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Why doesn't dry permafrost occur anywhere in the northern hemisphere? Isn't there any place in Siberia that's dry and cold enough? (Adam Clough)

Dry permafrost is only known from Antarctica and then only from the high elevations. There is no where in the Arctic that is cold enough and dry enough.  Interestingly the one other place on Earth where there might be dry permafrost is at the equator. On the top of high mountains at the equator. Mountains like Kilimanjaro.

Can you use some of what you learn for a future drilling mission to Europa?

The drill we are working with is focused on ice-cemented ground on Mars, however it might be useful for the surface of Europa as well.

Shouldn't we do hundreds of core samples on the MOON first, with sample return missions, before Mars?

The goal on Mars is to drill into the ice-cemented ground studied by the Phoenix lander. There is nowhere on the Moon where similar ice-cemented ground is found. The ice at the south pole of the Moon revealed by the LCROSS mission is at very different concentrations and conditions than at the Phoenix site.

Three summers - three years? Why do you need three years to learn how to drill for ice in Antarctica?

Our project is more than just drilling technology. We are also conducting a comprehensive science study of the physical and biological properties of ice-cemented ground under dry permafrost. This is the first such systematic study.

 
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