Skip to comments.Fire And Ice: Mars Images Reveal Recent Volcanic And Glacial Activity (climate change)
Posted on 01/22/2006 1:37:59 PM PST by neverdem
PROVIDENCE, RI Shifting glaciers and exploding volcanoes arent confined to Mars distant past, according two new reports in the journal Nature.
Glaciers moved from the poles to the tropics 350,000 to 4 million years ago, depositing massive amounts of ice at the base of mountains and volcanoes in the eastern Hellas region near the planets equator, based on a report by a team of scientists analyzing images from the Mars Express mission. Scientists also studied images of glacial remnants on the western side of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. They found additional evidence of recent ice formation and movement on these tropical mountain glaciers, similar to ones on Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
In a second report, the international team reveals previously unknown traces of a major eruption of Hecates Tholus less than 350 million years ago. In a depression on the volcano, researchers found glacial deposits estimated to be 5 to 24 million years old.
James Head, professor of geological sciences at Brown University and an author on the Nature papers, said the glacial data suggests recent climate change in Mars 4.6-billion-year history. The team also concludes that Mars is in an interglacial period. As the planet tilts closer to the sun, ice deposited in lower latitudes will vaporize, changing the face of the Red Planet yet again.
Discovery of the explosive eruption of Hecates Tholus provides more evidence of recent Mars rumblings. In December, members of the same research team revealed that calderas on five major Mars volcanoes were repeatedly active as little as 2 million years ago. The volcanoes, scientists speculated, may even be active today.
Mars is very dynamic, said Head, lead author of one of the Nature reports. We see that the climate change and geological forces that drive evolution on Earth are happening there.
Head is part of a 33-institution team analyzing images from Mars Express, launched in June 2003 by the European Space Agency. The High Resolution Stereo Camera, or HRSC, on board the orbiter is producing 3-D images of the planets surface.
These sharp, panoramic, full-color pictures provided fodder for a third Nature report. In it, the team offers evidence of a frozen body of water, about the size and depth of the North Sea, in southern Elysium.
A plethora of ice and active volcanoes could provide the water and heat needed to sustain basic life forms on Mars. Fresh data from Mars Express and the announcement that live bacteria were found in a 30,000-year-old chunk of Alaskan ice is fueling discussion about the possibility of past, even present, life on Mars. In a poll taken at a European Space Agency conference last month, 75 percent of scientists believe bacteria once existed on Mars and 25 percent believe it might still survive there.
Head recently traveled to Antarctica to study glaciers, including bacteria that can withstand the continents dry, cold conditions. The average temperature on Mars is estimated to be 67 degrees below freezing. Similar temperatures are clocked in Antarcticas frigid interior.
Were now seeing geological characteristics on Mars that could be related to life, Head said. But were a long way from knowing that life does indeed exist. The glacial deposits we studied would be accessible for sampling in future space missions. If we had ice to study, we would know a lot more about climate change on Mars and whether life is a possibility there.
The European Space Agency, the German Aerospace Center and the Freie Universitaet in Berlin built and flew the HRSC and processed data from the camera. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) supported Heads work.
I want to know when we will have a robotic rover exploring this specific region of Mars!
How many robotic rovers could we have on this planet, for the cost of a single manned mission? Which would provide the most information?
"Mars is very dynamic," said Head, lead author of one of the Nature reports. "We see that the climate change and geological forces that drive evolution on Earth are happening there."The only dynamism on Mars is brought about by impacts. Mars hasn't much of an atmosphere, and hasn't ever had much of one, as the size and density of the planet hasn't changed.
The shape and flow of this deposit near a Martian mountain almost 4 km. tall suggests ice-rich glacial movement.The shape and flow of that deposit shows the result of a temporary microclimate brought on by an impact from space. This is the case all over Mars -- traces of water flow from nowhere to nowhere, caused by the energy of the impacts, which produce a temporary dense local atmosphere making liquid water possible, briefly.
The robotic missions would provide the most info, because none of the payload would be fuel for the return trip, food, water, medicine, bandaids...
Also, the robots can stay on the surface for years.
That is an interesting "Aristotle type" of theory, but until we can perform actual experiments on Mars to simulate those conditions, it will remain only an educated guess.
Thought experiments are interesting, but unless they are supported by physical facts, they are only fiction.
It is supported by physical facts. In fact, it is the only explanation which fits all the physical facts. The other models have to *assume* that Mars once supported a much denser atmosphere in order to have had liquid water flowing on the surface, even though there is no evidence for it, and no explanation for how it could have been that way, or what happened to change the conditions.
Individual people could rent a robot for a specific amount of time. These robots would be controled over the internet and this would allow people to perform their own explorations.
Discoveries by individual citizens would be considered their intellectual property and royalties would be awarded to them.
While I may agree with you on this theory, it is just that. Only a theory.
Until we can perform actual experiments on the surface of Mars, it will be impossible to know the difference between computer models and reality.
The current "Global Warming" crap has taught me to experiment with the actual physical environment and learn about factual reality. Sadly, today's computer models have become as abstract as Aristotle's thought experiments.
What computer model? Am I a computer?
What factual evidence obtained from the surface of Mars, supports this theory?
What meteor impact has been observed on the surface of Mars and recorded with scientific instruments?
What meteor impact has liquified water on the surface of Mars and was also observed with scientific instruments?
What scientific instrument on the surface of Mars has recorded an atmospheric pressure change large enough to produce liquified water?
Everyone has their pet projects and if we aren't seeing the one we are seeing the other. To me are both make for worthless print.
Simply amazing the dated detail they come up with from a few pics.
Didn't you see all of the BELIEVE highlighted?
'Scientists' are supposed to KNOW things; not BELIEVE them!
This year it's 'warming' in the USoA area and 'cooling' in Europe!
If there was enough water to cover the planet with *glaciers* that left evidence that they existed, where'd all the water go? Finding *evidence* for what amounts to a large puddle doesn't count. And besides, you really need an atmosphere to have climate. Mars does not have the same conditions on it now that scientists speculate existed on Earth when that mysterious event called biogenesis occurred. It sounds like they are really grasping at straws here hoping that, just maybe, they can find some *evidence* that would support their theories, especially evolution.
"How many robotic rovers could we have on this planet, for the cost of a single manned mission?"
"Which would provide the most information?"
The manned missions.
Excellent! We continue to get some outstanding science from Mars...
We have worked together at JPL.
Must be those SUVs we have up there.
The report is full of: *estimated*, *glacial data suggests*, *team also concludes*, *scientists speculated*, *offers evidence*, *In a poll taken at a European Space Agency conference last month, 75 percent of scientists believe*, *could be related to life*.
Sounds more like *outstanding speculations about Mars*. What repeatable, falsifiable experiments have been run on Mars? All they're doing is looking at pictures, oh, er, excuse me, "analyzing images".
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