Sunday, March 02, 2008

Followers of NASA's endless waffling on the existence of water on the surface on Mars will either find this depressing or amusing. Or possibly both.

Mars Gullies Produced by Dry Granular Debris and Not by Recent Water Flow

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) observed what appeared to be fresh gullies formed by a rapid release of water on the Martian surface in 2006. However, new computer models simulating the creation of gullies on the surface of Mars suggest that they are in fact created by the flow of dry debris (i.e. landslides) and not by the flow of water. A blow for the microbial life hunters and a huge blow for mission planners looking for easy sources of water for manned missions . . .


W.M. Bear said...

It's obvious to me (and probably a lot of other people) that there are two contending schools of thought within the NASA scientific community on the whole issue of possible surface water/life. (The two do seem inextricably linked.) Since the so-called "mainstream media" seem not to have a clue how things work in the scientific community, we get this back-and-forth now-there's-surface-water-now-there isn't thing without any real context within which to make our own judgments....

Anonymous said...

It makes me chuckle actually.

There is ample evidence for both standing water and organic life on Mars. I honestly don't believe this to be a case of scientific stubbornness. This is more likely an active campaign to keep sensitive research to themselves. That's not conspiracy, it's just common sense looking at the available information.

In the end it will more than likely be the ESA which confirms what many believe is truly representative of the current Martian landscape. A mostly dead world with a sprinkling of both standing water and vegetation in key climates. Maybe even more complex forms of life.

NASA's sterile version of Mars is nothing more than a show to tow the Brookings report line. Politics and policy, that's all this is.


W.M. Bear said...

Maybe even more complex forms of life.

I've seen a couple of objects in the rover pix that looked for all the world like large, segmented worms. As I recall, the objects had a definite elongated, cylindrical shape and were a completely different color from the surrounding rocks and terrain.

My understanding of the Brookings report is that the relevant section outlines a protocol for dealing with the discovery of ETI. I'm not aware that it suggested not revealing evidence of simple life forms to the public.

This does present an interesting conundrum, though. One just wishes they'd decide, one way or the other. As it is, NASA's Mars research has been a kind of ongoing, decades-long public teaser.