MARS: Evidence of H20

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 09:08:49 MST

"Mars Odyssey investigators remain tight-lipped about what the
spacecraft is seeing, offering only subtle hints regarding the probe's
scientific sleuthing...

One "justifiable" hope for Mars scientists using THEMIS is to spot
localized deposits associated with hydrothermal environments. Finding
such a "hot spot" would be akin to studying sites at Yellowstone
National Park in Wyoming. Also, the device is on a global search for
heat belching up from active volcanic areas that may be still
percolating on Mars....

The spacecraft's Gamma Ray Spectrometer on Mars Odyssey -- really three
instruments in one -- is designed to analyze the chemical composition of
the Martian surface. The spectrometer also has the tantalizing
capability to detect water, if it exists, at shallow depths beneath
Mars' surface.
Even though the detector is still latched close to the spacecraft, not
to be deployed on its boom for several more months, "we can see some
interesting signals from Mars," said William Boynton, principal
investigator for the gamma ray spectrometer suite at the University of
Arizona, Tucson. "I am extremely excited," he said.
Late last year, scientists got what appeared to some as a whiff of a
water signature coming from Mars.
Data collected during tests of Odyssey's neutron spectrometer -- a
component of the gamma ray spectrometer suite -- showed signs of
hydrogen. But hydrogen may or may not mean water. Hydrogen is one
component of water, but also exists alone and in other substances."

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