November 24, 2009

"A new detailed map of Mars shows what was likely a vast ocean in the north and valleys around the equator..."

"... suggesting that the planet once had a humid, rainy climate, according to research published Monday."

I'm having a really hard time believing scientists lately. I'm a thorough believer in science, but there is absolutely nothing unscientific about skepticism toward the human beings who call themselves scientists. As such, they are tempted to serve their own interests over — and tapping the power of — the high ideals they espouse. Climategate is rubbing my skepticism raw, and this Mars story hits me in a tender spot.

It's just so useful for there to be plenty of water on Mars. I think of all the money that would flow — like water — into the hands of the Mars scientists if there were a mission to Mars, and the existence of water — plentiful water — is a fabulously powerful incentive to undertake that mission.

DSC05470

(Car sticker encountered in Madison, that I serendipitously only had to wait 3 days to find a use for. The pop culture reference, in case you don't know it or in case you want to watch a video clip, goes here.)

79 comments:

Henry said...

No canals, just an ocean.

JohnAnnArbor said...

I'm a space nerd, but I agree with Sylvia Earle when she point out that we could explore our own oceans--which we know arguably less about than the surface of Mars--for a LOT less than human space exploration.

Skyler said...

I think going to Mars, and the Moon, would be really cool. I'd love to do it.

But that there is water there is only circular logic as a reason to go. If there is water, then it is more viable to go there, but what is the root reason?

This is like the omnipresent argument about such expensive scientific and adventurous expeditions, that we will learn about the origins of the universe or of how life began.

Sure, interesting questions, but why is it important for us to know the answer? That is never addressed, it's just assumed as vital.

Well, it's not vital. We've gone millions of years without knowing these answers and it can wait longer. We'll get there eventually, I'm sure. But there should be a better reason for going, or it will just be for show, or for an elite set of astronauts.

I've nothing against science, astronauts (a friend of mine will pilot the next space shuttle launch), or of exploration. I like them all. I just thinkk that we need better reasons before they are publicly funded.

chuck b. said...

You seem defensive about your skeptical attitude toward scientists, but that skepticism is needed even without Climategate.

Furthermore, it's good to be skeptical toward science itself, too. It's not like religion.

David said...

What made Mars warm enough to have liquid oceans? The heat generated by sunlight is very weak compared to earth. I wonder what the theory on that is?

MadisonMan said...

It's good to be skeptical towards everything. Well, except the things I write, which are the Gospel Truth.

Manned exploration of Mars would be a big waste of money -- how much of the money would be going to keeping the astronaut alive? Why not just send robots? Why go at all? I don't think that question has ever been answered.

AllenS said...

I don't believe it.

Joseph said...

Skepticism of any given scientist or scientific analysis or conclusion is perfectly rational and is an integral part of the scientific method. And I think we should be skeptical about scope and direction of climate change and our technological and political ability to effectively counter it. And I think we should be especially aware of the incentives that motivate anyone presenting data analysis. But I think "climategate" is completely overblown. There is one email suggesting that a scientist planned to pad his data so that a graph would better reflect the conclusions he wanted to draw. I agree that's a breach of professional ethics but I don't see how that undermines the whole science of climate change.

Larry said...

You know why climategate is rubbing your skepticism raw? Because you are extremely gullible Ann - that's why.

You link to a Powerline article that says the alarmists predictions for 2009 didn't come true. It then links to a anti-global warming blog, wattsupwiththat, that says 2009 was a very normal year in the United States. Perhaps.

But tell me Ann - how does 2009 rank for the entire world, not just the United States? The answer is #5. But that's according to NASA, and we know that's just government propaganda right?

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/index.php?report=global

So yes, October was a very normal year in the United States. But it was the 5th hottest October EVER in the world. Now which is more indicative of global warming. Sorry - but you're buying Powerline's garbage - and that makes you extremely gullible as I said. Honestly - do you ever do any independent research - or do you always take Fox News and powerline at face value. Why do you let yourself be subject to such propaganda???? The graph can be seen below.

http://climateprogress.org/2009/11/16/nasa-noaa-hottest-june-to-october-on-record/

This last decade is the warmest ever in recorded history.

June - October of this year was the warmest June - October in history.

Ocean temperatures reached their highest temperature in recorded history this year.

Climategate was a crime - private records were stolen. But is Ann is upset about that? No. Are conservatives upset - no? In fact conservatives are now calling the victims of the crime, whose records were stolen, criminals.

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/viscount-monckton-on-global-warminggate-they-are-criminals-pjm-exclusive/

Orwellian indeed.

John Lynch said...

Eh, I get the skepticism, but the stakes are pretty low compared to the climate mess. Normal peer review will take care of it.

It's when science is being used to create and destroy entire industries that ordinary people need to be really skeptical. I'm fairly intelligent, have some academic training (four years, anyway), and I know when I'm being steamrolled. The AGW crowd sets off all my alarms. Don't let people with more education intimidate you. They are wrong all the time. The ordinary person historically has been the biggest check on Utopian thinking, and thank God.

On the larger issue of space travel, we'll do it seriously when it's cheap enough to do so. Right now there's nothing up there that we can't get here, other than information. Mining anywhere on Earth is cheaper, and there's plenty of space. No one is rushing to live in Antarctica, and that's a less hostile environment than anywhere else in the solar system.

Kurt said...

My responses to several commenters:

Like all planets, Mars was originally warm due to the condensation of particles that formed the planet. We are fairly certain of that.

What is new and interesting is that lots of liquid water existed on Mars. That is currently debated but the evidence points in that direction.

The question is, "is the water still there?" Some is, as ice at the poles and probably buried in the ground but we don't know how much. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.

Finding out is what scientists do. That's the whole point of being a scientist. Benefits to humanity are nice but secondary.

Human exploration is unnecessary at this early stage of the investigation. An interesting comparison is with the military. They do everything they can to avoid injury to their soldiers while NASA wants to put astronauts in situations that are definitely dangerous. I like the military's approach.

John Lynch said...

I remember that article about sending people to Mars one-way. I think a lot of people would go. Not that we will be able to do that.

wv caring

Another real word! Monkeys, typewriters, etc.

John Lynch said...

Oh yeah- what happened to the Mars meteorite with evidence of life in it?

wv carting

wth? real word day?

Scott M said...

No need to go to Mars right now. We just found significant evidence of ample water in the lunar strata.

Permanently manned, completely self-sufficient bases on the moon first. Get really, really good at translunar space first. THEN assemble the Mars shot at those bases and launch it from there where the gravity well and fuel costs are a lot cheaper.

John Lynch said...

No, because if we go to the moon that will use up all the money and we won't go to Mars.

The ISS is using up all the money now, which is why we can't get to the moon.

If the ultimate goal is Mars, let's go to Mars. The space budget isn't going to support a baby-steps approach.

Space exploration doesn't get much cheaper over time.

k*thy said...

Finding out is what scientists do. That's the whole point of being a scientist. Benefits to humanity are nice but secondary.

A good reminder.

Jim S. said...

I'm somewhat skeptical of Mars having a humid rainy climate because it has a surface gravity too weak to keep water molecules in the atmosphere. In order to get a rocky planet with the right surface gravity, like Earth, it needs to be significantly larger.

The problem with this is that such a planet would have an atmosphere worse than Venus's. Earth seems to have resulted from a planetoid colliding with Earth, blowing most of its atmosphere away, and eventually forming the Earth-Moon system.

Scott M said...

@k*thy

Yeah...I've always felt that the engineers were the benevolent ones.

Richard Dolan said...

"I'm a thorough believer in science ..."

It was never intended to be a belief-system -- 'science' was always the paradigm of the opposite -- but turned into one about the time that it became too complex for educated non-scientists to follow, or even scientists trained in one discipline to follow the argument in another. Rather than looking at whether any scientific proposition is provable, those of us on the outside end up invoking the kind of things that a cross-examiner uses to discredit testimony of any sort -- financial interest, bias, motive to slant the conclusions, etc.

It's interesting that the law is now veering sharply away from the cross-examination model, even as that approach remains how non-scientists still react to these stories. Daubert and the F.R. Evidence puts judges in a gate-keeper role, the point being to rule out of consideration scientific evidence that doesn't pass the peer-accepted standard.

The egregious behaviour on display in Climategate undercuts the role of scientists in public affairs, and makes the 'peer-accepted' standard itself suspect. Climategate is of a piece with the scandals that have surfaced in other areas where bogus 'science' has been used to obtain convictions.

One would normally expect those who are most responsible for (and have the most obvious reasons to care about) public acceptance of the integrity of 'science' to speak out loudly, to restore the required balance and insist on the observance of 'scientific' norms --such as the release of data and an insistence that results can be replicated and proved (or falsified). The people who ought to be leading that charge are leading academic scientists, university presidents or deans, those in charge of national laboratories, even (perhaps) the President's adviser on such matters.

But that hasn't happened, either in the US or the UK. It makes the scandal so much worse, suggests that the politicization goes much deeper, and guarantees that it will have a lasting, corrosive impact.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seneca the Younger said...

Larry, it's unclear that the records thing was a crime; it may have been an inside whistleblower and therefore protected under UK law.

On the other hand, conspiring to prevent data from being rightfully released under FOIA is a crime. One that George Monbiot is now calling for Jones' head about.

John Lynch said...

On the global warming leak, I think conservatives aren't troubled by how the information was released for two reasons.

One, it completely confirms their own biases. Duh. Yes, there is a lot of hypocrisy in the world. It tends to cancel out, and I don't expect the AGW crowd to air their own dirty laundry.

Two, it doesn't damage national security. No enemy benefits from the leak. Who is hurt by the release of this information? A few scientists. Sure, private information should remain so, but this isn't on the level of the New York Times publishing state secrets. No one is going to die. So, it's not really comparable. The worst that can happen is a chilling effect on scientific communication, but science should be a relatively open process anyway.

Treating climate research like state secrets gives the game away. Something is wrong.

Bill Kilgore said...

Larry claims that "Climategate was a crime - private records were stolen."

Either Larry is lying, or lacks sufficient familiarity with the issue to render his opinion. The e-mails that have been released* were subject to FOI requests in both the US and the UK. The University from which these items were leaked is very clear on this point generally- though apparently special exceptions were made for the CRU.

* In any case, the e-mails, despite detailing a concerted effort to engage in criminal acts, are just a tiny but of this story. The actual code that was used to manage the "data" these guys were relying on has been released. As well as detailing deliberate efforts to massage data to support their conclusions, the code demonstrates a staggering incompetence. You couldn't get FDA approval for extra-strength Tylenol if you managed data as badly as these guys have.

I've been pouring through the code for several days and it is amazing- the lack of scientific rigor amongst this crew is breathtaking. I may frequently be an ass but I am rarely hyperbolic- that said, this is most amazing "story" of my lifetime. The media may be slow on the draw, but the scientific community isn't- this is huge.

MadisonMan said...

Thank goodness the Senate will investigate. Now when can get to the bottom of things.

MadisonMan said...

'we can'. Not 'when can'.

Skyler said...

Kurt strangely wrote,

Human exploration is unnecessary at this early stage of the investigation. An interesting comparison is with the military. They do everything they can to avoid injury to their soldiers while NASA wants to put astronauts in situations that are definitely dangerous. I like the military's approach.

I hate to break it to you, but that is not the military I'm in. Maybe the air force. . .

We teach people to do very dangerous things and we force (yes, force them if they don't do it willingly) to go into deadly situations. We often conduct attacks that result in large numbers of people getting killed or maimed with the foreknowlege of that result.

So I don't know where you get the idea that the military does everything it can to avoid injury. I want no part of such an organization.

Kurt said...

Skyler,

I wasn't real clear in my comment about the military. My point was that the military uses new technology to take soldiers out of harm's way. Mine and IED-detecting robots, unmanned aircraft, etc. save our soldiers' lives while still allowing the military to conduct it's business which can be deadly to everybody involved. In contrast, many NASA scientists and engineers want to use new technology to replace robots on Mars and the Moon with humans. I don't think this approach greatly increases the benefits of the missions so it's not worth the risk to life.

John Lynch said...

In space exploration and war, the mission comes first. If safety comes first, we'll never go to war or get on a rocket.

That said, continuing to use a launch system that kills the crew 1 time out of 50 is criminal.

Alex said...

Larry - you are full of shit. You, NASA and I have no idea what the hottest Octobers in ALL of history are. So STFU and take it up the ass like all you lefties are going to in 2010.

Alex said...

Treating climate research like state secrets gives the game away. Something is wrong.

The AGWers are growing increasingly desperate. So they will double-down in an attempt to destroy all "denialists" in the next 6 months, while passing cap n tax, and carbon tax. They are VERY dangerous right now. This is for all the marbles.

Joe said...

Part of this report is definitely in the "making shit up" branch of science. It's rather annoying when speculation gets mixed in with hard science--a new topographic map of mars.

Skyler said...

I'm still unclear as to how they ever decided that meteorites landing on Earth somehow came from Mars. I'm sure that there is a plausible explanation, but I haven't seen one that should generate such absolute, unquestioning conclusions that rocks floating in space had to originate from Mars.

But, I'm an engineer, not a scientist. I might round off, but I don't make things up.

wv: vilest, as in the CRU scientists are the vilest sort of people.

Skyler said...

I have a friend who introduced me to a very nice lady who worked, let's just say, in a NASA-ish kind of job. She complained that the first shuttle accident ruined her chances to go aboard the space suttle. She claimed she was on a short list of those being considered for a future mission.

The woman was a paraplegic. She is very smart, and wonderful in every way, but she honestly thought that the tax payers should pay to send a woman who can't use her legs into space -- to prove the point, I suppose, that paraplegics can be sent into space. It kind of begs the question of what we're doing in space. Is our reason for going into space a serious reason to get something done, or is it a vehicle for political graft, or is it to make people feel good?

This is the mindset that is wrong with the government approach to space, and is why we'll probably never get anyone to Mars until the government gets out of the business.

Donal said...

Larry the NASA report you linked to says its the 5th hottest since 1880 not as you put it "EVER in the world." Exaggeration on that scale tends to make people ignore you. I will point out that the report is also a preliminary one and does not include data from Canada all of which make me skeptical as to the validity of its conclusions.

You also linked to an AP story which claims this decade continued warming. Well here is an article from Der Spiegel where scientists state that the temperature has hit a plateau.

Shanna said...

So yes, October was a very normal year in the United States. But it was the 5th hottest October EVER in the world.

Ever meaning since we started measuring or Ever Ever? How accurate are those tree ring measurements, compared with today?
Because I really find that doubtful.

Larry the NASA report you linked to says its the 5th hottest since 1880 not as you put it "EVER in the world."

Thank you! Someone else was thinking the same thing. And of course, we started coming out of a cold snap round about 1850, so I'm sure that doesn't factor in at all. And nobody ever talks about how hot the MWP was as compared to today, which is something I would really like to know, including information on the difference between getting data from tree rings and such vs. the way we measure now.

JohnAnnArbor said...

The woman was a paraplegic. She is very smart, and wonderful in every way, but she honestly thought that the tax payers should pay to send a woman who can't use her legs into space -- to prove the point, I suppose, that paraplegics can be sent into space.

That isn't completely silly. Legs get in the way in space, and also fluid in the body redistributes itself from the legs to the upper body, so leg amputees, or those with atrophied legs, would not be helpless in pace and would have some advantages.

Skyler said...

Oh, come now, John. How many times have astronauts needed their legs to get something unplanned accomplished? Countless, from simply riccocheting off the walls to space walks, legs are very useful. (Oh, I'm sorry, I can't repair the hubble telescope that incompetent NASA engineers allowed to be built wrong because I have no legs to help me toss out the defective solar panel.)

How much would it cost us to create new tools for her, provide assistance to her in training?

There is no ADA for space. It's our dime and it shows what a ridiculous boondoggle NASA is when it starts sending school teachers and others just because of political correctness or some other silly so-called ideal? Why reward those who are the poorest educated college graduates? And what makes a school teacher even necessary or proper to fill a boat space? The space shuttle became a very expensive passenger service with teachers and a senator being hauled up just for fun.

If there is a purpose to be in space, it should be done using reasonable costs and with the best available people.

Skyler said...

Also, John, she wasn't a double amuputee, she was a paraplegic. The blood pooling would likely have been worse!

John Lynch said...

The October temperature thing reminds me of a line from the Tom Selleck movie "Mr. Baseball."

"LAST SEASON, I led this team in ninth-inning doubles in the month of August!"

Something like that. So what?

Cedarford said...

Kurt - The question is, "is the water still there?" Some is, as ice at the poles and probably buried in the ground but we don't know how much. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.

The question has been under active scientic exploration with the Mars orbiting craft using ground penetrating radar and the Phoenix lander. The orbiting craft have found lots and lots and lots of water with the spacecraft's spectrometer probes and ground-penetrating radars. The Phoenix landed on a solid shelf of ice covered with an inch of dirt.

THe problems with the NASA meme that Water=Life is that life requires many other things we know present Mars lacks, and we are not sure ancient Mars ever had.
A shield from ionizing radiation, enough energy available from sun and internal heat to permit construction of organic chemicals faster than radiation broke them down. Whether or not the ancient sea was hyper salty, perchlorated, hyper alkaline/acidic and precluded an opportunity for life to form.
Most importantly, the matter of elements essential to life as we know it that are missing or almost absent from Mars...led by nitrogen which is essential to all proteins and living tissue. It is unknown if ancient Mars had it, or had enough under the right partial pressures to allow organic synthesis to happen in cells.

As our space telescopes exponentially improve, as hundreds of extrasolar planets are found each year...we are within a generation or so of looking at the atmospheric chemical spectrum of those planets for proof of living processes, focusing radio telescopes on a very narrow sensitive beam to see if any electromagnetic emissions are there.

We may know the answer to "Are we alone - No!" from next gen unmanned probes seeing signs of present-day distant life - long before man ever steps foot on Mars looking for remains of microbes that died out billions of years ago, if they ever existed.

MadisonMan said...

You, NASA and I have no idea what the hottest Octobers in ALL of history are.

I can say with certainty that the hottest October occurred within the past 2000 years.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Larry the NASA report you linked to says its the 5th hottest since 1880 not as you put it "EVER in the world."

"Thank you! Someone else was thinking the same thing. And of course, we started coming out of a cold snap round about 1850, so I'm sure that doesn't factor in at all"

Ha...and my first thougts about the Hottest October EVER were...

Gee....If only, we could dig up some Dinsouar calendars, if they even called it October, I bet their Octobers were a lot hotter.

AGW people have the shortest world time line view and are so self absorbed that they think humans are actually important. FOR"EVER" is just a few years for them. Having taken a geology class or two during my college studies as an Antro/Archeology student, I tend to take the long view and realize that the earth changes all the time.

At one time, the land that I am standing on, well actually sitting, was once at the bottom of a shallow warm ocean for millions and millions of years. It is now over 3500 ft above sea level and we currently mine the sediments that consist of the skeletons of billions and billions of dead sea critters. Diatoms.

The world changes and we are too miniscule to make a big difference (barring a world wide dirty nuclear war). Get over it.

Why go to Mars? We haven't explored Earth or the Moon fully yet. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD.

MadisonMan said...

Or maybe it's 3000 years. Certainly not before the founding of Rome, of course, since October is a name from the Roman Calendar.

vw: thestud (!)

Skyler said...

I can say with certainty that the hottest October occurred within the past 2000 years.

Um, is that because the months were given these names only since that time?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Gee....If only, we could dig up some Dinosaur calendars, if they even called it October, I bet their Octobers were a lot hotter.

That was sarcasm and snark, just in case some idiot troll like Jeremy comes in says that I really believe that the dinosaurs had calendars or months.

Of course they didn't.....they used abacuses used a base 8 counting system. /wink.

Freeman Hunt said...

While you are all having an important discussion about the climate, I would just like to say that Total Recall is one of the most fun action movies of all time.

Quintessential Arnold.

Beaverdam said...

Wow. It's good that the bravest and the smartest have always worked together to accomplish great things, while the rest of you dogs stayed on the porch, out of the way.

Original Mike said...

We've gone millions of years without knowing these answers and it can wait longer.

"We" may have gone millions of years without knowing, but I've only got 20 or 30 years left (knock on wood), so times a wastin'!

And no, I am not kidding.

Freeman Hunt said...

People don't think we should go to Mars? Really?

We should definitely go to Mars.

We are human beings. That's what we do: awesome things.

We can FLY. We can live in ANY CLIMATE. We WALKED ON THE FRIGGIN MOON!

We rule. We should go rule on Mars.

Original Mike said...

Damn straight, Freeman!

Scott M said...

Clarke gave us a very good reason for putting people on Mars...and elsewhere.

For all but a vanishingly brief instant near the dawn of history, the word 'ship' will mean—'spaceship.'

Survival demands it.

John Lynch said...

If we are going to get to Mars, it's going to take some discipline.

No ISS. Crash it into the ocean. Ditch the Shuttle. Forget about the Moon. Focus on propulsion systems, like an ion drive, that can get us to Mars in a short enough time that the probability of an accident killing the crew doesn't get too high. Build a safe and reliable heavy lift booster to put ship parts into orbit.

It's about using the resources we have. We can't afford 3 manned space programs for LEO, the Moon, and Mars. Focus.

Oh, and international cooperation is nice but it's probably more trouble than it's worth. The point is to get there, not to cooperate.

Original Mike said...

Clarke gave us a very good reason for putting people on Mars...and elsewhere.

So did Sir Edmund Hillary.

Scott M said...

So did Sir Edmund Hillary.

Wasn't he named for our current, sniper-dodging Secretary Of State?

Original Mike said...

Yes, Scott M. I believe I heard something along those lines.

bagoh20 said...

"Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD."

Except in the case of exploration. I think we should because we are us. Of all the things we waste money on, space exploration bothers me the least. Totally emotional response, but I do that on certain subjects. Like saving dogs in the pound rather than euthanizing them, which is the logical thing to do. Thank God, Spock is not in charge of this soggy spacecraft.

Fred4Pres said...

Global warming promoters aside, I am all for a Mars mission. It would be awesome. And yes there is water there, sizable amounts, a lot more than on the moon. Enough for an ocean? Perhaps. But certainly enough to colonize.

bagoh20 said...

Love you, Freeman.

Steven said...

Oh yeah- what happened to the Mars meteorite with evidence of life in it?

Still around. There's a non-biological counter-explanation which has gained some traction. But nothing new has been discovered that would draw mainstream media attention; there's been no definitive debunking.

I'm still unclear as to how they ever decided that meteorites landing on Earth somehow came from Mars.

The people who do the physics show that a large impact on Mars can knock rocks off Mars and into space, some into orbits that will eventually land on Earth. Given the number of large impacts that have hit Mars, it's statistically certain that small bits of Mars have accordingly been knocked into space and then hit Earth.

Now, the various bodies in the solar system have, different but definite surface chemical compositions which can be determined by spectrography. When a meteorite is found that matches the composition of Mars's surface, but does not match the surface of any other object, it's assumed to be one of the rocks that was knocked off Mars. It could have possibly been, say, a really really weird bit of asteroid or comet, sure, but the least hypothesis is that it's Martian.

Most importantly, the matter of elements essential to life as we know it that are missing or almost absent from Mars...led by nitrogen which is essential to all proteins and living tissue. It is unknown if ancient Mars had it

There's nitrogen on Mars. The Martian atmosphere is 2.7% nitrogen. So ancient Mars certainly had it. A high enough partial pressure? Hard to call without more evidence.

Elliott A said...

What needs to be considered in the debate is that humans are much more susceptible to cosmic radiation damage than is previously thought, and it is much tougher to shield against than previously thought. A proton moving at .99c is bad enough, but a real percentage of the particles sleeting through space are heavy elements, i.e. iron. One of these going through your brain causes a little damage, hundreds and thousands in days, weeks and months of exposure causes major damage. The humans may be on the Martian surface, but will be relegated to operating robotic machinery from a safe underground location. It is not feasible to operate robots from earth due to the time it takes to transmit instructions, so people will need to be in the neighborhood. They will also be needed to oversee asteroid mining, a biggee for the future since several high tech dependent materials are in very short supply on earth and will be needed at some point. Humans may not ever be able to survive outside the radiation belt of our planet or on any other without an atmosphere. My hopes of seeing people on Mars in my lifetime have faded.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Focus on propulsion systems, like an ion drive, that can get us to Mars in a short enough time that the probability of an accident killing the crew doesn't get too high.

Got it already. It's called NERVA. Could be launched by Saturn 5, which we should never have stopped producing.

Lots of cool stuff went by the wayside of cuts. Even a manned Venus flyby was planned, with a Skylab-like setup.

JohnAnnArbor said...

I'm still unclear as to how they ever decided that meteorites landing on Earth somehow came from Mars.

The ratios of trapped gases in the meteorite match those measured by the 1970's Viking probes. To many decimal places.

Shanna said...

For all but a vanishingly brief instant near the dawn of history, the word 'ship' will mean—'spaceship.'

I like that.

Survival demands it.

This. The earth will be destroyed at some point. It may be a few billion years, it may be sooner, but it would be wise to have a contingency plan.

Original Mike said...

The humans may be on the Martian surface, but will be relegated to operating robotic machinery from a safe underground location.

Vast overstatement of the problem. All that will be necessary is to keep tabs on solar activity. If a solar flare sends energetic particles toward Mars, the humans will have to wait it out in a shielded environment; likely provided by the water reservoirs which are going to be needed to support people living on the surface anyways.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It may be a few billion years, it may be sooner, but it would be wise to have a contingency plan.


You really think that in a few billion years Homo Sapiens will still exist or if exist be in a form even recognizable to us today. As chickens are similar to a T-Rex, so will future 'man' be if man to us today as we are to Australopithecines.

However, if anyone is interested in thinking along the lines of survival of man, Mars etc. I highly recommend this book:

A Canticle for Lebowitz. Very good sci-fi.

Bissage said...

DUCT TAPE!!1!!!!!!1!!!!!!

t-man said...

I would add that the hottest Miss October was sometime in the past 60 years.

I agree that things are going to get exponentially nasty in the next few months. These people are playing for all the marbles. They have been painstakingly building this up for decades, and their goals are now in sight.

John Lynch said...

Oh yeah, see "Moon." It's out on DVD.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The reason to go to mars is, as others have suggested, to spread out so that we do not have all of our eggs in one basket. As such, the goal is a permenent, self-sufficient settlement.

The best way to achieve that is to stop worrying about sending people and instead just keep advancing science and technology here on earth. In the near future, within the next 100 years, we will have the robotics and computer technology that will allow robots to set up the colony for us. A government funded program shouldn't put people on mars until there is an established infrastructure including mining, manufacturing, food production, sanitation, and living space.

Of course, if private individuals want to head there first on their own dime, I certainly wish them well.

Original Mike said...

I would add that the hottest Miss October was sometime in the past 60 years.

2003 was out of this world!

I agree that things are going to get exponentially nasty in the next few months. These people are playing for all the marbles. They have been painstakingly building this up for decades, and their goals are now in sight.

I have been trying to get a feel in the last couple of days for how important the CRU is in the grand panolpy of the AGW pageant. MadisonMan would really help in this regard but he has been unhelpfully silent.

Original Mike said...

Of course, if private individuals want to head there first on their own dime, I certainly wish them well.

Agree 100%. However, I believe under the current circumstances the government wouldn't allow it. Instapundit has posted on this in the past.

Palladian said...

"Except in the case of exploration. I think we should because we are us. Of all the things we waste money on, space exploration bothers me the least. Totally emotional response, but I do that on certain subjects. Like saving dogs in the pound rather than euthanizing them, which is the logical thing to do. Thank God, Spock is not in charge of this soggy spacecraft."

I'm with Freeman and bagoh20. Our future is not bound to this earth, wonderful as it is.

"Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward-looking on planet Earth but to spread out into space."

Original Mike said...

Screw survival. Let's just have some fun! We're human!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Screw survival. Let's just have some fun! We're human!

Well, if that's the way you feel about it, you should definitely be posting in the thread about Sophia Loren's magnificent boobs.!!

I guess my problem with a program to send people to Mars is that it would be like our efforts in Afghanistan. Half assed. If we are going to Mars....then let's go all out. Balls to the wall.
If we are going to be in Afghanistan...same thing. Balls to the wall. Win and take no prisoners.

I can't stand this half assed, weenie, no paper-cuts attitude towards winning wars and in the space program.

Do it!!!! Or as my Mom would've said....."shit or get off the pot, damn ya". (Irish Catholic to the core and brokered no fools or cowards)

Shanna said...

You really think that in a few billion years Homo Sapiens will still exist or if exist be in a form even recognizable to us today.

Well, who the heck knows? Something might happen sooner than a billion years. Even if we do change, does that mean we shouldnt' care if we continue?

We spend money on a lot of stupid stuff. I don't think space travel is in that category.

The Crack Emcee said...

My sister blog is run by a doctor. Him I respect. I like doctors, actually. Many doctors are fighting that good fight in their hospitals.

Here's a few of my thoughts about the scientists I've encountered in my investigation of NewAge, all believers in AGW, and every one of 'em dumb as the day is long. They disillusioned me about scientists but not about science. But then, AGW was never about science, but spirituality, Al Gore told you so.

And here's something I wrote two years ago about Al Gore and scientists.

"Every question is a perfect opportunity for the answer we have already prepared."'

Place that weird Maharishi giggle here. While looking at those CRU e-mails, and looking at the quote above, notice any similarities between the way the ClimateGate guys worked,...and say, these guys? (And whoever said this only affected scientists is waaay, waaay, off.)

NewAge has got cha, again, y'all.

Pelalusa said...

Fox News' Stuart Varney investigates ClimateGate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=429xoDtqS-A

His guests include U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe and actor, Ed Begley Jr.

It starts off slowly but be sure to watch Begley, starting at 3:50. He goes on & on & on about "peer reviewed studies". But the Hadley evidence clearly shows how corrupted the peer "reviewing" is.

You'll also enjoy mellow Ed lose his temper. Such actions are the last refuge of the guilty.

Here's a great quote from a Dennis Miller Zone (DMZ) member known as 'Brer Rabbit':

"Funny how Begley makes the fallacy of appeal to authority, while pointing people to peer-reviewed studies, the same kind of research that the leaked emails show is being manipulated by the climate change gravy trainers for financial gain."

Paul Zrimsek said...

I have been trying to get a feel in the last couple of days for how important the CRU is in the grand panolpy of the AGW pageant

The short answer is, not very. The people in the e-mails (only some of them are at CRU) seem to be most of the big players in reconstructing past climate-- but that's only a smallish part of your AGW pageant.

Original Mike said...

Well, if that's the way you feel about it, you should definitely be posting in the thread about Sophia Loren's magnificent boobs.!!

Nah. Fun is going to Mars. And I completely agree with you about not doing it half-assed.