THE CANALS OF MARS

THE CANALS OF MARS

For the first billion years after it was formed, Mars, may have been covered by a thick blanket of carbon dioxide, which created a greenhouse effect that warmed the planet. Likewise, during this period Mars may have been covered with oceans, lakes and streams. And then, around 4 billion years ago, Mars was struck a mighty blow.

Martian River Channels and tributaries

When telescopes began to spy on Mars, scientists believed they might be looking at artifiically created canals fashioned by engineers. The illussion of water ways were first observed by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli during the opposition of 1877, and confirmed by later observers. Schiaparelli called these canali, which was translated into English as “canals.”

Schiaparelli’s drawings of Martian canali

Changes in the coloration of Mars made many wonder if vegatation was growing then retreating according to the seasons. Others wondered if there were a link between these changing colorations and the canals.

Schiaparelli’s drawings of Martian canali

Percival Lowell read about Schiaparelli’s canali. Lowell also knew there was speculation about Martian vegetation, and he became fascinated by the possibility of life on Mars. Lowell was a wealthy businessman, and although he had no formal training in astronomy he had the funds to build an observatory, and did so on a moutain near Flagstaff, Arizona, the Lowell Observatory. Lowell devoted the rest of his life to studying Mars and drew very detailed maps of his observations.

PLowell was convinced that Mars was a dying world whose inhabitants built a planet wide system of canals to transport water from the polar icecaps to the warmer equatorial regions where advance civilizations had erected great cities. Although many scientists disputed his conclusions, Lowell’s ideas captured the public imagination.

Alfred Russel Wallace was a well known scientist whose theories of “natural selection” had been plagierized by Darwin. Wallace disputed Lowell’s claims in a scientiific treatise he published in 1907, Is Mars Habitable? Wallace analysed all available data and demonstrated that the surface of Mars was much colder than Lowell had estimated. Further, the atmospheric pressure was too low for liquid water to exist on the surface. Wallace also reported that efforts to find evidence of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere with spectroscopic analysis had failed. He concluded that complex life on Mars was impossible, let alone the planet -wide irrigation system championed by Lowell.

Wallace’s analysis proved correct. In 1965, Mariner 4 took the first close up pictures of Mars revealing numerous impact craters and a generally barren landscape devoid of any semblance of canals. However, the planet was not without water.

WATER DISCOVERED ON MARS

Photographs taken by Mariner 9 provided considerable evidence that water had flowed across the surface of the Red Planet. Moreover, the polar ice caps were growing and shrinking accrding ot the seasons, suggesting they contained frozen seas. Clouds were spied drifting across the Martians skies; clouds that might contain water.

It has long been believed that the planet’s polar caps contain frozen water. Astonomers have suspected as much since the 1800s. This has since been confirmed based on direct and indirect methods such as analysis of temperature data or the detection of traces of hydrogen. In 2001, NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft discovered vast amounts of frozen water in the northern and southern latitudes, and lots of ice mixed with the soil.

In 2004 Europe’s Mars orbiter also found water ice on the Red Planet’s surface. The discovery was based on analysis of vapors of water molecules detected by the infrared camera aboard the Mars Express spacecraft which was circling the Red Planet’s south pole.

Orbiting spacecraft have also photographed what appear to be dry lake beds and sinuous channels, ancient coastlines and other landscapes that could have been shaped by oceans of running water and the meandering flow of rivers.

Frozen lakes of water discovered by The European Space Agency Mars orbiter

In 2006, NASA sent twin rovers to opposite sides of Mars. The Spirit, rover set down in Gusev Crater a four-billion-year-old crater the size of Connecticut which is littered with rocks of all sizes. A channel cuts through the crater. Long ago this channel may have been a river which dumped water and sediments into what could have been a lake formed by Gusav Crater.

The Opportunity rover landed at Meridiani Planum, which is flat, almost featureless, and blanketed with a fine-grained red soil and dark pebbles. Meridiani Planum also contains gray hematite, an iron oxide mineral that is typically, formed in the presence of water.

The Opportunity overshot its target, landing in a shallow 72-foot-wide crater near an outcrop of finely layered bedrock 25 feet away. Measuments of thermal emissions identified an iron oxide on the surface of the bedrock. On Earth iron oxide typically forms in the presence of water.

Meridiani Planum outcrop rocks on the margins of “Erebus Crater” displaying well-preserved, fine-scale layering cross-laminations and ripples normally created by water.

Examing the rock with a magnifying glass the Opportunity identified structures known as “festoons.” These geometric patterns imply the presence of small, sinuous sand ripples that form only in water on Earth. Festoons form when water flows over the surface depositing grains and tiny rocks in ripple formations. The rock outcrop had obviously been soaked in running water.Opportunity also found a high concentration of sulfur with its X- ray Moessbauer spectrometer, including a hydrated iron-sulfate mineral called jarosite. The presence of jarosite suggests that the outcrop may have been part of an acidic lake or hot springs. Likewise, the Mars rover, Spirit dug up additional evidence of water, i.e. the residue of sulfur and magnesium in a trench it had dug in the Gusev Crater.

On Earth a microbe known as desulfotomaculum, uses sulfur as its energy source. It can form spores, become dormant, and hibernate depending on changes in the Martian environment. Thus, sulphur eating microbes could well continue to flourish deep beneath the Martian soil.

The Opportunity also discovered an astounding amount of salt within the rocks, which could only be the residue of an ancient salt water lake or sea. Apparently the rocky outcrop and surrounding area was once the shoreline of a salty sea, perhaps surrounded by hot springs.

On Earth, innumerable microbes thrive in salty environments, inlcuding halophiles which are represented in all three primary domains of life — Bacteria, Eukarya and Archaea. And not just miucrobes, but animals such as shrimp. That suggests the genes responsible for these traits which make it possible to thrive in salt, appeared in multiple domains of life–and this would be possible if these genes were inherited.

Salt also lowers the freezing temperature of water. The average global temperature on Mars, is minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (-53 C). Salt water beneath the surface, would not only be warmer, but remain in liquid form even at temperatures below freezing. Further, even as concentration of salt grow larger as the water boiled away, turned to mist or sank beneath the surface, innumerable creatures could flourish within the increasing briny water. Thus, even on modern day Mars, complex life may flourish beneth the surface.

In fact, the current atmosphere of Mars is comparable to the Earth 3.7 million years ago. (M. Lammer et al.,m Martian atmospheric Evolution. In G. Horneck & C. Baumstark-Khan. Astrobiology, Springer, 2002).; a time period during which single celled prokaryote life on Earth had already become well established. In fact, by 3,8 BYA complex eukaryotic life, had left their fossilized photosynthesizing signatures in Earthly rocks.

Microscopic image of HematiteSpheres as seen by the Opportunity rover.

The Opportunity also photographed small round stones, which appear to be hematite, an oxide of iron. Hematite is produced biologically. On earth, hematite is a waste product produced by a common species of bacteria, shewanella. In the absence of oxygen shewanella metabolizes minerals such as iron, and excretes hematite. When exposed to large amounts of water, a spherical ball begins to form and pops out onto the surface after considerable water erosion. However, these round Martian balls were found not only on the crater floor, which may have once been filled with water, but on the soil above the outcrop of the crater. Unless these balls rolled up hills, this indicates a biological source. The only other creatures on Earth which creates similar spherical balls and which lives around large bodies of water, are crabs. Crabs are ancient and can live even at the bottom of the frigid ocean beneath thousands of pounds of pressure. However, they first crawled forth from the sea hundreds of millions of years ago–a time period when oceans may have splashed across the surface of Mars.

Thus it is now apparent that Mars had been a very wet planet, which long ago was criss crossed with oceans, lakes, rivers and streams. And where there is water, there is life.

ANCIENT MARS WAS A WET PLANET

Mars, in fact, at one time in its ancient past, had all the necessities for the evolution and metamorphosis of complex multi-cellular life. This includes water and an atmosphere which may have contained high concentrations of carbon dioxide and some oxygen. The atmospheres of Mars would have provided a heat-trapping greenhouse cover and shield the planet from deadly UV rays.

Like the Earth, Mars was created from the debris and shattered planet that had orbited the parent Star. Both planets underwent a heavy bombardment by meteors, asteroids,and comets, for the first 700 million years after they were first formed.

Thus like the Earth, Mars must have been repeatedly contaminated with alien life embedded in that debris. However, unlike the Earth, Mars is a much smaller target, being only half as wide and with only one-tenth its mass. Thus, the consequences of this bombardment may have been much less destructive–at least until struck by that planet-side body around 4 billion years ago which may have stripped Mars of its atmospheric shield.

Plate tectonics appears to have been absent on Mars, creating a different type of atmospheric chemistry as compared to the Earth which was initially belching forth toxic gasses. Also, being smaller in size, oxygen and other gasses excreted by microbes and photosynthesizing creatures, would have more quickly flooded and made up a greater proportion of the Martian atmosphere, thus creating a life sustaining environment for complex creatures, at a much earlier age than the Earth which was constantly belching forth toxic gasses.

WHAT BECAME OF THE MARTIAN ATMOSPHERE & MAGNETIC FIELD?

When Mars was young it also had a protective magnetosphere which protected the planet and its atmosphere from the sun’s solar winds. This enabled its biologically produced atmosphere to remain tethered to the planet. The presence of an ancient magnetosphere was confirmed in 1997, when the Mars Global Surveyor, detected surface magnetic anomalies indicting the existence of a strong ancient Martian magnetic field. Scientists determined that the original magnetic field of Mars may have been anywhere from-10% to 100% of modern Earth.

The magnetic field would have made it possible for complex creatures to take root and flourish on Mars. On Earth the magnetic field creates a magnetosphere which protects the planet from the sun’s solar winds which are sufficiently powerful that they can blow away a planet’s atmosphere.

Thus, because Mars had a magnetic field, the sun’s solar winds would have been blocked and its atmosphere would have remained bound to the planet. Being so much smaller than the Earth, Mars would have more quickly developed and maintained a biologically produced atmosphere that would enable even more complex life forms to diversify.

The Earth’s Magnetic Field

Therefore, although life may have gained a foothold on both planets at the same time, Mars may have initially provided a much more inviting environment for life to flourish . Thus, whereas there is evidence of multicellular photosynthesizing life on Earth around 3.8 bya, similar forms of life may have already conquered Mars hundreds of millions of years earlier.

Mars Lost its Magnetic Field

However, the Martian magnetic field disappeared around between 3.9 to 3.7 billion years ago. And then the planet began to die.

MARS STRUCK BY A MOON-SIZED ASTEROID

Mars was repeatedly traumatized by bombardments of meteors, asteroids, and comets during its early history. Like the Earth, Uranus, and Mercury, around 4 billion years ago Mars was also struck by a planet-sized wayward world, possibly by a rogue planet that had been expelled from the solar system of the parent star prior to supernova. It is this cosmic catastrophe, this titanic collision which may have irrevocably altered the planet’s magnetic field and magnetosphere –and with the loss of this protective shield, Mars also lost its oceans and atmosphere and became a cold and desolate world.

This planet-sized body struck at an angle of between 30 and 60 degrees (Nimmo, et al. ) gutting the northern plains of Mars and leaving an elliptical depression 6,600 miles long and 4,000 miles wide (Andrews-Hanna et al. 2008). A catastrophic collision would explain why Mars is lopsided. In fact, the northern plains have a thin crust are two miles lower than the southern highlands, which covers almost two-thirds of the planet.The collision may have been a catastrophe for any complex life forms which had taken root on the planet. It is possibly this impact which nearly eliminated the Martian magnetic field allowing the sun’s solar winds to strip away its atmosphere, taking with it water molecules and thus oceans of water. Because Mars now has an exceedingly week magnetic field, its atmospheres continually bleed away into space. Likewise, when that titanic object or objects struck Mars, some of its oceans may have been vaporized. Other bodies of water would begin to boil off with the loss of its atmosphere which protected the planet from the full force of the sun’s UV rays, like a helmet. Much of the planet’s water began to disappear.

Thus, by 3,5 billion years ago, its magnetic field had almost completely disappeared, the planet was bathed in UV rays, its oceans, lakes, and streams had evaporated, froze, or seeped beneath the ground, and its oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere was absorbed into rocks or sucked into space propelled by the sun’s solar winds.

Mars became cold, with whatever water remaining at ground level turning to permafrost or disappearing into the depths of the red planet. The planet became so hostile to complex life, that it would have most likely completely died out.

However, that does not mean that Mars today, is lifeless.

In fact, the current atmosphere of Mars is comparable to the Earth 3.7 million years ago. (M. Lammer et al.,m Martian atmospheric Evolution. In G. Horneck & C. Baumstark-Khan. Astrobiology, Springer, 2002).; a time period during which single celled prokaryote and even more complex eukaryotic life on Earth had already become well established. In fact, by 3,8 BYA complex eukaryotic life, had left their fossilized photosynthesizing signatures in Earthly rocks. This means, complex single celled microbial life may still flourish on the red planet.

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About bruceleeeowe
An engineering student and independent researcher. I'm researching and studying quantum physics(field theories). Also searching for alien life.

5 Responses to THE CANALS OF MARS

  1. Hello Bruceleeeowe’s Blog,

    I am sending a news release regarding Earth’s magnetic field that you can use on your blog. Please consider using it. You can find images on my website.

    Dennis

    CRAM SCHOOL

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Dennis Brooks
    Phone: 1-808-566-0654
    Email: dennisbroo@gmail.com

    Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Produced By An External Dynamo System, Not An Internal Dynamo.

    Researcher finds that Earth’s magnetic field is not produced by an internal dynamo. Nor is it produced by ocean current. The dynamo is outside the Planet! New findings by independent researcher, Dennis Brooks, show that Earth’s magnetic field and the planet itself are components of a complex dynamo system, which surrounds the planet. The planet and its magnetic field are part of the dynamo.

    According to this new theory, no internal dynamo or ocean current helps in producing or maintaining the magnetic field because other planets with magnetic fields do not have ocean currents or iron cores.

    Image by NASA

    Each planet does not have a unique way of producing its magnetic field. The magnetic field of each planet is produced by a planetary dynamo system and its ring current.

    For many years researchers thought that a similar dynamo system was within the planet and that this internal dynamo generated the magnetic field. However, we know now that it is too hot inside the planet to produce and maintain a magnetic field there.

    The planetary dynamo system is composed of a magnetosphere, the planet, the magnetic field, radiation belts, ring current, and charged particles from the solar wind. The planet is the central component of the system and its rotation plays an important part in operating the dynamo and generating ring current. The magnetic field is generated by the system’s ring current, which is made up of charged particles. The magnetic field captures even more charged particles and brings them into the dynamo system as fuel. Everything works together.

    Earth’s inner and outer core simply cannot provide the fuel a dynamo system needs. If earth’s dynamo had to depend on energy from the planet for fuel, the entire planet would have been completely consumed many years ago.

    To learn more about Earth’s magnetic field, Visit
    http://sites.google.com/site/earthsmagneticfield/

  2. bruceleeeowe says:

    Ok, Dennis I find your theory interesting and I. really liked it. i will publish your theory regarding earth’s magnetic field in my weekend post. really good work. keep it up. Here is another link. you can check it http://hasanuddin.org. I THINK YOU LIKe it too.

  3. Emesype says:

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  4. Hi great article thanks for sharing. how and in which way are Mars-Pluto transits similar or different than Mars- Mars transits in Astrology?
    Proactive

  5. Pingback: Mars Mysteries and Need of Human Exploration « WeirdSciences

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