March 13, 2010

Mars ice map reveals past climate change



Using laser technology from the Italian Space Agency, a map constructed from data gathered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed the remnants of a formerly vast ice sheet located between the Martian equator and its North Pole.

What remains of the ice is now scattered below rocky debris on the planet’s surface, with portions that extend to a kilometer in depth.

Scientists estimate that the intact ice sheet existed some tens to hundreds of millions of years ago, and Dr. Jeffrey Plaut of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory stated, “It's definitely a record of a different climate period.”

While land contours have indicated for decades that Mars contained water and ice, this first-ever confirmation through laser technology also supports the likelihood of previous periods of climate change.

Our appreciation, Dr. Plaut and scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Italian Space Agency for sharing these intriguing findings. May such valuable information continue to expand our understanding of our planetary neighbor and indeed our Earth.

Speaking during an August 2009 videoconference in Thailand, Supreme Master Ching Hai reminded that past events on Mars are an opportunity for us to act in protecting our own fragile climate.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We only need to look at our own neighboring planets, Mars and Venus, to see that the vision is bleak, is disastrous, if we don’t make the right choice,the right change now.

Any planetary scientist knows that Mars and Venus went through dramatic atmospheric changes in the past, similar to what we have begun to experience right now.

Long ago, Mars and Venus were once a lot like our planet - they had water, life, and people similar to us. But the inhabitants of Mars and Venus destroyed their respective planetary homes because they raised too much livestock, and the gases released triggered an irreversible greenhouse gas effect, plus poisonous hydrogen sulfide in the case of Mars.

So let’s not end up like either Mars or Venus, our neighboring planets. Humanity must uphold a gentler, higher standard for the Earth to continue supporting life.

http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-ice-sheet-map-climate.html

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