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Red Planet
Front Page Magazine ^ | May 29, 2002 | Lowell Ponte

Posted on 05/28/2002 9:11:40 PM PDT by doulau

Red Planet By: Lowell Ponte | May 29, 2002 THE FOOTPRINTS ON MARS HAVE FASCINATED scientists. Could such a thing long ago really have moved across the surface of the Red Planet?

Apparently it could and is still there, lurking only three feet beneath the thin layer of iron oxide rust whose blood-red color led ancient Romans to name this heavenly body for their god of war, Mars.

This Thursday the journal Science will publish three studies of data from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. It has detected vast amounts of hydrogen. The most likely conclusion from this, according to these studies, is that just beneath the Martian surface – at least for the 30 degrees of latitude stretching north of Mars’ South Pole thus far analyzed by Mars Odyssey – is a huge deposit of subterranean (i.e., submartian) water frozen into ice.

Astronomers have long suspected that Mars hundreds of millions of years ago was a wet world. In what resembled dry riverbeds and the shorelines of dried-up oceans, the apparent footprints of water were easy to see. These scientists’ biggest question was: where had the vanished water gone? Had it vaporized and blown off into space? Or had it slipped underground and turned to ice?

The findings to be announced this week, according to the BBC, will reveal that Mars probably has more water frozen as subsurface ice than our wildest fantasies imagined. If completely melted, this ice might unleash enough water to turn Mars into Kevin Costner’s Waterworld, innundating and submerging all but its highest points in an ocean averaging 1,640 feet (500 meters) deep.

No such Noah’s Flood likely would threaten colonists from Earth, who could melt this ice as needed to drink, water greenhouse plants, or break down to make the oxygen and hydrogen needed for life, energy, or rocket fuel.

Evidence of these apparent vast water deposits on Mars is the best news for human exploration since Columbus reported finding a whole new world rich with gold.

This wonderful news is expected to prompt NASA within days to announce accelerated plans to put astronauts, probably within two decades, on Mars.

Two cheers for NASA. But NASA’s new rush to reach Mars gives new urgency to an old debate. Do we want space settled by a socialist government bureaucracy, or by free enterprising individuals like America’s pioneer ancestors?

NASA, after all, wanted to prohibit tourists from so much as visiting its socialist space station. As this column has discussed, Russia, by letting eager tourists buy tickets into space, has become a more capitalistic nation than the United States. But NASA, with its politicized science, did provide free trips on your Space Shuttle for Senator Jake Garn (R.-Utah), Congressman Bill Nelson (D.-Fla), and Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan Salman Al-Saud.

President Bill Clinton, to reward Senator John Glenn (D.-Ohio) for his efforts to stymie a legislative investigation of Clinton, had NASA give Glenn a free ticket back to space, too. Some might call it the ultimate payoff – or the highest corruption ever seen in a politician.

We can just imagine what kinds of political cronies will be given access or other benefits from a socialist Mars controlled by NASA. Do not hold your breath for a rebellion by the 13 NASA-run, totalitarian space colonies on a greening, terraformed Mars in year 2176.

Is this the future we want – a new age of government socialist colonialism on humankind’s new and final frontier?

This debate is already joined over a heavenly body closer to home, the Moon. Last Saturday in Denver the International Space Development Conference was scheduled to hear a proposal by Rick Steiner, a fisheries professor at the University of Alaska, to effectively prohibit private development or ownership on the Moon.

As you might expect from an environmentalist employed by a government university in a state that is 98 percent government owned, Professor Steiner is less than enthusiastic about letting private enterprise build hotels and low-gravity golf courses on the Moon.

Steiner proposes that the United Nations "designate the moon one of its World Heritage Sites," writes Jim Carlton in the Wall Street Journal. When Steiner discussed this several weeks ago with National Park Service officials, reports Carlton, they questioned both the practicality and legality of trying to seal off an entire celestial body.

The World Heritage Convention signed in 1973 by the United States and other nations, notes Carlton, explicitly calls for protecting World Heritage Sites on Earth, 721 of which now are designated (including 20 in the U.S.).

This treaty has no jurisdiction to reach beyond the Earth, and God help humankind if it ever did. We can imagine envirokooks and socialist politicians joining hands to declare that Mars must remain like an eco-Eden, as environmentally pristine as Antarctica or Alaska’s ANWR. Or that earth-crossing asteroids worth $4 trillion apiece in gold, platinum, iron, nickel, carbon and other minerals are government property and forever off-limits to private mining. Or that the heavens are to be Marxist, and therefore religion and capitalism and private property are prohibited because space and permission to travel in it is the communal, socialist property of all humankind, as controlled by NASA and the U.N.

"The bottom line here is: Let’s go and explore our universe," says Steiner, "but let’s not go as Genghis Khan. Let’s go as Mother Teresa." Huh?

Steiner seems to have things backwards. Genghis Khan was a government, a monarch ruling by force and violence. Mother Teresa was a private institution involved in peaceful, voluntary relationships with others, like the free marketplace. If he really wants Mother Teresa, Steiner should call for separation of space and state.

Thankfully, as Carton reports, other groups such as the Moon Society oppose Steiner’s proposal and do not view free enterprise as Genghis Khan. We ought to support such organizations.

We call Mars the Red Planet, although its newly-found ice ocean makes possible a green and blue future and a second planetary home for humankind.

But Earth nearly became a Red Planet, too, during the socialist epidemic of the past century. A residue of the fever and mental illness of that socialist plague, manifest as Marxism and the National Socialism of Nazism and the sick, impoverishing welfare socialism of many nations, lingers in those whose minds remain infected.

Socialism threatens to sweep our world again, poisoning minds and killing another 100 million people as it did before. If socialism ever prevails, intelligent life and individual freedom on Earth will become extinct.

Socialism is a mental disease we must never allow to infect other worlds such as Mars and the Moon. For the future safety of humankind, NASA should be privatized – or, better yet, abolished.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Technical
KEYWORDS: mars; nasa; redplanet; spaceexploration
We might as well start this debate right now. Who do you think could better plan space exploration and the colonization of space; Bill Gates or Congresswoman McKinney? And when I emmigrate to Mars because Earth has become too D-mn politically correct, will I be able to own a handgun?
1 posted on 05/28/2002 9:11:41 PM PDT by doulau
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To: doulau
Steiner proposes that the United Nations "designate the moon one of its World Heritage Sites," writes Jim Carlton in the Wall Street Journal. When Steiner discussed this several weeks ago with National Park Service officials, reports Carlton, they questioned both the practicality and legality of trying to seal off an entire celestial body.

Anyone want to make a bet on how long that would stop China?

Gad, these people are beyond kookie.

3 posted on 05/28/2002 9:26:28 PM PDT by Ronin
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To: rashomon
IIRC, the propellants in small arms don't need external oxidizers....they'll fire in a vacuum if they're warm enough.
4 posted on 05/28/2002 9:32:01 PM PDT by FreeperinRATcage
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5 posted on 05/28/2002 9:55:19 PM PDT by Quicksilver
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To: doulau
...Bill Gates, or Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney?...Will I be able to own a handgun?

Since Gates is almost as big a leftist as McKinney, extreme doubt obtains that your question would be answered in the affirmative, wer either of these two involved in the colonization of Mars...

the infowarrior

6 posted on 05/28/2002 11:14:03 PM PDT by infowarrior
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