Showing posts from November, 2016

An Ice Sheet the Size of New Mexico Hidden in Martian Crater

Source:   By Kenneth Chang, The New York Times Excerpt: An ice sheet with more water than Lake Superior may slake the thirst of future astronauts living on Mars. Using radar soundings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, scientists probed what lies in Utopia Planitia, a 2,000-mile-wide basin within an ancient impact crater. For decades, the region looked intriguing because of polygonal cracking and scalloped depressions in the landscape. In places on Earth like the Canadian Arctic, patterns like these arise from ice beneath the surface. The ground cracks as ice underneath expands and contracts with the changing temperatures; the scallops, as if carved by an ice cream scoop, are places where the surface sinks as the ice melts. “We’d say, ‘It looks like there’s ground ice there,’” Cassie Stuurman, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, said about Utopia Planitia. “What we haven’t known is how much is there.”n ...Ms. Stuurman, the lead author of an art

Updated: Drilling of dinosaur-killing impact crater explains buried circular hills

Source:   By Eric Hand, Science Excerpt: Today, scientists published their first results from a drilling expedition into Chicxulub crater, the buried remnants of an asteroid impact off the Yucat√°n Peninsula in Mexico that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Their discovery of shocked, granite rocks from deep in the crust placed “out of order” on top of sedimentary rocks validates the dynamic collapse theory of formation for Chicxulub’s peak ring, the scientists says. Chicxulub is the only well-preserved crater on Earth with a peak ring, but they abound elsewhere in the inner solar system. Last month, scientists using instruments on a NASA lunar mission showed that the peak rings within the Orientale impact basin were likely to have formed in a similar way as at Chicxulub....