Mars Conspiracies

Mythopoeika

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I think the reason why they choose smooth, barren areas to explore is so the rover won't come a cropper. What they need to do is design a better rover.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The planned 2020 Mars rover is a scaled-up version of Spirit, but still looks constrained by the same design limitations and high-risk landing technique.
Maybe they should look at the possibility of using drones to explore the red planet?
 

Mythopoeika

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A helicopter-style drone wouldn't get much lift in that thin atmosphere. A very light, plane-like drone with long wings might manage it.

Maybe the best thing might be a robot that can jump about without sustaining damage.
 

eburacum

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I've seen lots of weird stuff in Mars photos that never gets mentioned or investigated by NASA.
I don't they're giving us the whole truth about what's over there.
Why do you think NASA is hiding the truth? If they found anything interesting they would publicise it to the max to get more funding. The idea of 'hidden knowledge' about Mars is absurd.
 

eburacum

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A helicopter-style drone wouldn't get much lift in that thin atmosphere. A very light, plane-like drone with long wings might manage it.
A winged drone would need a runway, or possibly a catapult. Difficult to get a plane above stall speed there.

Maybe the best thing might be a robot that can jump about without sustaining damage.
This I like; the smaller the better. A swarm of small frog-like robots, that can gather sunlight inbetween jumps.

However the loss of the Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko gives one clue as to what might happen after a series of jumps; Philae got wedged down in a corner between rocks after bouncing n-number of times, and eventually dies of light starvation.
 

eburacum

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I have no idea why they would hide the truth. But they certainly seem to be doing so.
Nonsense. I have looked at most of these Martian images too, and never seen anything that can't be explained by geology (areology?). What are you looking at that gives cause for concern?
 

Mythopoeika

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Nonsense. I have looked at most of these Martian images too, and never seen anything that can't be explained by geology (areology?). What are you looking at that gives cause for concern?
Well...I've looked at images that have large items deliberately blurred out. Then there are one or two pictures of what looks like a pool of water (no comment by NASA). Then there are odd things, such as what looks like bones (the rover takes a close-up shot, so it's pretty clear - again, no comment by NASA).
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I wouldn't go as far as claiming a cover-up, but NASA does seem remarkably cautious in releasing information.
The dark streaks have been photographed for years but it was only recently that NASA conceded that they were probably indicative of small amounts of flowing surface water.
 

eburacum

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There is a great deal of debate about the presence of liquid water on Mars, and there are alternate interpretations of the evidence. Liquid water would boil immediately at those temperatures and pressures, but if there were enough of it, the water could flow for some distance. Alternately subliming carbon dioxide could also cause flow-like features. This debate is completely out in the open, and none of it is hidden. I think both processes are occuring, at different times in the orbit, and/or at different latitudes, and/or at different times in the ancient past when Mars had varying degrees of obliquity; but once again, none of this is hidden knowledge.
 
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eburacum

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Well...I've looked at images that have large items deliberately blurred out.
I'd like to see one. Any blurring is likely to be an artefact of how the image was made. Ever tried to stitch several different space images into a usable texture for astronomical modelling purposes? I have, in an attempt to make models of asteroids and moons for Celestia - it's a nightmare, especially when the surface you are looking at isn't perfectly flat or spherical.

Then there are one or two pictures of what looks like a pool of water (no comment by NASA). Then there are odd things, such as what looks like bones (the rover takes a close-up shot, so it's pretty clear - again, no comment by NASA).
Water wouldn't persist on Mars as you very well know, so they are presumably ice or sand-filled depressions.

The 'bones' I have seen, and they are usually just entertaining shapes caused by wind erosion. Some of them are caused by the actions of the Rovers themselves, swarf from the drills or thrown up by the wheels. If they were fossils of any kind NASA would be all over them.
 
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blessmycottonsocks

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On the floor of Valles Marineris, I thought the atmospheric pressure was sufficient for liquid water to exist, at least temporarily in the Martian Summer?
 

eburacum

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The highest pressure is actually at the bottom of the Hellas basin, 0.168 psi; water could become liquid at 0.08 psi, so it is just possible for water to form there at the warmest part of the day. (The pressure in Valles Marineris is not much, as it is not very far below datum; the surrounding terrain is quite high.)
 
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kamalktk

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The presumed water would have to be perfectly clear for the near "shore" area to look like that, with land that's under the water surface perfectly visible near the edges as it transitions from the flat bottom to the slope upwards.
 

rynner2

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I wouldn't go as far as claiming a cover-up, but NASA does seem remarkably cautious in releasing information.
The dark streaks have been photographed for years but it was only recently that NASA conceded that they were probably indicative of small amounts of flowing surface water.
I too am suspicious of the info from Mars that is being shared with Joe Public. This is because when pictures of apparently tree-like structure first started appearing (early 21st C?), I was an active member of a local Astronomical Society, and we sometimes had visiting speakers come to talk to us about their work.

One of these was Dr. Sarah Dunkin, then working at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
(More on her CV, etc, here: http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Sarah-Dunkin/259178930 )
This was a good opportunity to ask a working space scientist what they thought about these so-called trees, but to my surprise she seemed to have no idea what I was talking about!

I'd collected a few of these images off the web, so after the meeting I emailed some of them to her, hoping that would clarify what I was asking about, and expecting an answer like "Oh, those. They are thought to be... yadda yadda..".
But those emails (and a couple of follow-ups) never got a reply...
(I posted about this on FTMB at the time, but now I can't find what I wrote then. And I was so pleased that I'd remembered her name after all this time!)

So a refusal to discuss a certain topic may not be a cover-up, but why was the topic avoided?
 

eburacum

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Arthur Clarke talked about the 'trees' when they were first discovered, and he thought they might be actual organic structures; at the time that seemed a real possibility.

But it seems that the procedure followed by Areologists (it really is called that, apparently) is to release the images without comment, then spend some months trying out different explanations. The current explanation for the trees Clarke was talking about is carbon dioxide escaping from underground, which causes meandering and branching channels in the largely homogenous regolith.
 

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Arthur Clarke talked about the 'trees' when they were first discovered, and he thought they might be actual organic structures; at the time that seemed a real possibility.

But it seems that the procedure followed by Areologists (it really is called that, apparently) is to release the images without comment, then spend some months trying out different explanations. The current explanation for the trees Clarke was talking about is carbon dioxide escaping from underground, which causes meandering and branching channels in the largely homogenous regolith.
Or it could be a stain left by bacteria/mould/microscopic plant life?
 

eburacum

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These carbon dioxide geysers would look something like this, from the surface


which reminds me of the curious 1964 film Robinson Crusoe on Mars, (with a pre-Batman Adam West) which included some strangely similar phenomena

 

Mythopoeika

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NASA certainly holds onto information for a LONG time before releasing it.
The Martian meteorite that has suspected traces of life was found in 1984.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Hills_84001
I was told about 'signs of life' in a Martian meteorite by a colleague in 1991. Her brother was a top engineer at NASA.
NASA didn't unveil the revelation to the public until 1996.
 

eburacum

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Or it could be a stain left by bacteria/mould/microscopic plant life?
Yes, it could, and this is one of the conundrums in planetology of this kind. It would be easily possible to mistake a non-biological phenomenon on an unfamiliar planet for a biological one; this would be a false positive result. So far all the observations of life-like phenomena seem to be false positives.

But it would also be easy to miss real indications of life, especially if there are too many false positives; this would be a false negative, and something we must always look out for in these situations.
 
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eburacum

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NASA certainly holds onto information for a LONG time before releasing it.
The Martian meteorite that has suspected traces of life was found in 1984.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Hills_84001
I was told about 'signs of life' in a Martian meteorite by a colleague in 1991. Her brother was a top engineer at NASA.
NASA didn't unveil the revelation to the public until 1996.
The Allan Hills evidence is generally considered a false positive result, and I expect they were reluctant to publish this until their case was strong; it seems they were probably wrong about the strength of the evidence after all.

A similar 'false positive' result was obtained from the Viking life detection experiments; some experts still argue that this was a true positive, but it just goes to demonstrate how difficult the search for life can be.

The controversy over megastructures around Tabby's Star is yet another instance of this sort of debate.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The highest pressure is actually at the bottom of the Hellas basin, 0.168 psi; water could become liquid at 0.08 psi, so it is just possible for water to form there at the warmest part of the day. (The pressure in Valles Marineris is not much, as it is not very far below datum; the surrounding terrain is quite high.)
Thanks for that! Just been reading up on Hellas Planitia. With the presence of ice and high atmospheric pressure, that ought to be a prime site for exploration. Would love to see a close-up photo from the surface of one of those "trees" too!
 

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When it comes to rovers, one problem is that NASA is worried it might bring earthly microbes with which could outcompete any martian ones. So landing in a place with life, might doom that life.
 

BlackPeter

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When it comes to rovers, one problem is that NASA is worried it might bring earthly microbes with which could outcompete any martian ones. So landing in a place with life, might doom that life.
Many years ago Arthur C Clarke wrote a story about exactly this - unfortunately cannot recall the title!
 

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I have no idea why they would hide the truth. But they certainly seem to be doing so.

But.... to know that they are hiding "the truth" would indicate that you know the truth they are hiding?
 

EnolaGaia

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When it comes to rovers, one problem is that NASA is worried it might bring earthly microbes with which could outcompete any martian ones. So landing in a place with life, might doom that life.
Concern for the contamination issue dates back farther than the current rovers. The two NASA Viking landers (mid-1970's) were sterilized and encapsulated after assembly to prevent contamination.

I can't locate confirmation that the Soviets performed contamination countermeasures on the only three of their Mars series landers known to have actually entered Mars' atmosphere (Mars 2, 3, and 6). I presume they did; I just can't find any confirmation.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Arthur Clarke talked about the 'trees' when they were first discovered, and he thought they might be actual organic structures; at the time that seemed a real possibility.

But it seems that the procedure followed by Areologists (it really is called that, apparently) is to release the images without comment, then spend some months trying out different explanations. The current explanation for the trees Clarke was talking about is carbon dioxide escaping from underground, which causes meandering and branching channels in the largely homogenous regolith.
Would carbon dioxide geysers create such wide and apparently static and stable structures though?
Maybe I'm thinking too much about geysers here on Earth (I'm off to Iceland in 3 weeks) which merely result in transitory plumes of water and steam and certainly look nothing like those enigmatic Mars images.
 
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