back to article A private view of Phoenix and Mars

Peter Smith is counting down to the white-knuckle day of his life. On May 25 next year, the Phoenix Mars lander is due to touch down on the Mars surface. If all goes well, over the following 24 to 48 hours the lander's solar panels will extend and the lander will start the science experiments it's there to conduct. As the …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Oil on Mars?

    The martians better hope there isn't.

  2. Wyrmhole

    ZOMG!

    Life found on Mars! The planet is swarming with Pacman's (Pacmen?)! The "sand dune"(!) photo shows it all.

  3. Alex
    Coat

    erm

    why not ask someone who comes from mars (wink wink nudge nudge)? isn't that cheaper than sending rockets? might be a bit hard to understand wth he's on about but shurely that's easier to do than land on mars.

  4. Paul
    Flame

    Re: Oil on Mars?

    @gamecoder

    don't worry, I'm sure we can liberate the martians from their evil overlords, for which they'd pay us handsomely with access to their oil and mineral reserves. by the time they notice we've strip-mined their planet, it'll be too late!

  5. Raheim Sherbedgia

    Poor little guys

    I'm with GameCoder, if we discover oil, the Martians are screwed. We will certainly apply economic sanctions (possibly even cutting off their TV signals) and might even send the forces of democracy and freedom in to help eliminate their national (world) security threat.

    On another note, why does this mars lander look so much different than the current (successful) Mars Rovers? It seems a waste to reinvent the wheel, couldn't they just use the current Rover landing techniques and basic platform and just add new tools? That seems logical to me, but then again, I'm no rocket scientist.

  6. The Other Steve
    Go

    Oil would be nice

    Because then the major powers would beat themselves to death in a gargantuan space race and we'd get some decent space exploration/travel on the go, finally.

    Suddenly the fact that it's dangerous/expensive would cease to be a limiting factor, since the tab would be picked up by the 3vil multinational oil companies, whose disregard for human life is well documented.

    Yay for hydrocarbons !

  7. Chris

    Re: Poor Little Guys

    "On another note, why does this mars lander look so much different than the current (successful) Mars Rovers? It seems a waste to reinvent the wheel, couldn't they just use the current Rover landing techniques and basic platform and just add new tools? That seems logical to me, but then again, I'm no rocket scientist."

    Those mars landers cost something like half to three quarters of a billion dollars, this cost a fraction of that. The only way NASA would approve a mission like this is if it was significantly cheaper then the previous ones.

  8. Tawakalna
    Stop

    silly Mars robots again..

    ever wondered why these Mars-bound robots either find nothing or break? if they're heading nowhere important the Martians let them land and dig up lifeless sand, and if they might find evidence of the Martians, well the Marsies turn advanced Marsy weapons on 'em and make 'em crash. Or just stop working if they're British.

    Oil on Mars? Dubya will have to invade and save those oilfields I mean Martians for democracy, freedom, and Halliburton, with a nice fat kickback for doing so.

  9. Chris Goodchild Silver badge
    Coat

    SUV

    In the event that oil is discovered on mars, it should lead on logically to the next phase of exploration which is currently being discussed. i.e. a manned mission!

    just think we could send a team of Ford Explorers with mini cracking plants to manufacture their own fuel and go off-roading all over the planet emitting polluting exhaust fumes in a first step to give mars an earth like atmosphere.

    Of course the whole thing could be underwritten to some degree by Ford who would be able to put millions into it as an advertising campaign for the explorer as the first SUV in space and write off the cost against tax.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Price of Oil

    Unfortunately ferrying the oil from Mars to Earth will be an expensive venture and it will be the poor car drivers that will pick up the bill.

    And who will clean up the oil when the tanker is hit by a meteorite? Oil slicks in space.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Pacmen

    @ Wyrmhole, Re: ZOMG!

    There are what look like a couple of golden 3D pacmen lurking conspicuously under the craft on the staged setup on page 2 as well!!!

  12. Jon Green
    Coat

    "venormous snakes"?

    Really, _really_ big poisonous ones, one assumes...

  13. Parax
    Alert

    Better not be oil...

    just imagine an oil slick in space! perhaps a black cloud in earth orbit? even worse just imagine the size of the parachute the returning tanker would need.. lol

  14. fishman

    RE: Venormous snakes?

    Snakes on a Spaceship?

  15. The Other Steve
    Black Helicopters

    On another note

    Does anyone else find it suspicious that they have a mock up of the whole mission on a sound stage ?

    What are they intending to do with that, exactly ?

  16. Lukin Brewer
    Boffin

    Oil business.

    A crude oil slick in space? Assuming the oil was kept as a liquid for ease of handling, the lighter fractions would boil or flash to vapour as soon as it hit vacuum, leaving the heavier fractions as a rapidly expanding cloud of droplets. Solar radiation and the solar wind would boil and ablate these into a stream of vaporised molecules and complex ions over the next few hours or days.

    You may rest assured, though, that it isn’t going to happen. The costs of interplanetary transport are going to be colossal. Even if there were a reliable supply of naturally-occurring inkjet printer ink on Mars, it would not be profitable to bring any of it back.

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