NASA Phoenix Update – Martian Ice!
You may recall that, not long after landing, NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander found a white material not far under the dust and soil. It wasn’t entirely expected to find ice that quickly and that close to the surface, but this new animated image has proven to be quite revealing:
The white material sublimated (changed from solid to gas). This means it can’t be salt and pretty much must be ice. Well done to whoever on the team picked this landing site!
This animation is made of images taken by the “Surface Stereo Imager” over the course of four days. They show sublimation of ice in a trench (informally called “Dodo-Goldilocks”) made by the probe’s soil scoop. In the bottom-left corner, lumps of material disappear, similar to the process of evaporation.