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Monday, December 3, 2001


Vast Oceans Once Covered Mars

(CNN) - Mars is now dry, dusty and cold, but a new study confirms that the Red Planet once was covered by vast oceans and had more water per square mile than Earth. In fact, it once had enough water to cover the planet to a depth of almost a mile, researchers say, citing an analysis of data measuring the amount of molecular hydrogen in the atmosphere. Unlike Earth, Mars lost its water over millions of years through a combination of chemical reaction and the bombardment of asteroids and comets. There is much evidence now that Mars had an ocean of liquid water, said Vladimir A. Krasnopolsky of Catholic University of America. "But the climate changed. ... Mars became a cold desert." In a study appearing Friday in the journal Science, planetary researchers Krasnopolsky and Paul D. Feldman of Johns Hopkins University said that Mars' upper atmosphere contains molecular hydrogen, or H2, a finding that confirms earlier theoretical models of the water history of the planet. The H2 comes from a chemical reaction, called dissociation, that split the hydrogen from water, H20, and allowed the lighter hydrogen to escape to the atmosphere.

(More info: CNN.com)


- posted by Alex @ 19:59 EST

(permanent link)

Wednesday, December 5, 2001


3D Rendering

Mars in 3D.
Mars in 3D.
Credit: NASA / MOLA Science Team / O. de Goursac / A. Lark
(CNN) - Now an artist has offered several views of [Valles Marineris], its deep canyons and towering cliffs, all based on topographical data obtained by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument on NASAís Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. Scientists caution that the renderings should not be used to make scientific interpretations about Valles Marineris. But NASA has released the images to the public because they are rendered from solid scientific data. The artistís impressions are the work of Olivier de Goursac of the French Mars Society and Adrian Lark, who used computer software to interpret the topographical information. The renderings provide several views of how things might look in various parts of a sprawling complex of valleys, which on Earth would stretch from Los Angeles to New York. "My goal was to obtain the most natural-looking views, as if an astronaut was standing on the surface of Mars, or as if we were flying above Valles Marineris," de Goursac told Space.com. "Also, the dust opacity of the Martian atmosphere is accurately rendered and all colors and luminosity were very carefully balanced to be as close as possible to reality."

(More info: MSNBC.com)


- posted by Alex @ 18:42 EST

(permanent link)

Thursday, December 6, 2001


Domes on Mars

Dome on Mars.
Dome on Mars.
Credit: http://www.design-technology.org/page1.htm
Where should the first explorers stay on Mars? Will they live in their landing craft? Perhaps they will live underground? Maybe they will live in futuristic domes? What would be the most efficient way to live on Mars in the first years after Alpha Colony.

This article, by Jim Keener, combines elements of bioengineering and architecture into one of the most surprising theories Red Colony.com has seen. Domes, overviewed briefly in the Cities article, are a vital part to Alpha Colony and the settlements thereafter. However, certain features for safety must be implemented, including swinging plates and air packs. Jim has done it again, proving his complicated, futuristic ideas with hard scientific proof.


- posted by Alex @ 16:44 EST

(permanent link)

Monday, December 10, 2001


Warming Planet?

Warming Planet?
Warming Planet?
Credit: NASA / MOLA Science Team / O. de Goursac / A. Lark
(AP) - Vast fields of carbon dioxide ice are eroding from the poles of Mars, suggesting that the climate of the Red Planet is warming and the atmosphere is becoming slightly more dense. Experts say that over time such changes could allow water to return to the Martian surface and turn the frigid planet into a "shirt-sleeve environment." Michael A. Caplinger, a scientist with Malin Space Science Systems, said that if the rate of carbon dioxide erosion from the Mars poles continues for thousands of years, "then it could profoundly amend the climate of Mars." "It is eroding away at a rapid pace and is going to continue to do that," said Caplinger. "This is not a seasonal change." He said the photos suggest that the polar caps are dense slabs of frozen carbon dioxide that may have been deposited over centuries, much like the way seasonal snow on Earth accumulates to form a glacier. "This stuff has been there for quite a while," he said. "It is packed down and very smooth. We don't see evidence that it is blowing around or drifting."

(More info: CNN.com)


- posted by Alex @ 22:46 EST

(permanent link)


NASA in Wartime

Times have changed and so has NASA. Sean O'Keefe, new appointed NASA Chief, has made clear that with the war, space has very little importance. Echoed by advisors like Robert B. Sieck, who ask, "Where does human spaceflight factor into the big picture?" it seems as if the world has given up on manned spaceflight.

But space is not just a hobby. A manned mission to Mars would open knowledge to us more than any other event in history. These discoveries would answer more questions than we can begin to ask. Later, more missions would take place, allowing for research, the gathering of resources, and the beginning of colonization. From there, our opportunities are limitless. It is then that the human race will have reached a pinnacle of success which will make it virtually limitless in conquering the stars. Our survival as a race depends on it, and our expansion of intelligence throughout the universe begins with just this simple step.

If it is the purpose of terrorism to destroy our lives, our hopes, and our future, giving up on the space program would achieve that goal. We can't end the space program, regarding it as "purposeless"; that is absurd. Most importantly, we must not stop dreaming, because if we do that, the future of the human race indefinitely balances on this little pinpoint that we call Earth.


- posted by Alex @ 23:48 EST

(permanent link)

Thursday, December 13, 2001


Hints of Water

(Reuters) - NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, tightening its orbit around Mars for a mapping mission, has sniffed out big hydrogen deposits, possibly indicating extensive water ice, according to project scientists. "It is big," Bill Feldman of Los Alamos National Laboratory said, referring to the magnitude of the instrument's first, preliminary reading. Feldman, who is in charge of the neutron spectrometer aspect of the mission, said the results indicated large amounts of hydrogen on the surface, a likely sign of water ice. They "are precisely what you would expect for a very hydrogen-rich environment," Feldman said. Scientists know that water exists on Mars but so far have believed it is mostly frozen in the polar icecaps or drifting about the atmosphere in thin clouds. Scientists who have studied images of the Martian surface believe they have seen evidence that water once flowed there, carving out deep channels and canyons. Significant water ice deposits easily accessible on the surface of the planet would benefit any future Mars mission astronauts and make it much more likely that life might have existed on the planet. NASA scientists said they were excited by the initial indications of hydrogen deposits, describing the readings sent back as clearer, more definite and much earlier than had been expected. "We were expecting that it would take many orbits (to determine the presence of hydrogen)," said Stephen Saunders, a scientist on the Odyssey project. "But we saw it the very first time."

(More info: CNN.com)


- posted by Alex @ 19:49 EST

(permanent link)

Saturday, December 22, 2001


Merry Christmas

The beach.
The beach.
Credit: Flocean.com
Mars news seems a little slow this month, so we're all taking our vacation early. By Tuesday, I should be in sunny Florida on the beach during the day and on my shiny new Playstation 2 at night. It's a hard life. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and the works.

- posted by Alex @ 14:50 EST

(permanent link)

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