Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Mars' missing air might just be hiding"

Good news for fans of terraforming, like me.

What happened to Mars' atmosphere — and by association, its water — is one of the central mysteries surrounding the Red Planet today. One idea was that the atmosphere was eroded over the course of several billion years by the sun’s solar winds.

The new findings, detailed in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, suggest this might not be the case.

Hidden reservoir?

Where the atmosphere went is still unclear, but the authors speculate that it might still be contained somewhere beneath the Martian surface.

"There are different alternatives," said study leader Stas Barabash of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Kiruna, Sweden. "One is that it is still stored somewhere on Mars in some hidden reservoir we cannot find."

I say let's get up there, find that hidden atmosphere -- if it does indeed exist -- and let it loose. And, the sooner the better for the entire human race.

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