A cache? So... this proves there's life on Mars, then!
posted by Decani at 9:58 AM on April 24, 2011


Judging from the snarks, you'd think it was a cache of nitrous oxide.

Mars might be Earth's lifeboat someday. From Terraforming of Mars:
Terraforming Mars would entail three major interlaced changes: building up the atmosphere, keeping it warm, and keeping the atmosphere from being lost into outer space. The atmosphere of Mars is relatively thin and thus has a very low surface pressure of 0.6 kilopascals (0.087 psi); compared to Earth with 101.3 kilopascals (14.69 psi) at sea level and 0.86 kilopascals (0.125 psi) at an altitude of 32 kilometres (20 mi). The atmosphere on Mars consists of 95% carbon dioxide (CO2), 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and contains only traces of oxygen, water, and methane.

Since its atmosphere consists mainly of CO2, a known greenhouse gas, once the planet begins to heat, more CO2 enters the atmosphere from the frozen reserves on the poles, adding to the greenhouse effect. This means that the two processes of building the atmosphere and heating it would augment one another, favoring terraforming. However, on a large scale, controlled application of certain techniques (explained below) over enough time to achieve sustainable changes would be required to make this hypothesis a reality.
If we can learn how to control the greenhouse effect here, maybe we can employ it there. Haul in methane, extract oxygen from the soil or CO2, give it a little time (geologically speaking), and we won't be rearranging deck chairs when the time comes.
posted by cenoxo at 10:20 AM on April 24, 2011


We just need to build a giant co2 scoop in the upper atmosphere of earth and start flinging it towards mars.
posted by empath at 10:24 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Memail me with an email address if you want the paper.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:30 AM on April 24, 2011


A scoop? Don't be silly, we need a really, reaaaallly loooong bendy-straw.
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 10:44 AM on April 24, 2011


I wonder if global warming deniers would look to this as a possible solution. "Have you proven there isn't a giant block of CO2 that's causing the greenhouse effect?"
posted by Taco John at 10:50 AM on April 24, 2011


Well, I guess it's time to get my ass to Mars.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:15 AM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bring your skates!
posted by sneebler at 11:16 AM on April 24, 2011


If there were caribou on Mars, trust me that the Inuit would have gotten to Mars before Europe was out of the Dark Ages.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:20 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


MOUNTAIN DEW MARTIAN RUSH - Coming to a hole in your face, summer 2012.
posted by milkrate at 11:35 AM on April 24, 2011


Haul in methane, extract oxygen from the soil or CO2, give it a little time (geologically speaking), and we won't be rearranging deck chairs when the time comes.

Hmmm, 10+ billion deck chairs. So we just have to discover essentially limitless sources of energy, move enormous amounts of methane around the solar system, start the terraforming of Mars, wait a few hundred thousand years, then we can hop to Mars once the sun's expansion forces us to in 3 billion years. Oh, but by that time Mars' weak magnetic field will have lost its atmosphere (again). Well, I'm sure we can install a giant iron core in Mars too.

Fuck recycling. I'm going to Mars!
posted by benzenedream at 11:44 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, time's a-wastin', and we could use a long-term jobs program. It'll be us or whoever takes over, no matter how many eyes/legs/antennae they have.
posted by cenoxo at 12:09 PM on April 24, 2011


its not yet time to get my ass to Mars. first, lets send some really cool weather living people like the Inuit people of Alaska's Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs and the Bering Straits, to test the actual conditions up on Mars.
posted by taxpayer at 1:04 PM on April 24, 2011


Carbon dioxide?! COHAGEN! YOO HAFF WAT YOO WANT! GIFF DESE PEEPUL AAYUH!
posted by Ratio at 1:10 PM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry kids Mars is still impossibly hostile and far away for human habitation. Maybe if you have a space elevator.
posted by humanfont at 1:17 PM on April 24, 2011


Yeah, we should strip mine the moon first for something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:20 PM on April 24, 2011


Carbon dioxide? Nuts. I was hoping for Helium.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:45 PM on April 24, 2011


I am shocked and saddened it took almost 25 comments before "START THE REACTOR"

C'mon guys, get your ass to mars.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 1:46 PM on April 24, 2011


This unexpected reservoir of dry ice is intriguing, Phillips says, because about every 100,000 years Mars is known to dramatically tilt its spin axis. During these periods of high polar tilt, enough sunlight falls on the poles to vaporize the frozen carbon dioxide and release it into the atmosphere, roughly doubling the atmospheric pressure on the Red Planet. With a denser atmosphere, liquid water could persist on the surface rather than evaporating, and might account for some of the features on Mars that appear to have carved by water, such as channels and gullies, Phillips notes.

If life did ever arise on Mars, I wonder if it's still alive and just "hibernating" for a long time? 100,000 years isn't too long for simple lifeforms to lay dormant.
posted by Jehan at 2:32 PM on April 24, 2011


The big idea: Making Mars the New Earth (Nat Geo).
posted by smoke at 6:05 PM on April 24, 2011


Ratio: "Carbon dioxide?! COHAGEN! YOO HAFF WAT YOO WANT! GIFF DESE PEEPUL AAYUH!"

GIFF DESE PEEPUL AAYUH!
posted by bwg at 6:42 PM on April 24, 2011


I was hoping for Helium.

Promise them Dejah Thoris and a flyer, and you can recruit all the terraformers you'll ever need (the ads should start running pretty soon).
posted by cenoxo at 7:52 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Get your glass to Mahs.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:40 AM on April 25, 2011


Don't be silly, we need a really, reaaaallly loooong bendy-straw.

"I drink your Martian milkshake! I drink it up!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on April 25, 2011


At least now we know where J'onn J'onzz keeps the Oreos.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:07 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


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