Solar Science

A blog of solar physics

Climate Change on Mars: Its all about the Sun

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This just in from NASA:

New, three-dimensional imaging of Martian north-polar ice layers by a radar instrument on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is consistent with theoretical models of Martian climate swings during the past few million years. Alignment of the layering patterns with the modeled climate cycles provides insight about how the layers accumulated. These ice-rich, layered deposits cover an area one-third larger than Texas and form a stack up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) thick atop a basal deposit with additional ice.

“Contrast in electrical properties between layers is what provides the reflectivity we observe with the radar,” said Nathaniel Putzig of Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo., a member of the science team for the Shallow Radar instrument on the orbiter. “The pattern of reflectivity tells us about the pattern of material variations within the layers.”

Earlier radar observations indicated that the Martian north-polar layered deposits are mostly ice. Radar contrasts between different layers in the deposits are interpreted as differences in the concentration of rock material, in the form of dust, mixed with the ice. These deposits on Mars hold about one-third as much water as Earth’s Greenland ice sheet.

It certainly isn’t carbon dioxide that’s causing any climate change on Mars.

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Written by John A

September 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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