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Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - Fsbirdhouse - 12-27-2017

However, I'd settle for a discovery of an artifact of sufficiently advanced technology (As are the Golden Flyers), especially one of flight, that would seal the deal about ancient man's ability to travel between planets within the Solar system.

I believe that artifact, or group of such full size artifacts is hidden not far from the banks of the Magdalena river in Columbia.
I am drawn to that possibility more than any other.

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - EA - 12-27-2017

Aye/ I /Eye
second that motion,all in favour...


a fortuitous impactor event that hits the Northern Ice cap as a kick-starter in the atmosphere a few years before human settlement.

A big ice/water/steam cloud-blasting injection to start the warming by a few degrees...

[Image: 20130302_stp510.jpg] LilD

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - Fsbirdhouse - 12-28-2017

That's an idea!

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - Vianova - 12-28-2017


NASA Mars missions got you feeling a bit bleak?

Tow in a multitude of asteroids into near space orbit over Mars,
and then,
manipulate the orbits of them all to crash into Mars and escalate the process EA envisioned. 

Or, easier, propel Phobos or Deimos into the northern plains.
But might we catch some debris our way from an event like that?

All that is much better than DARPA / NASA -- GMO terraforming ...

Our hopes right now are in something excellent being unveiled by the Ceres Mission.

Unless something crawls out of the ground and takes a nap in front of the rover,
we will be seeing a lot more of landforms full of possibilities.

That interstellar asteroid passing through was an excellent development.
Hard to beat that.


How many aliens have requested asylum on Earth?
Witness protection program Reefer
All it's DNA now belongs to Merck.

all the action is right here on Earth actually,
UFO's ... alien abductions ...  alien autopsies ... ball lightning Rofl 
I imagine that Earth is the most alien visited planet, 
in the solar system.

I wonder which nation has the most aliens stashed away in cryo storage body bags?
Those bags are Made in the USA.
dem bones dem bones

Who will be the first astronaut to die on Mars?
Better not be Chinese.



RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - rhw007 - 12-28-2017


Sheesh you folks are impatient more than I am !!!  And THAT is saying a LOT !!!

I've been tracking and following Mars and SciFi for 50+ years now; and I WILL NOT abide Elon having HIS shot at landing East of Cydonia on the nearly SAME latitude of Cydonia !!!

Don't you people SEE that if Elon's 2018 Mars Landing IS successful ... there is NO WAY that NASA can DENY:


S   P   R   E   A    D            I    T           E      V     E     R     Y     W     H     E     R     E  

For "Partnership" with Elon's Future plans NOT sending a Rover to HELP put HUMAN science on the ground and pick up samples the #2020CydoniaRover will set down Musk's TEAM can pick up and Analise them in the city they build LONG before the Nobody Anywhere Says Anything folks get TO Mars a DECADE later than Elon will.

So...PLEASE...stop wishing for IMPACTORS to crash into Mars.  Besides there's a monolith on Phobos we have yet to SEE up close...why isn't HiRise doing this?

Bob... Ninja Assimilated

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - The Watcher - 12-28-2017

He is really going to land there?

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - EA - 12-30-2017

I envisioned a 'beneficial and fortuitous' soft landing impact.

Into Tens of Kilometer thick ice.

Not a catastrophic world destroyer.

A kick-start that would predominantly be a voluminous injection of H20 into the stratosphere and warm things up a little.

Once the Triple-phase molecule is let loose in a pulse... anomalous events will instantly begin to transpire.

Comet siding-spring just missed by a short and curly tail.

The reason I wish it occurred before we get there is because it will really help things develop at a faster pace.

Water works wonders when wetter world was wished.

In fact it could wash away a lot of poof-dust and melt some of that dura-crusted snow(Ice-pack via *nivātum,) on the lion-side of Ares' face and the North East Flank of the D&M

Neve | Define Neve at
granular snow accumulated on high mountains and subsequently compacted into glacial ice. ... C19: from Swiss French névé glacier, from Late Latin nivātus snow-cooled, from nix snow. ... "field of granular snow, firn," 1843, from French névé (19c.), probably from Savoyard névi "mass ...

[Image: 159335_web.jpg]

Before we colonise Mars, let's look to our problems on Earth
December 28, 2017 by Andrew Glikson, The Conversation

[Image: beforewecolo.jpg]
Mars. Credit: NASA JPL Caltech cd f d o.

Everyone wants to go to Mars, or so it seems. 

Elon Musk, NASA with Lockheed Martin, and now Boeing are all looking towards the red planet, with heady predictions of missions during the 2020s.

But at what cost? And could we even survive any long-term colonisation on Mars? Given the problems we face here on Earth it's important to ask whether we should be better tasked with looking after the only planet we know (so far) that can harbour life.
The race to Mars
Boeing says it wants to be involved in the first mission to send humans to the red planet. The company's chief executive Dennis Muilenburg told a US TV host in December 2017:
"I firmly believe the first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket."
A key rival is Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, which is already launching rockets. At the 68th Annual International Aeronautics Congress, in Adelaide in September 2017, Musk spoke of airline-like connections between Earth and Mars, with cargo missions to begin by 2022.
Lockheed Martin says it plans to send humans to Mars in the next decade.
Even the famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has argued that it is "essential that we colonise space" although he doesn't see it happening that soon:
"I believe that we will eventually establish self-sustaining colonies on Mars and other bodies in the Solar system although probably not within the next 100 years."
Exploring other planets
Scientific exploration of Solar system planets constitutes one of the most exciting achievements the human race is realising.

But by contrast, the idea of colonising Mars or other planets or moons is misleading. It yields an impression in many people's mind that an alternative exists to Earth, a unique (so far) haven of life in the Solar system, currently suffering from global warming, rising oceans, extreme weather events, mass extinction of species and growing risk of nuclear wars.

Microbial life may exist on Mars or may have existed in the past. According to NASA:
"Among our discoveries about Mars, one stands out above all others: the possible presence of liquid water, either in its ancient past or preserved in the subsurface today. Water is key because almost everywhere we find water on Earth, we find life. If Mars once had liquid water, or still does today, it's compelling to ask whether any microscopic life forms could have developed on its surface."
But doubts have been raised recently with regard to the distinction between water and sand flow on Mars.
[Image: 1-beforewecolo.jpg]
This high-resolution scanning electron microscope image shows an unusual tube-like structural form that is less than 1/100th the width of a human hair in size found in meteorite ALH84001, a meteorite believed to be of Martian origin. Credit: NASA
No atmosphere for life
At present there is no evidence of a liveable atmosphere under which plants or other organisms would survive on Mars.
Its thin atmosphere is less than 1% of Earth's, consisting of 96% carbon dioxide, 1.9% nitrogen, 1.9% argon and trace amounts of oxygen and carbon monoxide. It provides little protection from the Sun's radiation, nor does it allow retention of heat at the surface.
Suggestions as to whether biological-like textures in a Martian meteorite (ALH84001) signify ancient fossils have not been confirmed.
In July 2017 researchers reported that the surface of Mars may be more toxic to microorganisms than previously thought.
A Mars colony warning
There is no lack of warnings regarding the colonisation of Mars.
If a colony was established it would take continuous efforts and major expense to keep it supplied, including likely rescue missions. Furthermore, the long-term isolation of the colonists may take its toll.
When the Mars One project announced in 2013 that it was looking to recruit four people to send on a mission to colonise Mars, Chris Chambers, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Cardiff University, warned of the psychological risks the colonists would face.
Yet dreams stay alive. According to NASA's mission statement:
"Even if Mars is devoid of past or present life, however, there's still much excitement on the horizon. We ourselves might become "life on Mars", should humans choose to travel there one day."
Earth calling Mars
Space colonisation dreams are not entirely devoid of economic interests. The international space industry is said to be worth in the order of some US$400 billion a year, and predicted to grow to nearly US$3 trillion over the next three decades.
Space travel and colonisation ideas are mostly promoted by engineers and entrepreneurs who stand to gain from these schemes, but far less so by biologists and medical scientists who understand the terrestrial origin and physiological limitations of the human body.
There can be little doubt that, given modern and future computer and space technologies, space stations could be constructed on Mars, where a few privileged humans may be able to live for periods of time.
Should humans colonise a life-bearing planet, we should ask whether organisms would fare any better than species extinguished on Earth.
The ethical polarity between those dreaming of conquering space and those hoping to defend Earth from global heating and a nuclear calamity could not be greater.
The billions and trillions of dollars required to develop and maintain colonies in space could approach the estimated US$1.69 trillion military spending globally in 2016.
As a scientist who examines how a changing climate influences human evolution, I argue that funds on this scale would be better directed at the defence of the lives of more than 7 billion humans on Earth, as well as protection of animals and of nature more broadly.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Lockheed Martin unveils reusable water-powered Mars lander
Provided by: The Conversation

Read more at:

Now if a benign impactor impacted on a few microbes...
trust the fact that if they're there sum-where  -  they're there everywhere.
And we can find them in-situ now. 
This capability will satisfy the planetary protectionists.
Quote:Being able to identify microbes in real time aboard the International Space Station, without having to send them back to Earth for identification first, would be revolutionary for the world of microbiology and space exploration. The Genes in Space-3 team turned that possibility into a reality this year, when it completed the first-ever sample-to-sequence process entirely aboard the space station.

They could detect life @ base-camp in situ or even on the next-gen rovers...

Think Boston Dynamic Rover Robot Dogs.
With this tech on-board.

Genes in Space-3 successfully identifies unknown microbes in space

December 28, 2017 by Jenny Howard, [url=]NASA

[Image: 1-genesinspace.jpg]
Sarah Wallace (L), NASA microbiologist and Genes in Space-3 principal investigator, and Sarah Stahl ®, microbiologist, are seen in their Johnson Space Center lab with the in-flight sample from the Genes in Space-3 investigation. Credit: Rachel Barry
Being able to identify microbes in real time aboard the International Space Station, without having to send them back to Earth for identification first, would be revolutionary for the world of microbiology and space exploration. The Genes in Space-3 team turned that possibility into a reality this year, when it completed the first-ever sample-to-sequence process entirely aboard the space station. Results from their investigation were published in Scientific Reports.

The ability to identify microbes in space could aid in the ability to diagnose and treat astronaut ailments in real time, as well as assisting in the identification of DNA-based life on other planets. It could also benefit other experiments aboard the orbiting laboratory. Identifying microbes involves isolating the DNA of samples, and then amplifying - or making many copies - of that DNA that can then be sequenced, or identified.

The investigation was broken into two parts: the collection of the microbial samples and amplification by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), then sequencing and identification of the microbes. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson conducted the experiment aboard the orbiting laboratory, with NASA microbiologist and the project's Principal Investigator Sarah Wallace and her team watching and guiding her from Houston.

As part of regular microbial monitoring, petri plates were touched to various surfaces of the space station. Working within the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) about a week later, Whitson transferred cells from growing bacterial colonies on those plates into miniature test tubes, something that had never been done before in space.

Once the cells were successfully collected, it was time to isolate the DNA and prepare it for sequencing, enabling the identification of the unknown organisms - another first for space microbiology. An historic weather event, though, threatened the ground team's ability to guide the progress of the experiment.

"We started hearing the reports of Hurricane Harvey the week in between Peggy performing the first part of collecting the sample and gearing up for the actual sequencing," said Wallace.

When JSC became inaccessible due to dangerous road conditions and rising flood waters, the team at Marshall Space Flight Center's Payload Operations Integration Center in Huntsville, Alabama, who serve as "Mission Control" for all station research, worked to connect Wallace to Whitson using Wallace's personal cell phone.

With a hurricane wreaking havoc outside, Wallace and Whitson set out to make history. Wallace offered support to Whitson, a biochemist, as she used the MinION device to sequence the amplified DNA. The data were downlinked to the team in Houston for analysis and identification.

[Image: genesinspace.jpg]
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson performed the Genes in Space-3 investigation aboard the space station using the miniPCR and MinION, developed for previously flown investigations. Credit: NASA
"Once we actually got the data on the ground we were able to turn it around and start analyzing it," said Aaron Burton, NASA biochemist and the project's co-investigator. "You get all these squiggle plots and you have to turn that into As, Gs, Cs and Ts."


Those As, Gs, Cs and Ts are Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine - the four bases that make up each strand of DNA and can tell you what organism the strand of DNA came from.

"Right away, we saw one microorganism pop up, and then a second one, and they were things that we find all the time on the space station," said Wallace. "The validation of these results would be when we got the sample back to test on Earth."

Soon after, the samples returned to Earth, along with Whitson, aboard the Soyuz spacecraft. Biochemical and sequencing tests were completed in ground labs to confirm the findings from the space station. They ran tests multiple times to confirm accuracy. Each time, the results were exactly the same on the ground as in orbit.

[Image: 2-genesinspace.jpg]
The Genes in Space-3 team worked throughout Hurricane Harvey to ensure operations continued on the space station. Pictured are Aaron Burton, Kristen John, Sarah Stahl and Sarah Wallace as they watch NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson work within the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) during part one of the investigation. Credit: Sarah Wallace
"We did it. Everything worked perfectly," said Sarah Stahl, microbiologist.

Developed in partnership by NASA's Johnson Space Center and Boeing, this National Lab sponsored investigation is managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space.

Genes in Space-1 marked the first time the PCR was used in space to amplify DNA with the miniPCR thermal cycler, followed shortly after by Biomolecule Sequencer, which used the MinION device to sequence DNA. Genes in Space-3 married these two investigations to create a full microbial identification process in microgravity.

"It was a natural collaboration to put these two pieces of technology together because individually, they're both great, but together they enable extremely powerful molecular biology applications," said Wallace.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Sequencing the station: Investigation aims to identify unknown microbes in space

More information: Sarah L. Castro-Wallace et al. Nanopore DNA Sequencing and Genome Assembly on the International Space Station, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-18364-0

Levin is Luvin' it!!!
Journal reference: Scientific Reports [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: NASA

Read more at:

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - EA - 12-31-2017

Quote:Now if a benign impactor impacted on a few microbes...
trust the fact that if they're there sum-where  -  they're there everywhere.
And we can find them in-situ now. 
This capability will satisfy the planetary protectionists.
More Water?

[Image: aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1h...AyLmpwZw==]

Full    [Image: sheep.gif]  Empty


Wednesday, December 27th, 2017, 11:17 pm (This post was last modified: Wednesday, December 27th, 2017, 11:22 pm by EA.)

Quote:Quote:[Image: 20130302_stp510.jpg]
[Image: 159335_web.jpg]

I wish ANU year is a happy one!
Now if a benign impactor impacted on a few microbes...
 trust the fact that if they're there sum-where  -  they're there everywhere.

For the first time scientists have directly observed living bacteria in polar ice and snow
December 20, 2017, University of York

The research team positioned themselves away from polar wildlife to limit contamination, but one persistently curious character meant a testing site had to be abandoned Credit: James Chong
For the first time scientists have directly observed living bacteria in polar ice and snow - an environment once considered sterile. The new evidence has the potential to alter perceptions about which planets in the universe could sustain life and may mean that humans are having an even greater impact on levels of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere than accepted evidence from climate history studies of ice cores suggests.

Gases captured and sealed in snow as it compresses into ice can provide researchers with snapshots of the Earth's atmosphere going back hundreds of thousands of years. Climate scientists use ice core samples to look at prehistoric levels of CO2 in the atmosphere so they can be compared with current levels in an industrial age.
This analysis of ice cores relies on the assumption that there is limited biological activity altering the environment in the snow during its transition into ice. Research reported today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, which has directly observed microbial activity in Antarctic and Arctic snow, has revealed that the composition of these small samples of gas trapped in the ice may have been affected by bacteria that remain active in snow while it is being compressed into ice - a process that can last decades.
Lead author of the research Dr Kelly Redeker from the Department of Biology at the University of York said "As microbial activity and its influence on its local environment has never been taken into account when looking at ice-core gas samples it could provide a moderate source of error in climate history interpretations. Respiration by bacteria may have slightly increased levels of CO2 in pockets of air trapped within polar ice caps meaning that before human activity CO2 levels may have been even lower than previously thought".
"In addition, the fact that we have observed metabolically active bacteria in the most pristine ice and snow is a sign of life proliferating in environments where you wouldn't expect it to exist. This suggests we may be able to broaden our horizons when it comes to thinking about which planets are capable of sustaining life," Redeker added.
Research conducted in laboratories has previously shown that bacteria can stay alive at extremely cold temperatures, but this study is the first time that bacteria have been observed altering the polar snow environment in situ.
The researchers looked at snow in is natural state, and in other areas they sterilised it using UV sterilising lamps. When they compared the results the team found unexpected levels of methyl iodide - a gas known to be produced by marine bacteria - in the untouched snow.
Cutting-edge techniques enabled the researchers to detect the presence of gases even at part-per-trillion levels, one million times less concentrated than atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
The researchers worked on sites in the Arctic and Antarctic and took precautions to limit the impact of sunlight and wind, using tarpaulins to protect their sample sites and positioning themselves on the middle of a glacier away from soil and other forms of polar wildlife which might contaminate the snow.
The results of the study also suggest that life can be sustained even in remote, cold, nutrient poor environments, offering a new perspective on whether the frozen planets of the universe could support microorganisms.
With more research, astrobiologists working to identify planets in the universe with temperature levels that could allow for the presence of liquid water may be able to expand the zones they consider potentially habitable to include planets where water is found as ice.
"We know that bacteria have the potential to remain viable and metabolically active at low temperatures for hundreds to thousands of years," said Redeker. "The next step is to look further down to see if we can observe active bacteria deep in the ice caps," "Microbial metabolism directly affects trace gases in (sub) polar snowpacks" is published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Geoscientists compare micro-organisms in the polar regions
More information: Microbial metabolism directly affects trace gases in (Sub) Polar snowpacks. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. ISSN 1742-5662 (In Press)

Journal reference: Journal of the Royal Society Interface [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of York

Read more at:

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - EA - 01-01-2018

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars.

Granted,there has been major progress.
Taken for what itz worth.
Gnosis!   LilD
[Image: E7NB53P.jpg]

[Image: CQV2fY1.jpg]Eye Am astonished!

Whatz under the "Poof-Dust"???

[Image: 0zabt2zbr6ly.jpg]

[Image: sphinx2-5.jpg]

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - rhw007 - 01-02-2018

Mystery Surrounds Why Four Nations Launch Rockets in Four Days

Paul Seaburn December 29, 2017

It’s been barely a week since the government released two UFO videos … that’s more than enough time to start connecting this “disclosure” to other events/dots that are strange, government-or-military-related and potentially linked to space travel, UFOs and government cover-ups. Just such a confluence of incidents occurred over the past week when the US, Russia, China and Japan all launched rockets during a brief four-day period. All were reportedly carrying satellites and some had unusual circumstances surrounding them. Let’s start connecting.

Credit for noticing the four launches in four days goes to the folks at UFO Sightings Hotspot, who think the satellite payloads means that ““Something” Is Being Monitored In Space!” That’s obvious, but what? And why four different programs?

[Image: spacex-570x410.jpg]
A previous SpaceX launch

The US. launch was the iconic and infamous SpaceX launch of a completely recycled two-stage Falcon 9 booster from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on December 22 11:27 p.m. EST (8:27 p.m. local California time). This was the launch that launched 10 more Iridium Next satellites and thousands of UFO sighing calls as the rocket blazed a condom-shaped trail across the evening sky. The Iridium satellite constellation consists of over 60 active satellites covering the entire planet to provide worldwide voice and data communication. While this historic launch caused quite a stir, it doesn’t appear to be unusual.

[Image: TANEGASHIMA-570x428.jpg]

On the same day, Japan had its own unusual launch from the Tanegashima Space Center. One H-2A rocket released satellites in two different orbits by first putting a Shikisai climate monitoring satellite into a polar orbit around 500 miles (800 km), then reigniting twice and dropping a demonstration satellite in a lower orbit between 280 and 400 miles (450-643 km). Spaceflight Now reported that the Japanese launch occurred just 72 seconds before the SpaceX liftoff – the shortest interval between two successful launches in history. Coincidence or intentional?

Just four days later, China launched remote sensing satellites on a Long March-2C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Chinese media reports the satellites will conduct electromagnetic environmental probes and other experiments. However, Spaceflight Insider points out that China has been very secretive about other launches in what is called the Yaogan-30 project and most experts believe it’s a secret military project.

[Image: cosmodrome-570x380.jpg]
A previous Baikonur Cosmodrome launch

That brings us to the Russian launches. The Russian space agency Roscomos launched a rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying Angola’s first-ever telecommunications satellite late on December 26th, but announced it had lost contact with it shortly after it entered orbit.

However, the other Russian launch on December 26th was successful. Russian media reported that “the Strategic Missile Forces from the State Central Inter-Specific Test Site Kapustin Yar in the Astrakhan Region conducted a test launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile” to test “the prospective combat equipment of intercontinental ballistic missiles” and help in “developing effective means of overcoming missile defense.” Uh-oh. This is the missile launch that prompted UFO reports in Russia and Austria. Was this nighttime launch meant to call attention to it, compete with the SpaceX launch or generate UFO calls to cover up its real purpose?

Four nations, five (or possibly six, depending on how you count Japan’s) rocket/missile launches in four days, two causing UFO calls, two (or perhaps all) very secretive.

IS something going on?


Bob... Ninja Alien2

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - rhw007 - 01-02-2018

(12-28-2017, 10:47 AM)The Watcher Wrote: He is really going to land there?

Yes he IS and he is trying it THIS YEAR and likely THIS MONTH !!

Acquisition date
02 October 2017

Local Mars time:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)


Only he's about 100 degrees longitude West of Cydonia; so he can build a BIG CITY and with electric or nuclear Rovers he can INSPECT CYDONIA well BEFORE No Astronauts Sailing Around w Joking Poking Liars until 2030 at the EARLIEST and they HATE Cydonia while Elon LOVES IT Luv 

There are other images a little bit closer to Cydonia that are like only 50 degrees West of Cydonia.

So YES he IS going to have people ON MARS well before the Never Anytime Scan Anomalously/ Just Plain Laydown low-down Deep State Critters get there.

So no MORE saying we have to NUKE Mars to make an atmosphere--there are better ways to do that !!!

Also if he makes it this year there is no way for New Accounting Steps Allover to be SHAMED INTO :


S   P   R   E   A    D            I    T           E      V     E     R     Y     W     H     E     R     E  

Bob... Ninja Alien2

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - The Watcher - 01-03-2018

That is some really good news.

RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - EA - 01-05-2018

Quote:It happens that Fries will have a chance to test the hypothesis. On 24 January, Mars will have a close brush—less than a tenth of the Earth-moon distance—with the orbit of comet C/2007 H2 Skiff.
Mumma is skeptical about Fries's idea, but he will nevertheless be watching for methane with his telescope in Hawaii in the days after the encounter. The MAVEN and Curiosity teams also plan to watch. "This is a great opportunity to test this hypothesis," Crismani says.
the break-up of the comet C/2007 H2 Skiff?... The idea of fortuitous cometary debris Arrow read more:

On Mars, atmospheric methane—a sign of life on Earth—changes mysteriously with the seasons
By Eric HandJan. 3, 2018 , 4:52 PM

[Image: ca_0105NID_Curiosity_online.jpg?itok=t9IYDEsa]
During its 5-year sojourn on Mars, the Curiosity rover has repeatedly sniffed the air for methane.


From the pasture to the swamp, methane emissions on Earth are the effluvia of life. So what are whiffs of the gas doing on barren Mars? Trace detections of the stuff, alongside glimpses of larger spikes, have fueled debates about biological and nonbiological sources of the gas. Last month, at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in New Orleans, Louisiana, NASA scientists announced a new twist in the tale: a seasonal cycle in the abundance of martian methane, which regularly rises to a peak in late northern summer.
"The thing that's so shocking here is this large variation," said Chris Webster, who leads the methane-sensing instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover. "We're left trying to imagine how we can create this seasonal variation," says Webster, who is at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
It is a variation on a very faint theme. Since landing in 2012, Curiosity has on 30 occasions opened a few valves to the martian night and taken a sniff of the thin, frigid air. In a small, mirrored chamber, it shines a laser through the air sample and measures the absorption at specific wavelengths that indicate methane. At the meeting, Webster reported vanishingly small background levels of the gas: 0.4 parts per billion (ppb), compared with Earth's 1800 ppb.
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Where that whiff comes from is the heart of the mystery. Microbes (including those that live in the guts of cows and sheep) are responsible for most of Earth's methane, and Mars's could conceivably come from microbes as well—either contemporary microbes or ancient ones, if the methane they produced was trapped underground. But methane can also be made in ways that have nothing to do with biology. Hydrothermal reactions with olivine-rich rocks underground can generate it, as can reactions driven by ultraviolet (UV) light striking the carbon-containing meteoroids and dust that constantly rain down on the planet from space.
Now, add to the methane puzzle the seasonal variation Curiosity has detected, with levels cycling between about 0.3 ppb and 0.7 ppb over more than two martian years. Some seasonality is expected in an atmosphere that is mostly carbon dioxide (CO2), says François Forget, who models the climate of Mars at the Laboratory of Dynamical Meteorology in Paris. In the southern winter, some of that CO2 freezes out onto the large southern polar cap, making the overall atmosphere thinner. That boosts the concentration of any residual methane, which doesn't freeze, and by the end of northern summer this methane-enriched air makes its way north to Curiosity's location, Forget says. Seasonal variations in dust storms and levels of UV light could also affect the abundance of methane, if interplanetary dust is its primary source.
But, Webster said at the meeting, the seasonal signal is some three times larger than those mechanisms could explain. Maybe the methane—whatever its source—is absorbed and released from pores in surface rocks at rates that depend on temperature, he said. Another explanation, "one that no one talks about but is in the back of everyone's mind," is biological activity, says Mike Mumma, a planetary scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "You'd expect life to be seasonal."
The seasonal wiggles are a mystery within a larger mystery: claims of occasional methane spikes an order of magnitude or two higher than the background. Mumma and his colleagues reported one of the largest in 2009, when they detected spectral signs of a 45-ppb methane plume through a telescope in Hawaii. Curiosity, too, has detected a handful of spikes, to about 7 ppb. For these events, Webster favors the idea of a sudden release from a deep underground source.
Other scientists are looking skyward. Marc Fries, the cosmic dust curator at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, says the source of methane spikes could be the hail of tiny meteors that falls when a planet crosses a comet's orbit and sweeps up carbon-rich dust and debris shed by the comet. Fries says that as the dust particles vaporize at altitudes of tens of kilometers, the same chemical reaction that produces methane from interplanetary dust at the surface would take place more quickly, driven by the stronger UV light at high altitudes. All the claimed methane spikes over the past 2 decades occurred within about 2 weeks of a known martian meteor shower, Fries and his colleagues found. "It could be a cause, and it could be a coincidence," he says.
Skeptics say the atmospheric reactions may not occur quickly enough and that meteor showers don't deposit much more material than the background flux of interplanetary dust. In 2014, when Mars nearly collided with comet Siding Spring, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft was watching, monitoring magnesium ions as a proxy for dust dumped in the upper atmosphere. The MAVEN team reckons the encounter put 16 tons of material into the martian atmosphere—not much more than the 3 tons of interplanetary dust estimated to fall daily, and much less than the tens of thousands of tons that Fries says are needed to make a large methane plume. "I don't see how it's possible to produce the methane abundance he needs," says Matteo Crismani, a MAVEN science team member and postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. But Fries contends that meteor showers are highly variable, and just because the Siding Spring encounter was close does not mean it was rich in dust and debris.
It happens that Fries will have a chance to test the hypothesis. On 24 January, Mars will have a close brush—less than a tenth of the Earth-moon distance—with the orbit of comet C/2007 H2 Skiff. Mumma is skeptical about Fries's idea, but he will nevertheless be watching for methane with his telescope in Hawaii in the days after the encounter. The MAVEN and Curiosity teams also plan to watch. "This is a great opportunity to test this hypothesis," Crismani says.
One spacecraft won't quite be ready to participate—even though it is best positioned overall to resolve the methane debate. In April, the European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) will settle into its final orbit and begin science observations, mapping concentrations of methane across the planet. Atmospheric dust will probably prevent the orbiter from reaching its originally advertised sensitivity of several tens of parts per trillion, says Geronimo Villanueva, a science team member at Goddard. But he expects the TGO to approach Curiosity's sensitivity—and its ability to hunt for methane sources in space and time will be unrivaled. The "TGO will allow us to search for this molecule with new eyes," he says.
Posted in: doi:10.1126/science.aas9070

Quote:Fries and his colleagues claim that an especially good case can be made for the large methane plume observed by Michael Mumma of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the northern Martian summer of 2003, which, according to the authors, is consistent with the break-up of the comet C/2007 H2 Skiff. The idea that Martian methane comes from cometary debris rather than the planet’s own chemistry might also explain why the methane vanishes much more rapidly than expected—by a factor of about 100—if it were due to other processes.


RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - deo - 01-11-2018


Steep slopes on Mars reveal structure of buried ice

[Image: deepburiedgl.jpg]

Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars' surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes.

These eight scarps, with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, reveal new information about the internal layered structure of previously detected underground ice sheets in Mars' middle latitudes.

The ice was likely deposited as snow long ago. The deposits are exposed in cross section as relatively pure water ice, capped by a layer one to two yards (or meters) thick of ice-cemented rock and dust. They hold clues about Mars' climate history. They also may make frozen water more accessible than previously thought to future robotic or human exploration missions.

Researchers who located and studied the scarp sites with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on MRO reported the findings today in the journal Science. The sites are in both northern and southern hemispheres of Mars, at latitudes from about 55 to 58 degrees, equivalent on Earth to Scotland or the tip of South America.

"There is shallow ground ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface, which records the recent history of Mars," said the study's lead author, Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. "What we've seen here are cross-sections through the ice that give us a 3-D view with more detail than ever before."

Windows into underground ice

The scarps directly expose bright glimpses into vast underground ice previously detected with spectrometers on NASA's Mars Odyssey (MRO) orbiter, with ground-penetrating radar instruments on MRO and on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, and with observations of fresh impact craters that uncover subsurface ice. NASA sent the Phoenix lander to Mars in response to the Odyssey findings; in 2008, the Phoenix mission confirmed and analyzed the buried water ice at 68 degrees north latitude, about one-third of the way to the pole from the northernmost of the eight scarp sites.

The discovery reported today gives us surprising windows where we can see right into these thick underground sheets of ice," said Shane Byrne of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson, a co-author on today's report. "It's like having one of those ant farms where you can see through the glass on the side to learn about what's usually hidden beneath the ground."

Scientists have not determined how these particular scarps initially form. However, once the buried ice becomes exposed to Mars' atmosphere, a scarp likely grows wider and taller as it "retreats," due to sublimation of the ice directly from solid form into water vapor. At some of them, the exposed deposit of water ice is more than 100 yards, or meter, thick. Examination of some of the scarps with MRO's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) confirmed that the bright material is frozen water. A check of the surface temperature using Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera helped researchers determine they're not seeing just thin frost covering the ground.

Researchers previously used MRO's Shallow Radar (SHARAD) to map extensive underground water-ice sheets in middle latitudes of Mars and estimate that the top of the ice is less than about 10 yards beneath the ground surface. How much less? The radar method did not have sufficient resolution to say. The new ice-scarp studies confirm indications from fresh-crater and neutron-spectrometer observations that a layer rich in water ice begins within just one or two yards of the surface in some areas.

Astronauts' access to Martian water

The new study not only suggests that underground water ice lies under a thin covering over wide areas, it also identifies eight sites where ice is directly accessible, at latitudes with less hostile conditions than at Mars' polar ice caps. "Astronauts could essentially just go there with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need," Byrne said.

The exposed ice has scientific value apart from its potential resource value because it preserves evidence about long-term patterns in Mars' climate. The tilt of Mars' axis of rotation varies much more than Earth's, over rhythms of millions of years. Today the two planets' tilts are about the same. When Mars tilts more, climate conditions may favor buildup of middle-latitude ice. Dundas and co-authors say that banding and color variations apparent in some of the scarps suggest layers "possibly deposited with changes in the proportion of ice and dust under varying climate conditions."

This research benefited from coordinated use of multiple instruments on Mars orbiters, plus the longevities at Mars now exceeding 11 years for MRO and 16 years for Odyssey. Orbital observations will continue, but future missions to the surface could seek additional information.
"If you had a mission at one of these sites, sampling the layers going down the scarp, you could get a detailed climate history of Mars," suggested MRO Deputy Project Scientist Leslie Tamppari of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "It's part of the whole story of what happens to water on Mars over time: Where does it go? When does ice accumulate? When does it recede?"

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RE: Wish we had some new astonishing discoveries on Mars. - Vianova - 01-11-2018


Quote:There is shallow ground ice under roughly a third of the Martian surface,

a layer rich in water ice begins within just one or two yards of the surface in some areas.

Nothing in that article is a surprise.
It is excellent however to see the information and evidence confirm,
what we have been here saying for a decade now.

Those scarp faces are exposed to the extreme cold.
Many of the ice water deposits as you get further underground, 
may also be somewhat liquid. 

You can bet that Cydonia offers as much underground ice water as a multitude of potential sites on Mars.
But they won't go there.
Letting NASA determine the best spots is a free pass for them to avoid any potential of life, 
or potential of finding artificial constructs during explorations.