Tag Archives | Mars

Martian Romances, Channeled Landscapes and the Social Value of Gross Speculation

“We dare to hope that the day will come when scientific methods yet unknown to us will give us direct evidences of the existence of the inhabitants of other worlds, and at the same time, also, will put us in communication with our brothers in space.”
- C. Flammarion, La Planète Mars et ses conditions d’habitabilité (Paris, 1892)

NPR just ran a story looking at some interesting enigmas in the Martian landscape, strange black spots that appear seasonally on the surface of the sand drifts during the Martian spring. Scientists have been batting around speculations on what they could be since they were first observed in 1998.

The most accepted hypothesis, at the moment, is that they are some sort of mineral deposit left after the increasing heat of the sun on the surface of Mars allows CO2 deposits to spew forth from beneath:

“Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, from Hungary, from the European Space Agency have all proposed explanations; the leading one is so weird, it’s transformed my idea of what it’s like to be on Mars.

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NASA Probe Spots Pyramid On Mars?

Time to unravel the mystery of the tiny Martian pyramid. Via the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

The drive by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity during the mission’s 43rd Martian day, or sol, (Sept. 19, 2012) ended with this rock about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in front of the rover.

Curiosity is about 8 feet (2.5 meters) from the rock. It lies about halfway from the rover’s landing site, Bradbury Landing, to a location called Glenelg. In coming days, the team plans to touch the rock with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and use an arm-mounted camera to take close-up photographs.

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Mysterious Silhouette on Mars

Picture: NASA (PD)

Via Yahoo:

A mysterious blotch that appeared along the horizon in a photo from the surface of Mars stirred speculation about what it might be, as two hours later it was gone.

One image from the Curiosity rover as it landed on the fourth planet from the sun showed a “faint but distinctive” image on the horizon, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, a subsequent batch of images sent from the unmanned rover two hours later showed no trace of the blotch.

One theory put forth by space enthusiasts in the L.A. Times story is that Curiosity had somehow snapped a photo of part of the spacecraft that escorted the rover through the Martian atmosphere crash-landing a distance away.

Opinions welcome. A few to get us started, based solely on the contour & shape of the smudgy silhouette:

  1. Bigfoot
  2. Martian Nephilim
  3. Mr. Clean
  4. Jawa Sandcrawler

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Scientist: Life on Mars Could be Our Cousins

Picture: NASA (PD)

Via CNN:
Life on Mars? Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss says that not only is it possible, it’s very likely. Further, the scientist says that if those lifeforms do exist, they could very well be our cousins. Krauss theorizes that Earth could have been struck by a Martian meteorite, spreading life in a process called “panspermia”. Check out the video from CNN below:

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Humans Will Live On Mars In 2023

Guess how they'll get there? Via a reality television event that will fund the whole project. Seriously, that's what the promoters are claiming and the story has spread far and wide. From the official Mars One site:
Mars One’s mission objective Mars One plans to establish the first human settlement on Mars by April 2023. The first crew of four astronauts emigrate to their new planet from Earth, a journey that takes seven months. A new team will join the settlement every two years. By 2033 there will be over twenty people living, working and flourishing on Mars, their new home. The vision of Mars One A manned mission to Mars is one of the most exciting, inspiring and ambitious adventures that mankind can take on. We see this as a journey that belongs to us all, and it is for this reason that we will make every step one that we take together. This will also be our way to finance the mission: the mission to Mars will be the biggest media event ever! The entire world will be able to watch and help with decisions as the teams of settlers are selected, follow their extensive training and preparation...
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Astronauts On Mars Would Risk DNA Damage

DeMonchaux30Sad news for hopes of future visits to the red planet — anyone who journeys to Mars could come back with their DNA adversely altered, Russian scientists warn. Mars Daily explains:

Future astronauts working on the Red Planet’s surface risk general changes in health at the DNA level because of increased radiation exposure, a prominent Russian academic said on Monday.

“According to our estimates, researchers on the surface of Mars can expect a number of adverse factors, such as cardiac arrhythmia, sensory impairments, changes at the DNA level, and demineralization of bone tissue,” Anatoly Grigoryev, the deputy head of Russia’s Academy of Sciences, told at a presentation at the International Symposium on the results of ground-based experiment Mars-500.

The unique Moscow-based Mars-500 experiment was completed on November 4. It attempted to recreate at least some of the conditions of a flight to the Red Planet by locking six men away in a mock spacecraft.

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Egg-Shaped Globule Inside Meteorite Is ‘Final Proof Of Life On Mars’

globuleJust your daily dose of news on mysterious soft eggs allegedly found inside Mars meteors that crashed into Africa. I’d be afraid to hold it. The Sun writes:

Scientists claim this egg-shaped object is the final proof of life on Mars after finding it inside a meteorite from the Red Planet.

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe [of Cardiff University] said the globule from the rock named Tissint is rich in carbon and oxygen and insisted they could only have been produced by living organisms. He added that they could not have been caused by contamination when they fell to Earth. PhD student Jamie Wallis, who was working with Dr Wickramasinghe, said: “All the indications are that structures such as we have found are evidence of life on Mars. “The spheres are probably remnants of polysaccharide shells surrounding algal type cells.”

The meteorite was named after the village where it came down in the Sahara desert in Morocco last July.

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Mars Viking Robots ‘Found Life’

Viking LanderReports Irene Klotz on Discovery News:
New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week. Further, NASA doesn't need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News. "The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move," Miller said. "On the basis of what we've done so far, I'd say I'm 99 percent sure there's life there," he added. Miller's confidence stems in part from a new study that re-analyzed results from a life-detection experiment conducted by NASA's Viking Mars robots in 1976.
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Interview With A Man Who Went To Mars

1971japanspaceencyclopedia08Or so he claims—there’s no proof of veracity, but a gripping read nonetheless. Morgan Kochel’s conversation with a A Man Who Went to Mars:

Training lasted twelve months, very intense, including psychiatric tests. It took us about 230 days to get there, and slightly less back. We used rocket technology regularly available now. Just bigger tanks and more thrust. Nothing unusual in equipment to get there, but better radiation protection, as you can imagine, due to journey time.

We landed near Ares Vallis. Our employers got some data about the Sojourner landing, and this was the place they wanted to explore. We took the same type of collecting devices used by geologists, which is why this had to be a manned mission, as no robot could do this. There were plenty of minerals that we analyzed on the way home: metals, particularly gold(?), and some other substance that was a form of composite like carbon fiber, but already in a usable form.

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