Of relevance to my next book, Water, is the question of subglacial water.
Here’s reporting on a recent study that modeled glacial movement on Mars. It has been assumed that most glaciers on Mars have been frozen to their beds for quite some time. The question has been, did they ever move or have they always been stuck? This study suggests that they may have been able to move in the past, though more slowly than glaciers on Earth.
It’s an interesting piece, but doesn’t help my case. For Water, I need a significant reservoir of subglacial water in the present. This is where I’m going to have to exercise some creative license and claim that remnants of ancient vulcanism have kept my fictional ice sheet wet at the bottom. At some point in any work of science fiction, one must lean into the fiction part. This is where that happens for Water.
The lack of a magnetoshpere on Mars plays a key role in the latest book, Shelter.
The magnetic field around planets like Earth is the result of a geodynamo around the molten core. Because Mars has no magnetosphere, it has long been thought that very little happens in its interior. This study suggests that there is active movement of magma inside Mars after all.
From the article:
“Knowing that the Martian mantle is still active is crucial to our understanding of how Mars evolved as a planet,” says geophysicist Hrvoje Tkalčić of the Australian National University in Australia… “The marsquakes indirectly help us understand whether convection is occurring inside of the planet’s interior, and if this convection is happening, which it looks like it is based off our findings, then there must be another mechanism at play that is preventing a magnetic field from developing on Mars,” Tkalčić says.
You should watch this animation of how Perseverance will land on Mars this week. Really.
image: NASA/JPL (screengrab from video)
Recent study suggests early Mars may have been very much like Iceland.
SYFY Official Site
Ridiculous title, but the science behind it is quite interesting. Decades old data from Voyager 2 as it passed by Uranus suggests the planet is losing some of its atmosphere through an interesting mechanism. This could also hold clues to how Mars lost its atmosphere.
Oxygen levels above Gale Crater appear to fluctuate seasonally and scientists don’t yet know why.
ESA’s Mars Express orbiter has been snapping pics for 16 years. This recently released pole-to-pole image is astoundingly beautiful. Be sure to click through to the article, where there’s lots of discussion of the details.
SYFY Official Site
Insight picks up the first quake on a celestial body other than Earth or the Moon.