What’s Wrong with NASA: Evidences of Life on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus?

By J.P. Skipper

This is my first report for what I suspect will be a landmark year 2012 in this field. Remember that by the end of this year (December) the old is suppose to come to an end and something new begins for Earth, at least as far as the ancient Mayan calendar and various prophets with decent track records are concerned. I can’t say for sure on that but during the meantime, just in case I’m going to get a little more speculative in some of my reporting where I think it is appropriate and it starts with this report.

The above 1st black and white image was taken by the Cassini spacecraft of the southern region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus that periodically sprays out jets or plumes of heated water that quickly freezes to ice in space as you see it doing here. Enceladus is a moon in Saturn’s rings. The current science thinking is that Saturn’s rings are made up of water ice and rock debris of all different sizes as well as a number of moons and dwarf planets held in orbit by huge Saturn’s tremendous gravity well.

The official thinking is that a comet of water ice plowed into Saturn’s orbit some time in the ancient past and, before busting up completely, it may have impacted one or more of Saturn’s moons and/or asteroids in that ancient time generating the rings full of rock debris and water ice held in orbit by Saturn’s tremendous gravity. Enceladus is only the sixth largest of Saturn’s moons with a diameter of 500 km or 310 miles and only 10% the size of the largest moon Titan.

Despite its smaller size, Enceladus is one of the brightest objects in our sky. The thinking on the reason for that is that Enceladus’ surface appears to be made up of a lot of water ice that is of course white in color and highly reflective in sunlight. It should be noted that this moon is located in the densest part of Saturn’s relatively diffuse “E” ring. There is speculation that Enceladus’ water ice outpouring is responsible for much of the density of the “E” ring. Do remember that piece of information because it will become increasingly more important in this reporting.

Note in the above 1st image that the main water jets or plumes appear to stretch in ragged lines of subtle brightness from the lighted edge areas of Enceladus back into the darker areas of the moon’s surface. This suggests that the strongest sprays do indeed come from fissures or cracks in the surface there in this southern region.

The official text in the NASA Photojournal notes that the above image is a mosaic created from two Cassini raw images. The current science thinking is that these are heated water/ice jets originating from deeper down below Enceladus’ surface spraying through fissures in the surface and then quickly freezing to ice in open space. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it.

Most of these fissures are located in the so called “Tiger Stripes” area at Enceladus’ south polar region. These tiger stripes are nothing more than visible fissures (cracks) and, as you can see, the above jet evidence in the darker area tends to support this theory. Now let’s take a closer look at these water venting fissure or tiger stripe sites in the next two images below.

Tiger stripe fissures in Southern pole( http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06247)

The above 2nd image is a NASA Photojournal PIA06247 shot taken on 7/14/2005 of a large portion of Enceladus’ south polar region and the tiger stripe features area. The official text says that this image is 1,024 pixels wide and that the image scale is 122 meters or 400 feet per pixel. You do the math if you would like to arrive at the scale.

Meanwhile, please note that despite the wide area view, there are no impact craters in the above scene, only ridges, topography buckling, and fissures. Remember that Enceladus is in Saturn’s rings that might generate a bunch of rock missiles, so this tells us that this terrain is relatively young and fairly recently formed even if it isn’t currently jetting water. That suggests that this terrain is mostly water ice that forms into a self leveling liquid or semi-liquid frozen soil mixed mud and then refreezes back eventually into the newer terrain patterns you see here.


The above 3rd image is a much closer Cassini PIA11127 shot taken on 10/31/2008 over 3 years later. It provides a closer view of the same type of topography in the south polar or tiger stripe region.

As you can see, this is some seriously rough topography but again no impact craters in it. In theory the largest fissures or canyons you see there are the source of water/ice jets. Remember now that the current prevailing science theory is that deeper underground water periodically heats up due to Saturn’s tremendous gravitational influence and expands upward and spewing out into space via the jets or plumes through these largest fissures where it quickly freezes into ice particles and becomes part of Saturn’s diffuse E-ring.

That science speculation tends to suggest that what we are looking at here in the 3rd image may be at least in part soil and rock geology over a subterranean water base and the largest fissures are the escape valves area for the heated rising water as it takes the path of least resistance upward through the largest deep fissures. Again the above 3rd image tends to support this theory. However, now take a look at next two images below and their newer 2010 evidence?

Waves radiating from many central points suggesting liquid surface( http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/raw/rawimagedetails/index.cfm?imageID=228082)

The above 4th and 5th images are the best of their kind and based on the Cassini raw W00065512 image taken more recently on 9/22/2010 of Saturn’s moon Enceladus’ surface. The 4th image is of the general scene at 100% of the original and the 5th image is of the darker lower left quadrant of the general image blown up 200% of the original. The distance is suppose to be 248,565 km or 154,450 miles from the Cassini spacecraft to Enceladus here but it appears to me to be a whole lot closer than that. Further, there appears to have been some manipulation of this W00065512 image.

For example, the original official raw image strip the above 4th and 5th images are drawn from is physically taller and deeper down than the 4th and 5th images I am showing here. I’ve cropped out that bottom dark area because there is nothing in it to see other than dark blankness. One might think that it’s space but it isn’t, it’s just blank substitution.

Because of that, one might think that the W00065512 image view catches the outer edge of Enceladus but that isn’t the case either. I suspect something may have been there in the closer shot in the bottom area of the strip between Enceladus and the Cassini camera that has been removed by basically removing everything in that bottom area of the strip. In my imaging here I’ve left just a little of this at the bottom of both of the above 4th and 5th images for you to see.

Likewise, note the tiny bright specks in the bottom area of the above blown up 200% 5th image. Those bright specks are important. If you saw these bright specks against a dark space background (and you will see that in other images below) rather than against a small world, you would naturally assume that they are stars but most of them aren’t. The tip off is that all of these kind of “stars” are the same size and light intensity. In the case of the Cassini probe, such specks are for the most part residual empty pixels where something has been removed from the image. The proof is that when the image is blown up and enough contrast is added, a collection of image artifacts clustering around these specks revealing this truth can be seen. Tricky isn’t it.

I’m going to suggest that what we are looking at in the above 4th and 5th images is that rough Enceladus terrain in the 2nd and 3rd images being melted into a self leveling fluid soil nd water slurry mixture and each of those different size spots with apparent wave rings radiating out from the center of each one are bubbles of various sizes formed by heated water below rising to the surface in preparation of the next coming water jet event.

It’s similar to water just beginning to boil in a pot of soil and water mixture otherwise known as mud. Note that the fluid is not pouring out from fissures here but heating up from below and melting the entire surface area. This suggests that there may be no hard land surface here at all, just a water/soil mud like consistency on the surface just beginning in more advanced stages to do its water jet/plume thing shortly as would mud if over heated in a pot.

So we’ve learned something about Enceladus’ geology in that regard thanks to the Cassini imaging. However, let’s get back to those tiny bright specks that are in my opinion where some objects have been digitally extracted from the scene.

Note that they are between us and the Enceladus surface, so they can’t be claimed to be stars in space, although they could be claimed to be reflective rocks or ice masses within Saturn’s rings. If so, then why would someone go to all the trouble and expense to remove evidence that isn’t really anomalous? I suspect and speculate that this actually closer view of the Enceladus surface was included in the official record to record this very important and informative geological jetting event starting to unfold for the scientists. However, in doing so, the closer view also revealed objects on a closer larger scale between Enceladus and the Cassini camera with enough resolution to reveal what they may really be and that it is LIFE.

Objects that someone doesn’t want us or the scientists in general and especially those involved in the Cassini mission to know about. No I’m not talking about space ship objects here, it is actually more incredible than that. What I am talking about is biological life itself. Biological life that can live in space but which often remains within range of these Enceladus jetting events and/or within at least the “E” ring of Saturn and its diffuse E-ring water ice resource.

Life that can gather and retain water ice within itself in the rings both as a resource in supporting organic life and to provide self generated power for that life. Further, it also shares some similarities to the bioluminescence organism life in the deepest darkest part of our Earth oceans where bioluminescence in the intense darkness comes in very handy. An adaptation that it shares for the same reasons in the blackness of space. In other words, where there is a need, life often finds a way.

I suspect it is herding or more appropriately schooling space life that is beginning to congregate above and getting ready to take advantage of the upcoming Enceladus water jet resource event shown just beginning to form in the 4th and 5th images here. Life such as that in the following images.

I suspect the only reason that this W00065512 image made it into the official record is because it is geologically important as to the water jets and because cropping off the bottom of the image did away with views too close of denser and more recognizable concentrations of this life against the Enceladus background and the few objects still left in the image shown could be removed individually without drawing much attention to this obfuscation tactic.

The above 6th and 7th images are two separate Cassini N00164016 and N00164015 raw images, both taken on 10/4/2010, that demonstrates these objects against against a space background. Although they are from two separate images, note that one is closer than the other. Also note that they are both of the same scene but with subtle differences. For example, note that the orientation of the objects is the reverse of each other and there has also been some subtle changes changes in the background.

Please also note that this change in orientation is not the result of a flipping of the image, only a change limited to the object’s and their orientation. All of these factors combine as evidence strongly suggesting that these objects are real and not imaging artifacts of any kind. Now note in this 7th image the closer view all those “stars” in the background. Note how many there are and their general uniformity in size and light intensity quite contrary to natural stars that would be of different sizes and intensity.

Not quite all but most of this evidence is not stars at all but the empty pixels where something has been extracted from the image during processing. Now if that is true, think now many there are of what ever has been removed from this scene. Despite their more distant appearance due to their smaller size, I suspect that these empty pixels represent closer to the camera views of these same objects that might have provided a stronger recognition factor raising the suspicion even among conformity influenced scientists that they may be looking at life here and opening that door in their thinking.

However, there are yet other factors to consider. For example, note the uniformity of size and length of the objects that we can still see here even after the obfuscation work. This level of uniformity is typical of life all deriving from the same genetic code building blocks. At the same time, this is not typical of rock and soil or ice mass geology in Saturn’s rings. For example, it is well known that the rings are made up of particles from the size of mere specks to the size of large homes and larger. That kind of variance is not represented here in these anomalous bright objects.

Water is without a doubt the enabling factor here both in the form of liquid and ice. Consider this, water is a combination of H20. Both hydrogen and oxygen individually or together can be used as sources of power not to mention constituting the body fluids of living tissue. It is within the realm of reason that some life forms originating in a water environment originally could over time evolve and develop into self propelling their way via expenditure of that power in nearby space and through out Saturn’s rings harvesting water ice in the thinner material as they go and those within range returning to these great Enceladus liquid water jetting events cruising through the water plumes to take on larger more satisfying loads.

It is also within reason that such creatures starting out life in water depths without sunlight and in complete darkness under an mud top surface frozen cover would likely develop bioluminescence in order to communicate with others of its kind, find mates, compensate for freezing space conditions, and deal with predators just as we see in the deepest darkest parts of our Earth oceans. As they evolve to live out of the water, they just exchange one form of swimming for another.

The above 8th image is drawn from yet another Cassini N00163969 raw image. I’ve included it here just so that you can see more evidence of the objects against a space only background and to demonstrate that this kind of evidence is typical in the Cassini imaging near Enceladus and within Saturn’s rings. Note once again the objects and their different light producing effect from object to object. Note also the great many “stars” in the background that, if they are life extracted from the scene, may be evidence of immense schools of these creatures and just how numerous they really are in “empty” space.

The above 9th image is just a section of the 8th image blown up 400% to demonstrate the “stars” in the background. Although you can also see the dimmer always present noise artifacts in this background, note how the brighter “artifacts” cluster around the “stars” that are actually empty pixels left behind when something was extracted from the image at these many points. Now look back at the 7th, 8th and 9th (below) images and think about how numerous these are. This is what happens when a location in a digital image is disturbed by subsequent spot specific manipulation.

The above 10th image evidence is drawn from yet another Cassini N00163126 raw image. I believe that it demonstrates the objects straightened out and underway all in the same direction like a school of fish. Again, note that some are generating an inner light source and some are not. I believe that objects with a slight curve to them represents objects generally at rest even though they may or may not be completely stopped.

I suspect that objects straightened out as you see above indicates exerting power and underway. This factor implies that these objects are likely organic in their composition so typical of life. It also implies that they can change their shape to some extent.

The above final 11th image is a scene taken of Enceladus during a water jet event backlit by the Sun. It demonstrates a couple of things. First, it demonstrates the full extent of expansion into space of the water geyser event from the south polar region not adequately shown by the raw black and white imaging and just how extensive a deal it really is. Second, it shows the objects pointed out with the yellow arrows. Note that all of these are straightened out and likely underway going through this water plume event tending to back up my own speculations.

I know that all of this is a lot for some of you to take in including even some of you with more open minds. After all, how can something alive exist in the emptiness even vacuum of space?

The fact is that I first brought this possibility to you attention in my 2009 Report #170 because of the visual evidence. If this is truly life, then its behavior suggests an aquatic schooling origin like schooling fish and Enceladus may even be its ancestral home. Some of the visual evidence suggests even more complexity in that this life may be a cooperative schooling form that can also join with others of its kind cooperatively and change its over all visual appearance in the process.

Life in space, despite the human preconception against it, is not a new way out idea. For example, there is NASA’s own STS-75 The Tether incident where an electro dynamic tether to generate power in space experiment was deployed in space where nothing by conventional thinking should be able to live. Yet the tether broke off via an unexpected power surge and still producing power began to be surrounded by swarming “some things” that clearly appeared to be disc shaped living objects.

You could tell that the astronauts were stunned and initially at a loss for words just watching the swarming. When mission ground control broke in and asked what these things were, the reporting astronaut tried to pass it off as debris coming off of the spacecraft even though these large objects were at least 77 miles away and in movement behind the tether from the spacecraft camera. In other words, the objects were likely bigger than the spacecraft itself and could not possibly be “debris.”

In my opinion, the only thing that is hard to believe about this incident is the completely foolish human explanation with more obvious holes in it than a big hunk of swiss cheese. If the tether principle was really abandoned by NASA, it is more likely because its radiating power attracted too many life forms feeding on that power with unknown consequences.

Some and especially the most innocent scientists will no doubt scoff at this as the most ridiculous kind of speculation pointing out that the great majority of the science communities would love to make scientific history by discovering life on other worlds including even in space and that there is no chance that they would deny it to public consumption. Further, I would even agree with most of that in general.

However, what they are failing in their naivety to take into consideration is that space, UFOs, and alien research and exploration is also big business here on Earth building vast fortunes empowering those that have ascended to oligarchy world control status. They police their own and to fall from such exalted heights is too much of a horror for them to contemplate. Most in government and science are but mere employees of oligarchy choosing. Worse, they own all the most important communication pathways like the major media and they in a round about way control most of the military including military and civilian intelligence communities.

For example, if someone under their influence (and who isn’t) gets hold of an alien craft as crap happens for aliens just as it does for us. The technological gains that are its potential equates directly to world wide military advantage, money, and power. The same if someone under their influence gets hold of an alien or aliens or just negotiates in secret with them. For them, it’s all about wealth, power, and control and everything to that end is expedient.

As they see it, the double edge of the sword is that on one edge aliens and their advanced technology exists with its power potential drawing them with their focus on self like mindless flies to honey. Yet, on the other edge, is the potential for interference from populations that tend to be more idealistic and want to argue about right and wrong for all concerned. What the science community doesn’t seem to understand is that idealism and altruism are regarded by oligarchy as completely unrealistic and foolish and a waste of their time.

What the oligarchy knows is that admitting to any kind of life beyond the confines of Earth or for that matter intelligent alien life here on Earth, leads to an opening of the mind and what it will consider next. It’s like you can’t be just a little bit pregnant, you either are or you aren’t. Right now denial among populations and the science communities is the norm and the oligarchy has worked long and hard at considerable expense to create this prevalent social condition. They don’t want to abandon it because it will ultimately mean interference with what they do within the protection of secrecy as too many others not under their control start to become involved.

Yet, the very technology advantage that has been such a primary mover in making them, is also undermining them. As greater and greater communication among populations advances, the secrecy that shields the oligarchy is also undermined and is looking at collapse. Their own AI super computer modeling, assuming they are feeding it objective material, without a doubt predicts this. We out here in the populations are right on the cusp of this happening in our time.

So Mr. scientist they are running scared and they will try to prevent as long as possible that knowledge door from opening within you and you beginning to wake up. Meanwhile they are trying to figure out a way to survive what is coming and preserve their exalted positions of power. So they keep you and your work confined and compartmentalized so that you can’t see the true big picture. For the few that this doesn’t work on, they create a false big picture for you to focus on while the real picture remains solely out of your sight and within their control.

The bottom line is that their proven success formula historically requires secrecy as well as your and our ignorance. Unless they can develop a different successful formula that they can be willing to try in their self isolation, they can’t afford for you or I to wake up and open the door to idealistic interference problems for them. The trouble from their point of view is that the admission of water in what we would consider normal conditions on the surface of a world leads to the consideration of biological life on that surface and that in turn of course leads to the consideration of intelligent and even advanced life and of course we aren’t ignorant and in their control any more.

I know that many of you on all sides don’t want to face this but we’re now long past the point of no return and it’s too late to clamp down or turn back the tide now. The collapse of most of this particular brand of secrecy on our world is immanent and the general science and population ignorance so long entrenched is going to fall away with it. The level of technological advancement guarantees it. The key is to adapt now or suffer the consequences.

Joseph P. Skipper

Should We Terraform Mars? A Debate

This is a part of a debate organised by NASA. Science Fiction Meets Science Fact. ‘What are the real possibilities, as well as the potential ramifications, of transforming Mars?’ Terraform debaters left to right, Greg Bear , author of such books as “Moving Mars” and “Darwin’s Radio.”; David Grinspoon , planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute; James Kasting , geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University; Christopher McKay , planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center.; Lisa Pratt , biogeochemist at Indiana University; Kim Stanley Robinson , author of the “Mars Trilogy” (“Red Mars,” “Green Mars” and “Blue Mars“); John Rummel , planetary protection officer for NASA; moderator Donna Shirley , former manager of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Donna Shirley: Greg, what are the ethics of exploring Mars?

Greg Bear: You usually talk about ethics within your own social group. And if you define someone as being outside your social group, they’re also outside your ethical system, and that’s what’s caused so much trauma, as we seem to be unable to recognize people who look an awful lot like us as being human beings.

When we go to Mars, we’re actually dealing with a problem that’s outside the realm of ethics and more in the realm of enlightened self-interest. We have a number of reasons for preserving Mars as it is. If there’s life there, it’s evolved over the last several billion years, it’s got incredible solutions to incredible problems. If we just go there and willy-nilly ramp it up or tamp it down or try to remold it somehow, we’re going to lose that information. So that’s not to our best interest.

We were talking earlier about having a pharmaceutical expedition to Mars, not just that but a chemical expedition to Mars, people coming and looking for solutions to incredible problems that could occur here on Earth and finding them on Mars. That could generate income unforeseen.

If we talk about ethical issues on a larger scale of how are other beings in the universe going to regard how we treat Mars, that’s a question for Arthur C. Clarke to answer, I think. That’s been more his purview: the large, sometimes sympathetic eye staring at us and judging what we do.

We really have to look within our own goals and our own heart here. And that means we have to stick within our social group, which at this point includes the entire planet. If we decide that Mars is, in a sense, a fellow being, that the life on Mars, if we discover them – and I think that we will discover that Mars is alive – is worthy of protection, then we have to deal with our own variations in ethical judgment.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘Why should we go to Mars, because look at what human beings have done to Earth.'” -David Grinspoon
Image Credit: NASA

The question is, if it’s an economic reality that Mars is extraordinarily valuable, will we do what we did in North America and Africa and South America and just go there and wreak havoc? And we have to control our baser interests, which is, as many of us have found out recently, very hard to do in this country. So we have a lot of problems to deal with here, internal problems. Because not everyone will agree on an ethical decision and that’s the real problem with making ethical decisions.

Donna Shirley: David, you want to comment on the ethics of terraforming Mars?

David Grinspoon:
Well, one comment I’ve heard about recently, partly in response to the fact that the president has recently proposed new human missions to Mars – of course, that’s not terraforming, but it is human activities on Mars – and I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Why should we go to Mars, because look at what human beings have done to Earth. Look at how badly we’re screwing it up. Look at the human role on Earth. Why should we take our presence and go screw up other places?”

It’s an interesting question, and it causes me to think about the ethics of the human role elsewhere. What are we doing in the solar system, what should we be doing? But, it’s very hard for me to give up on the idea. Maybe because I read too much science fiction when I was a kid, I do have, I have to admit, this utopian view of a long-term human future in space. I think that if we find life on Mars, the ethical question’s going to be much more complicated.

But in my view, I think we’re going to find that Mars does not have life. We may have fossils there. I think it’s the best place in the solar system to find fossils. Of course, I could be wrong about this and I’d love to be wrong about it, and that’s why we need to explore. If the methane observation is borne out, it would be, to me, the first sign that I really have to rethink this, that maybe there is something living there under the ice.

“If the methane observation is borne out, maybe there is something living there under the ice.-David Grinspoon
Image Credit: NASA

But let’s assume for a second that Mars really is dead, and we’ve explored Mars very carefully – and this is not a determination we’ll be able to make without a lot more exploration – but assuming it was, then what about this question. Should human beings go to Mars, because do we deserve to, given what we’ve done to Earth? And to me, the analogy is of a vacant lot versus planting a garden. If Mars is really dead, then to me it’s like a vacant lot, where we have the opportunity to plant a garden. I think, in the long run, that we should.

We’ve heard a lot different possible motivations, economic motivations, or curiosity, but I think ultimately the motivation should be out of love for life, and wanting there to be more life where there’s only death and desolation. And so I think that ethically, in the long run, if we really learn enough to say that Mars is dead, then the ethical imperative is to spread life and bring a dead world to life.

Donna Shirley: Jim, we can’t prove a negative, so how do we know if there’s life or not, if we keep looking and looking and looking. How long should we look? How would we make that decision?

James Kasting: I think Lisa put us on the right track initially. She’s studying subsurface life on Earth. If there’s life on Mars today, it’s subsurface. I think it’s deep subsurface, a kilometer or two down. So I think we do need humans on Mars, because we need them up there building big drilling rigs to drill down kilometers depth and do the type of exploration that Lisa and her group is doing on Earth here. I think that’s going to take not just decades, but probably a couple of centuries before we can really get a good feel for that.

Lake Vostok.
Image Credit: NASA

Donna Shirley: Well, I know, John, at Lake Vostok, one of the big issues is, if we drill into it, our dirty drilling rigs are going to contaminate whatever’s down there. So how do we drill without worrying about contaminating something if it is there?

John Rummel: Well, you accept a little contamination probabilistically that you can allow operations and still try to prevent it. I mean, basically what we can do is try to prevent that which we don’t want to have happen. We can’t ever have a guarantee. The easiest way to prevent the contamination of Mars is to stay here in this room. Or someplace close by.

Greg Bear: That’s known as abstinence.

John Rummel: [laughs]. I also want to point out it’s not necessarily the case that the first thing you want to do on Mars, even if there’s no life, is to change it. We don’t know the advantages of the martian environment. It’s a little bit like the people who go to Arizona for their allergies and start planting crabgrass right off. They wonder why they get that. And it may be that Mars as it is has many benefits. I started working here at NASA Ames as a postdoc with Bob McElroy on controlled ecological life-support systems. There’s a lot we can do with martian environments inside before we move out to the environment of Mars and try to mess with it. So I would highly recommend that not only do we do a thorough job with robotic spacecraft on Mars, but we do a thorough job living inside and trying to figure out what kind of a puzzle Mars presents.

The ALH Meteorite.
Image Credit: NASA/ Johnson Space Center

Donna Shirley: Stan, you dealt with this issue in your book with the Reds versus the Greens. What are some of the ethics of making decisions about terraforming Mars?

Kim Stanley Robinson: Ah, the Reds versus the Greens. This is a question in environmental ethics that has been completely obscured by this possibility of life on Mars.

After the Viking mission, and for about a decade or so, up to the findings of the ALH meteorite, where suddenly martian bacteria were postulated again, we thought of Mars as being a dead rock. And yet there were still people who were very offended at the idea of us going there and changing it, even though it was nothing but rock. So this was an interesting kind of limit case in environmental ethics, because this sense of what has standing. People of a certain class had standing, then all the people had standing, then the higher mammals had standing – in each case it’s sort of an evolutionary process where, in an ethical sense, more and more parts of life had standing, and need consideration and ethical treatment from us. They aren’t just there to be used.

When you get to rock, it seemed to me that there would be very few people (wanting to preserve it). And yet, when I talked about my project, when I was writing it, it was an instinctive thing, that Mars has its own, what environment ethicists would call, “intrinsic worth,” even as a rock. It’s a pretty interesting position. And I had some sympathy for it, because I like rocky places myself. If somebody proposed irrigating and putting forests in Death Valley, I would think of this as a travesty. I have many favorite rockscapes, and a lot of people do.

So, back and forth between Red and Green, and one of the reasons I think that my book was so long was that it was just possible to imagine both sides of this argument for a very long time. And I never really did reconcile it in my own mind except that it seemed to me that Mars offered the solution itself. If you think of Mars as a dead rock and you think it has intrinsic worth, it should not be changed, then you look at the vertical scale of Mars and you think about terraforming, and there’s a 31-kilometer difference between the highest points on Mars and the lowest. I reckoned about 30 percent of the martian surface would stay well above an atmosphere that people could live in, in the lower elevations. So maybe you could have it both ways. I go back and forth on this teeter-totter. But of course now it’s a kind of an older teeter-totter because we have a different problem now.

Links: Colonization of mars[Are We Going To Colonize Mars?]

Stardust NExT: Mission to Comet Tempel 1

A bonus round is something one usually associates with the likes of a TV game show, not a pioneering deep space mission. “We are definitely in the bonus round,” said Stardust-NExT Project Manager Tim Larson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “This spacecraft has already flown by an asteroid and a comet, returned comet dust samples to Earth, and now has almost doubled its originally planned mission life. Now it is poised to perform one more comet flyby.”

Could comets have brought water to Earth?

Comets preserve important clues to the early history of the solar system. They are believed to have contributed some of the volatiles that make up our oceans and atmosphere. They may even have brought to Earth the complex molecules from which life arose. For these reasons, the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) has emphasized the direct exploration of comets by spacecraft. The investigation of comets also addresses each of the three strategic objectives for solar system exploration enunciated in NASA’s Space Science Enterprise Strategy (SSES) 2003.

– To learn how the solar system originated and evolved to its current state.
– To understand how life begins and determine the characteristics of the solar system that led to the origin of life.
– To catalog and understand the potential impact hazard to Earth from space.

The Stardust-NExT mission will contribute significantly to the first and last of these objectives by obtaining essential new data on Tempel 1 and capitalize on the discoveries of earlier missions such as Deep Impact to determine how cometary nuclei were constructed at the birth of the solar system and increase our understanding of how they have evolved since then. The Stardust-NExT mission provides NASA with the unique opportunity to study two entirely different comets with the same instrument. By doing this scientist will be able to more accurately compare its existing data set.

The primary science objectives of the mission are as follows:

  • To extend our understanding of the processes that affect the surfaces of comet nuclei by documenting the changes that have occurred on comet Tempel 1 between two successive perihelion passages.
  • To extend the geologic mapping of the nucleus of Tempel 1 to elucidate the extent and nature of layering and help models of the formation and structure of comet nuclei.
  • To extend the study of smooth flow deposits, active areas, and known exposure of water ice.
  • On February 14, 2011, at a projected distance of 200 km, the Stardust-NExT spacecraft will obtain high-resolution images of the coma and nucleus, as well as measurements of the composition, size distribution and flux of dust emitted into the coma. Additionally, Stardust-NExT will update the data gathered in 2005 by the Deep Impact mission on the rotational phase of the comet.

Other Objectives:

  • If possible, to characterize the crater produced by Deep Impact in July 2005 to better understand the structure and mechanical properties of cometary nuclei and elucidate crater formation processes on them.
  • Measure the flux and mass distribution of dust particles within the coma using the DFMI instrument.
  • Analyze the composition of dust particles within the coma using the CIDA instrument.
  • Monitor comet activity over 60 days on approach using imaging.

Artist concept of NASA's Stardust-NExT mission, which will fly by comet Tempel 1 on Feb. 14, 2011.

A Successful Prime Mission

NASA’s Stardust spacecraft was launched on Feb. 7, 1999, on a mission that would explore a comet as no previous mission had. Before Stardust, seven spacecraft from NASA, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency had visited comets – they had flight profiles that allowed them to perform brief encounters, collecting data and sometimes images of the nuclei during the flyby.

Like those comet hunters before it, Stardust was tasked to pass closely by a comet, collecting data and snapping images. It also had the ability to come home again, carrying with it an out-of -this-world gift for cometary scientists – particles of the comet itself. Along the way, the telephone booth-sized comet hunter racked up numerous milestones and more than a few “space firsts.”

In the first round of its prime mission, Stardust performed observations of asteroid Annefrank, only the sixth asteroid in history to be imaged close up. After that, Stardust racked up more points of space exploration firsts. It became the first spacecraft to capture particles of interstellar dust for Earth return. It was first to fly past a comet and collect data and particles of comet dust (hurtling past it at almost four miles per second) for later analysis. Then, it was first to make the trip back to Earth after traveling beyond the orbit of Mars (a two-year trip of 1.2 billion kilometers, or 752 million miles). When Stardust dropped off its sample return capsule from comet Wild 2, the capsule became the fastest human-made object to enter Earth’s atmosphere. The mission was also the first to provide a capsule containing cometary dust specimens, speciments that will have scientists uncovering secrets of comets for years to come.

With such a high tally of “firsts” on its scoreboard, you’d think Stardust could receive a few parting gifts and leave the game. And an important part of the original spacecraft is currently enjoying retirement – albeit a high-profile one: Stardust’s 100-pound sample return capsule is on display in the main hall (Milestones of Flight) of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington. But the rest of NASA’s most-seasoned comet hunter is still up there – and there is work still to be done.

“We placed Stardust in a parking orbit that would carry it back by Earth in a couple of years, and then asked the science community for proposals on what could be done with a spacecraft that had a lot of zeros on its odometer, but also had some fuel and good miles left in it,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

Moving into the Bonus Round

In January 2007, from a stack of proposals with intriguing ideas, NASA chose Stardust-NExT (Stardust’s Next Exploration of Tempel). It was a plan to revisit comet Tempel 1 at a tenth of the cost of a new, from-the-ground-up mission. Comet Tempel 1 was of particular interest to NASA. It had been the target of a previous NASA spacecraft visit in July 2005. That mission, Deep Impact, placed a copper-infused, 800-pound impactor on a collision course with the comet and observed the results from the cosmic fender-bender via the telescopic cameras onboard the larger part of Deep Impact, a “flyby” spacecraft observing from a safe distance.

“The plan for our encounter is to be more hospitable to comet Tempel 1 than our predecessor,” said Joe Veverka, principal investigator of Stardust-NExT from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “We will come within about 200 kilometers [124 miles] of Tempel 1 and view the changes that took place over the past five-and-a-half years.”

That period of time is significant for Tempel 1 — it is the period of time it takes the comet to orbit the sun once. Not much happens during a comet’s transit through the chilly reaches of the outer solar system. But when it nears perihelion (the point in its orbit that an object, such as a planet or a comet, is closest to the sun), things begin to sizzle.

“Comets can be very spectacular when they come close to the sun, but we still don’t understand them as well as we should,” said Veverka. “They are also messengers from the past. They tell us how the solar system was formed long ago, and Stardust-NExT will help us understand how much they have changed since their formation.”

So the spacecraft that had traveled farther afield than any of its predecessors was being sent out again in the name of scientific opportunity. In between spacecraft and comet lay four-and-a-half years, over a billion kilometers (646 million miles), and more than a few hurdles along the way.

Your Mileage May Vary

“One of the challenges with reusing a spacecraft designed for a different prime mission is you don’t get to start out with a full tank of gas,” said Larson. “Just about every deep-space exploration spacecraft has a fuel supply customized to get the job done, with some held in reserve for contingency maneuvers and other uncertainties. Fortunately, the Stardust mission navigation team did a great job, the spacecraft operated extremely well, and there was an adequate amount of contingency fuel aboard after its prime mission to make this new comet flyby possible – but just barely.”

Just how much fuel is in Stardust’s tanks for its final act?

“We estimate we have a little under three percent of the fuel the mission launched with,” said Larson. “It is an estimate, because no one has invented an entirely reliable fuel gauge for spacecraft. There are some excellent techniques with which we have made these estimates, but they are still estimates.”

One of the ways mission planners can approximate fuel usage is to look at the history of the vehicle’s flight and how many times and for how long its rocket motors have fired. When that was done for Stardust, the team found their spacecraft’s attitude and translational thrusters had fired almost half-a-million times each over the past 12 years.

“There is always a little plus and minus with each burn. When you add them all up, that is how you get the range of possible answers on how much fuel was used,” said Larson.

Fuel is not the only question that needs to be addressed on the way to a second comet encounter. Added into the mix is the fact a comet near the sun can fire off jets of gas and dust that can cause a change in its orbit, sometimes in unexpected ways, potentially causing a precisely designed cometary approach to become less precise. Then there are the distances involved. Stardust will fly past comet Tempel 1 on almost the opposite side of the sun from Earth, making deep-space communication truly, well, deep space. Add into the mix the Stardust spacecraft itself. Launched when Bill Clinton was in the White House, Stardust has been cooked and frozen countless times during its trips from the inner to outer solar system. It has also weathered its fair share of radiation-packed solar storms. But while its fuel tank may be running near-empty, that doesn’t mean Stardust doesn’t have anything left in the tank.

“All this mission’s challenges are just that – challenges,” said Larson. “We believe our team and our spacecraft are up to meeting every one of them, and we’re looking forward to seeing what Tempel 1 looks like these days.”

The Final Payoff

Larson, Veverka and the world will get their chance beginning a few hours after the encounter on Monday, Feb. 14, at about 8:56 p.m. PST (11:56 p.m. EST), when the first of 72 bonus-round images of the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 are downlinked.

All images of the comet will be taken by the spacecraft’s navigation camera – an amalgam of spare flight-ready hardware left over from previous NASA missions: Voyager (launched in 1977), Galileo (launched in 1989), and Cassini (launched in 1997). Each image will take about 15 minutes to transmit. The first five images to be received and processed on the ground are expected to include a close up of Tempel 1’s nucleus. All data from the flyby (including the images and science data obtained by the spacecraft’s two onboard dust experiments) are expected to take about 10 hours to reach the ground. Stardust-NExT is a low-cost mission that will expand the investigation of comet Tempel 1 initiated by NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages Stardust-NExT for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. Joe Veverka of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., is the mission’s principal investigator. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver Colo., built the spacecraft and manages day-to-day mission operations.

Mission Details

The Stardust-NExT will utilize the existing spacecraft to flyby comet Tempel 1 and observe changes since NASA’s Deep Impact mission visited it in 2005. Stardust-NExT will provide NASA with a first-time opportunity to compare observations of a single comet made at close range during two successive perihelion passages, at low risk and low cost.

In 2005, Tempel 1 made its closest approach to the sun, possibly changing the surface of the comet. With a 3-year trajectory, the mission flight plan is designed in a similar way to that of the original mission, with an Earth gravity assist (EGA) in 2009 to achieve the flyby of Tempel 1 in 2011. The original flight path of the Stardust spacecraft to Wild 2 included an EGA in 2001.

Mission Design and Navigation:
The Stardust spacecraft divert maneuver that followed the release of the sample return capsule (SRC) was intentionally designed to place the spacecraft in a trajectory that returns to Earth in case the SRC release that occurred January 15 had failed. Thus the current orbit intrinsically provides the Earth gravity-assist (EGA) flyby opportunity in 2009, which enables the Tempel 1 encounter. The mission duration, from the divert maneuver after SRC release (January 15, 2006) to the February 14, 2011 Tempel 1 encounter, is a little over 5 years. The date of encounter will be optimized during the mission to account for improved knowledge of the comet’s ephemeris during cruise, and to maximize the probability of viewing the Deep Impact impact crater. Table F-1 summarizes the principal characteristics of the comet encounter.

Table F-1. Tempel 1 Encounter Characteristics
Flyby date February 14, 2011
Distance 200 km
Velocity 10.9 km/s
Approach Phase angle 81.6°
Closest Approach Point 200 km altitude, 40° south of direction to the Sun
Solar Distance 1.55 AU
Earth Distance 2.25 AU

Mission Trajectory:
The trajectory consists of four loops of the sun in two separate orbits. Loops 1 and 2 represent the orbit the spacecraft bus was left in after the sample return on January 15, 2006. The EGA on January 14, 2009 places the spacecraft in the final heliocentric orbit (Loops 3 and 4) intercepting Tempel 1 on February 14, 2011 (39d after the comet’s perihelion). This profile is very similar to the launch-to-Wild 2 phase of the Stardust primary mission.

Stardust-NExT trajectory
Figure F-1. Stardust-NExT trajectory, with one EGA prior to Tempel 1 encounter, provides for an uncomplicated mission simpler than the Stardust prime mission.

The maneuver plan is shown in Table F-2. Of the three deep space maneuvers (DSM’s), only the first is deterministic. This maneuver targets the EGA in January, 2009. Other DSM’s adjust the arrival time at Tempel 1. Ranges of favorable locations for DSMs (2 and 3) are indicated. Their exact location will be optimized during the mission.

Table F-2. Maneuver plan targets EGA and Tempel 1 encounter with few maneuvers
Maneuver Epoch Comment Execution Date (UTC)
DSM1 Entry + 603d EGA Targeting 9/19/07
DSM1_CU DSM1 + 30d Cleanup 10/19/07
EGA1 E-30d EGA Targeting 12/16/08
EGA2 E – 10d EGA Targeting 1/5/09
EGA2a E – 1d EGA Targeting 1/13/09
DSM2 T1 – 1y Arrival Time Adjust 2/12/10
DSM2_CU DSM2 + 30d Cleanup 3/14/10
T0 T1-120d T1 Targeting 10/18/10
T1 (DSM3) T1-30d T1 Targeting 1/15/11
T2 T1 – 10d T1 Targeting 2/4/11
T3 T1 – 2d T1 Targeting 2/12/11
T4 T1 – 18h T1 Targeting 2/14/11
T5 T1 – 6h T1 Targeting (Contingency) 2/14/11

The Stardust navigation team has chosen to place the closest approach point 40° southward of the direction to the Sun, at a longitude that offers the most favorable viewing opportunity of the Deep Impact crater at closest approach. Periodically, reevaluate the aimpoint during the mission, taking into account the most recent information available about the predicted uncertainty of the comet’s rotation state at encounter, until the time shortly before DSM2 (deep space maneuver) at which a selection of a final aimpoint for targeting.

Controlling the arrival time to target our chosen aimpoint is the greatest mission design challenge of Stardust-NExT. In order to successfully control the arrival time as discussed above, two conditions must be met: (1) we must be able to predict the rotation rate and rotational state of the comet with sufficient accuracy to reliably compute the right arrival time, and (2) we must have sufficient DV onboard to change the arrival time as needed.

[Credit: NASA]

Antarctica Mysteries

By J. P. Skipper

For any who wish to track behind me, the above 1st image is included here to help locate the evidence site on the coastal area of Antarctica at the Southern Sea but inland from the coast. When zooming in on this site in Google Earth, one will encounter a narrow pale blue strip at this location within which the evidence reported on here resides. That pale blue strip is a corridor of high resolution surrounded by an extensive sea of smudge obfuscation and that narrow higher resolution strip is the sole reason why we are able to view just a little truth here.

The above 2nd image is another context locator image but this time closer and showing what the pale blue narrow strip of higher resolution looks like and the location of the main evidence sites within it. If the whole of the Antarctica continent was revealed at this kind of higher resolution, there is no telling what many kinds of truths would be revealed to us in the public. Further, one can’t help but get angry when one realizes that we in the public treated as a bunch of dummies are otherwise disrespectfully fed a load of unmentionable material even though we paid for the real thing but certainly aren’t getting that in return.

The above 3rd image is an example of what I mean. The white blank smooth area in the upper left corner of the image is smudge image tampering obfuscation as viewed relative to and side-by-side with a relatively much clearer not obfuscated right portion of the image. Note the sharp straight boundary between the two fields. Note how a portion of the big rough chunk of broken ice casting a dark shadow and with the red arrow on it disappears up under this smudge coating and how nothing more of it, not even a suggestion of it, can be seen through the smudge demonstrating just how thick and obscuring the smudge really is.

Note also that because the Antarctica continent is in theory mostly covered by snow and ice and snow and that solid particulate is so bright sunlight reflective, we likely wouldn’t know the difference if we were looking around in the smudge areas and encountered only some occasional poorly seen blurry rocks. We would likely just pass the poor visibility and lack of any detail off as due to the bright white sunlight reflectivity, fog, etc. However, the above A-B comparison and ruler straight boundary reveals the real truth as to the presence of the obfuscation and this comes to us only because someone by mistake or intent (rebels within?) allowed this narrow satellite strip of truth to be included and come through to us.

By the way, that light green/bluish tint surface that may look like land to you in the above 3rd image is actually very old thick ice floating on water with the edge of the dark water just visible in the upper right corner of the image. I suspect that the ice is tinted this color because it is almost certainly fresh water with microbial life in and on the ice causing the tint. Be glad of it because it is also causing the ice to be less sunlight reflective compared to the big elevated iceberg chunks also present. This slight darker sunlight absorbing rather than sunlight reflecting quality contributes to our being able to see better detail rather than it being washed out in white color.

In any case, as we move up this narrow corridor of higher more true imaging resolution, let’s examine a few mysteries along the way in the evidence as follows.

The above 4–5th and 6–7th image sets are of the same type of evidence in two separate locations not very far from each other in this narrow corridor of Google-Antarctica imaging truth. For the lack of a better term I’ve called these two sites “blowholes” and their general location is in the labeling in the 2nd image in this report. However, blowhole is misleading as you will see below.

This evidence at first resembles blowholes such as that caused by volcanism created heat deep down below that in turn causes heated water to rise and exit as a vent on the surface and so it is natural to interpret these two sites as that. However, take a closer look at these two holes in the 4th and 6th images.

Note that the ice in the hole downward slope is mostly and oddly confined to the left site of the hole in both sites. Also note that this ice on the left side has a slight greenish tint to it as compared to the rest of the snow/ice in the hole’s general vicinity. This indicates that the source of this ice on the left is from within the hole as compared to the other vicinity ice which is much more likely surface snow/ice in origin.

If this was a natural water vent, we should expect that the water with the slight green tint exiting the hole would be much more generally distributed and spread around the hole and its outer surface areas. The fact that the slight green tint ice is confined to the left side only in two separate sites is a bit anomalous and suspicious. Also, note that both holes are elliptical in shape and oriented in the same direction which is again a bit anomalous.

Now it could be that the left side of each site represents a depression relative to the higher rest of the sides of the holes. If so, it could be that heated water welling up from below but not really fully venting may on occasion rise and push into the depressions and then drain back in the hole leaving water behind on the left side to shortly freeze into the slightly green tinted ice. Unfortunately, this straight down satellite view doesn’t allow us to determine if this possibility may be so.

On the other hand, both sites separate some distance from each other have a little too many similarities that strains the chance factor considerably. It is also possible that they are permanent but camouflaged exit points in rocky terrain for some solid wide but flattened objects exiting from underground to the surface environs always in the same direction and via passage first through the water and then up in the air carrying water shedding off the object always dropping off in the same place on the hole left side.

It would have helped considerably if this higher resolution strip would have encompassed a larger general area of this terrain as opposed to this narrow corridor. Perhaps there is more of this type of evidence to see that could be more informative as context information? Unfortunately, the view here is just too narrow a slice to be drawing much in the way of definitive conclusions. At this point there’s just enough truth for it to be really anomalous and suspicious. The key to the above Antarctica evidence is inland fresh water presence in a liquid unfrozen state and the next evidence below will be of this as well.

Before getting into that, did you know that statistically this continent contains 70% of Earth’s fresh water? Of course most of that is suppose to be in the form of snow/ice solid particulates laying around sometimes thousands of feet deep on as well as offshore of the continent. You should know that the average temperature in the Antarctic is –49º C with the coldest temperature on record and the coldest on Earth being –128.6º F or –89º C. In other words, its very cold and most of the time far below the freezing point of fresh water.

However, in the peak of summer the temperature can rise to a whopping 41º F (5º C) to 59º F (15º C) for a very short time. Note that these temperatures are above the freezing temperature of water at sea level but remember that such “warm” temperatures can last for only a few weeks with little impact on large bodies of ice.

With that said, the above 8th image demonstrates a considerable size inland body of green tinted water in a liquid state embedded in elevated rocky terrain. Note that there is no floating ice and only very small residual patches of snow/ice in terrain depressions around the site. That is very significant. Further, this is just a single sample and there is many times more of this same unfrozen liquid water evidence north of this point in this rocky terrain not shown here. There is so much in fact that incredibly it all represents an extensive network of mostly interconnected and mostly navigable large water ways.

Considering that this incredibly is located in the supposedly coldest freezing conditions on Earth where ice extreme thickness lasts for thousands of years without melting, this large area of fresh water presence in a liquid state is extremely anomalous. Also, since there is hardly any ice presence even right at the lake shorelines, we can assume the fact that it is not frozen over likely means that this is deep water right up to the shorelines and perhaps even lightly geothermally heated from below over a large area.

Note that the rocky terrain is also mostly free of snow/ice. This too is typical of the overall site as viewed in Google Earth. Obviously, the temperatures in this general area may be cold from our point of view but the visual evidence here clearly demonstrates that it is just not cold enough to support extensive snow/ice presence no matter what is “suppose” to be the case in Antarctica.

With that thought in mind, I’ve tried to look closely time permitting to see if I could see any signs of civilization evidence in this liquid fresh water mile temperature lost world but I see none that stand out enough to really identify as such. If any is there on a size scale large enough to see at this strips resolution, it has been carefully erased to blend in with the rocky terrain which is itself too uniform in coloring causing me to suspect tampering. If that suspicion is true, then someone has allowed us to see the liquid fresh water sites but anything more than that is apparently taboo.

On the other hand, the above 9th image evidence is located over on the right edge area of the rocky terrain going out into snow/ice fields. It demonstrates what clearly appears to be green tinted surface water shallows also in a liquid state. Note that the left side of the water site is shallow liquid water while the right side seems to be a darker tinted green and likely biological growth of some kind on wetlands associated with the water site with the growth doing its conversion of sunlight to chlorophyll thing.

Note that, although plenty of snow/ice is present all around the site, the water is still in at least a partial liquid self leveling state. I’ve included a view of this evidence because the water is unmistakable even in outer terrain areas like this and this site also seems to present the added bonus of living bio-life evidence as well on dryer ground.

The above 10th image serves as the context locator image for the 8th and 9th image’s liquid surface water site evidence pointed out with the red arrows. The many small red “X’s” in the image represents a sampling of the other largest water sites. In addition, there are many lakes and entirely landlocked smaller bodies of liquid water that are present in this area. I have not bothered to point out or document here in this reporting because it would take just too many images.

Above the large water body sites you will see a lot of jumbled ice presence and these for the most part represent water sites where the water depth is more shallow allowing more ice to form. At the same time there is a great deal of large broken up sections of old floating ice presence in the upper area that suggest this area has in the past been more covered with ice. It may be that the external weather temperature has not warmed so much as the land itself geothermally from below (?) resulting in melt and floating ice breaking up.

Please note in this 10th context image how closely the rocky terrain visible out of the snow/ice with this liquid water evidence is so closely boundaried by the ever present smudge obfuscation fields on either side. It almost seems that someone intentionally fitted this corridor of higher resolution satellite imaging just so that this fabulous huge and extensive unfrozen navigable liquid water site geology could be found by someone in the otherwise heavy obfuscation of Antarctica. Who do we thank, aliens or rebels?

With not only ice free deep fresh water lakes as well as deep water navigable winding waterways and large open bodies of fresh water in networks and a mostly snow/ice free rocky terrain extensive landscape clearly demonstrating ice free milder temperatures, one has to ask why are humans in the Antarctic freezing in other much more difficult to contend with locations. This seems like a much more practical location for a permanent settlement supplied by air with a real landing strip.

Could it be that there is something recognizable out there secret and hidden from our sight under those boundary smudge obfuscation fields that would preclude the consideration of such a human settlement presence? Could it also be that there is evidence at this site that even I cannot recognize as that anomalous because it is just too unfamiliar to even my eye? Indeed, it you choose to close inspect this area in Google Earth to confirm my findings here, there is much here in this rocky outcrop area that is very strange looking and therefore speculative and especially in the upper environs.

The above 11th image is a sample of some of this strange looking evidence looking very much like a lot that I’ve seen on Mars. In this image it is a dense tangled web of crisscrossing ribbons that appear to exist on formerly wet fresh water site bottoms that are now exposed to the air.

Note how some of the longer ribbons above are not straight but tend to wander around while still going in a specific purposeful direction. In the upper environs this is typical as are the presence of densely packed knobs by the thousands just out of definition reach of the image base resolution. Also, in other nearby locations these wandering type continuous ribbons seem to connect and/or bridge between multiple very white fresh water ice masses scattered at random throughout the terrain as though they were paths created by something purposefully accessing the fresher whiter ice not suffused with the green tint. In other cases, the irregular but continuous ribbons also seem to serve as dams blocking floating ice and forming enclosures with floating ice sections in them. Someone managing ice chunks?

The question becomes does this represent some form of life that we are unfamiliar with and find hard to recognize? Perhaps life that does not lay out its systems in very rigid geometric shape as do we Earth humans? The resolution is great enough in this strip to raise more questions but it is not good enough to answer other questions.

The above 12th image is in my opinion an evidence debris field site located just north above the 4th—7th image evidence sites and well below the many fresh water sites area. Now let’s understand that this evidence is very suggestive rather than in any way definitive. The red arrows point to some of the more suggestive evidence.

This does appear to be a chaotic debris field consisting of partially buried and exposed objects, some of which should be of major interest. At least I think they should be of interest to any archaeologist with even a small amount of curiosity but who can think some outside the box as to the possibilities. I know that I would love to be part of any expedition to this place that believes in truth. Is that giant rounded object in the lower left the remains of the leading edge of a partially burled disk type craft or some other tremendous rounded structure that met its fate in some ancient cataclysm?

I must say that suggestive level evidence abounds in this report of this general site that encourages speculation as to both current and ancient alien presence that the image strip alone cannot adequately answer. On the other hand, who would have ever expected to find in Antarctica the coldest place on Earth a very large site literally littered with deep fresh water in a liquid state? Is it a lost world or just someone else’s world?

Either way, if I am the first to publicly discover and report on this incredible unfrozen liquid fresh water evidence (?) in Antarctica, I think I’d like to call it “Skipper Land,” something I’ve never done before. However, my irrelevant personal desires aside, make no mistake about it, here’s the bottom line with this hard visual evidence from Google Earth.

The at least now public discovery of this undeniable area of surface water in a liquid state and the lack of significant snow/ice presence in this rocky terrain area of Antarctica, supposedly the coldest place on Earth, will have official types and debunkers scrambling and back pedaling for explanations. As damage control they will be trying to convince us that this is just the result of a “natural” underlying geothermal hot spot in the land that is causing these obvious very isolated warmer conditions and that such sites are extremely rare. Such an explanation will to the innocent likely sound fairly reasonable and many will accept it mostly because they want to.

However, let’s think about this a little deeper. In all the many past decades of various settlements established by many nations around on this continent and its many coastal ice masses, why has this obvious warmer conditions site not already been settled? After all, these warmer conditions and fresh water and the location on land just inland from the coast make it ideal. Who would want to explore a frozen continent from the bases that we do have established where one is freezing one’s buns off and it is life threatening deadly to go outside without extreme cold weather gear on? Does this make any sense to you?

Likewise, look again at image #3 near the top of this report. See that obfuscating smudge blotting out every thing in the land beneath its applications in the upper left corner and side of the image. I would guess that the bulk of the Antarctica continent is hidden from view in this way in varying degrees. WHY? Surely this question must occur to you. What is it that someone doesn’t want us to see in Antarctica? Why is it necessary to obscure most of an entire continent in the satellite imaging rather than just some isolated places? Remember, this is a large continent and not just an island at the lower end of this world.

I remind you once again that shortly after WWII an “expeditionary” military force (an entire fleet including an aircraft carrier) of ships and thousands of men were sent to Antarctica for “exploration” purposes. Of course such a large military force commitment suggests a covert secret mission cranking up the rumor and denial mills. Further, although this is officially denied, it has been rumored that two atomic blasts were set off some where at or near Antarctica back in those post WWII times. In fact, although I didn’t understand the significance of this at the time some years ago and didn’t preserve it, I’ve seen pictures that included a fleet of ships in the foreground, a completely snow and ice covered landmass and mountain range in the far background, and an unmistakable atomic blast between the ships and the landmass. The presence of a high mountain range suggested Antarctica.

I don’t know about you but to me that’s a lot of USA military activity in force after WWII was over. It’s also a huge expenditure of money, materials, and man power post WWII (with USA citizens in lean times economically recovering from the war effort) to allegedly test military post war cold weather military operations in case of future war with the old USSR and/or investigate the frozen desolate home of a bunch of cold hardy seals and penguins or even a few isolated diehard freezing Nazis.

Could it be that those few freezing Nazis, if they existed at all, were interacting with someone else long established there and that this someone else was the true target of the USA military operation and that the Nazi presence was just a covering misdirection rumor in case it was needed? If so, the continued obfuscation of Antarctica in the satellite imaging into the present tells us that control of the continent was likely NOT established by this military operation. Further, if the story of atomics being used is true, it suggests that who ever is there is able to withstand the use of atomics, were not impressed, and perhaps we’ve had to accept some compromises with respect to who controls the bulk of this land?

On the other hand, is someone who is us here on Earth trying to hide the habitable conditions in Antarctica to give themselves the time to establish a firm military control presence there? In light of the fact that other nations could monitor such activity via their own satellite over flight imaging, this does not seem very likely.

That’s a lot of speculation but then there is the fact of all the obfuscation applications covering most of an entire continent as sampled in image #3 here and that undeniable liquid surface water presence in images #8 and #9 clearly demonstrating warmer conditions. That kind of hard verifiable imaging evidence is hard to get around and explain away. Could it be that someone else not us right here on Earth is calling the shots in this land confining our settlements to its periphery?

Now all that visual obfuscation is there for a reason and so I suspect this report may hit a soar spot among the secrecy types. So I suggest that all of you around the world who can please go quickly to this spot in Google Earth (following my visual directions) to download, document, and preserve this evidence before it can be sanitized following this reporting.

Addendum Added 12/12/2010: It appears that the site of this evidence and its year round unfrozen fresh water in a liquid state is named Bunger Hills and was first discovered and filmed by a seaplane flight in 1947 commanded by Navy Lieutenant David E. Bunger surveying and filming as part of the infamous military 1946/1947 Navy expedition in force named US Navy Operation Highjump overall commanded by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Jr. It seems the plane landed on the water confirming temperatures of 38º and that it was fresh water. Note that I’ve included duplicating material video links below containing 1940s film of this discovery just in case some links are lost in the future. The site is located about about 220 miles or 350 km from the Russian Mirny Station to the west that is part of my Report 196.

I’ve checked the coordinates and the Bunger Hills location is the same as that in my report. Of the great many lakes in this area, the largest and longest is Algae Lake (aka Lake Figurnoye) some 16 miles or 25 km long and up to 449 feet or 137 meters deep. Admiral Byrd described the area as “…..one of the most remarkable regions on Earth. An island suitable for life had been found in a universe of death.” Also, apparently the Russians attempted to establish a small station on this site in 1956 named Oazis later turned over to Poland in 1959 and renamed Dobrowolski Station none of which amounted to much and eventually was abandoned.

This information is important as context but it really doesn’t have that much to do with my reporting and observations except to confirm formal discovery and awareness of this site by others prior to my reporting. I’m not going to bother with it but if someone were to go to the trouble of making a very careful survey of the entire site in this reasonably good imaging and no evidence of the Oazis/Dobrowolski Station sites were revealed, I would suspect the presence of careful image tampering inadvertently covering this visual information.

[Source: Mars Anomaly Research]

Hubble Finds Farthest Galaxy!

#62. astrodeep200407 a g HUDF heic0611aa

Image by rmforall@gmail.com via Flickr

Astronomers have pushed NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to its limits by finding what is likely to be the most distant object ever seen in the universe. The object’s light traveled 13.2 billion years to reach Hubble, roughly 150 million years longer than the previous record holder. The age of the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years.

The tiny, dim object is a compact galaxy of blue stars that existed 480 million years after the big bang. More than 100 such mini-galaxies would be needed to make up our Milky Way. The new research offers surprising evidence that the rate of star birth in the early universe grew dramatically, increasing by about a factor of 10 from 480 million years to 650 million years after the big bang.

“NASA continues to reach for new heights, and this latest Hubble discovery will deepen our understanding of the universe and benefit generations to come,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who was the pilot of the space shuttle mission that carried Hubble to orbit. “We could only dream when we launched Hubble more than 20 years ago that it would have the ability to make these types of groundbreaking discoveries and rewrite textbooks.”

Closeup of HUDF WFC3/IR Image Surrounding Object  UDFj-39546284Astronomers don’t know exactly when the first stars appeared in the universe, but every step farther from Earth takes them deeper into the early formative years when stars and galaxies began to emerge in the aftermath of the big bang.

“These observations provide us with our best insights yet into the earlier primeval objects that have yet to be found,” said Rychard Bouwens of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Bouwens and Illingworth report the discovery in the Jan. 27 issue of the British science journal Nature.

This observation was made with the Wide Field Camera 3 starting just a few months after it was installed in the observatory in May 2009, during the last NASA space shuttle servicing mission to Hubble. After more than a year of detailed observations and analysis, the object was positively identified in the camera’s Hubble Ultra Deep Field-Infrared data taken in the late summers of 2009 and 2010.

The object appears as a faint dot of starlight in the Hubble exposures. It is too young and too small to have the familiar spiral shape that is characteristic of galaxies in the local universe. Although its individual stars can’t be resolved by Hubble, the evidence suggests this is a compact galaxy of hot stars formed more than 100-to-200 million years earlier from gas trapped in a pocket of dark matter.

“We’re peering into an era where big changes are afoot,” said Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz. “The rapid rate at which the star birth is changing tells us if we go a little further back in time we’re going to see even more dramatic changes, closer to when the first galaxies were just starting to form.”

The proto-galaxy is only visible at the farthest infrared wavelengths observable by Hubble. Observations of earlier times, when the first stars and galaxies were forming, will require Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

The hypothesized hierarchical growth of galaxies — from stellar clumps to majestic spirals and ellipticals — didn’t become evident until the Hubble deep field exposures. The first 500 million years of the universe’s existence, from a z of 1000 to 10, is the missing chapter in the hierarchical growth of galaxies. It’s not clear how the universe assembled structure out of a darkening, cooling fireball of the big bang. As with a developing embryo, astronomers know there must have been an early period of rapid changes that would set the initial conditions to make the universe of galaxies what it is today.

“After 20 years of opening our eyes to the universe around us, Hubble continues to awe and surprise astronomers,” said Jon Morse, NASA’s Astrophysics Division director at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “It now offers a tantalizing look at the very edge of the known universe — a frontier NASA strives to explore.”

Hydrotropi: A Hope for Space Colonization

A while back , I’ve published an article about explaining need to colonize mars. Last year, NASA successfully developed “alternative crops” that can be grown in space like (zero gravity) conditions.

Plants are fundamental to life on Earth, converting light and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Plant growth may be an important part of human survival in exploring space, as well. Gardening in space has been part of the International Space Station from the beginning — whether peas grown in the Lada greenhouse or experiments in the Biomass Production System. The space station offers unique opportunities to study plant growth and gravity, something that cannot be done on Earth.

The latest experiment that has astronauts putting their green thumbs to the test is Hydrotropism and Auxin-Inducible Gene expression in Roots Grown Under Microgravity Conditions, known as HydroTropi. Operations were conducted October 18-21, 2010, HydroTropi is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)-run study that looks at directional root growth. In microgravity, roots grow latterly or sideways, instead of up and down like they do under Earth’s gravitational forces.

[HydroTropi: Overview

Experiment/Payload Overview

Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA). Brief Summary

Hydrotropism and Auxin-Inducible Gene expression in Roots Grown Under Microgravity Conditions (HydroTropi) determines whether hydrotropic response can be used for the control of cucumber, Cucumis sativus root growth orientation in microgravity.

Principal Investigator

  • Hideyuki Takahashi, Ph.D., Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)

  • Nobuharu Fujii, Ph.D., Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
  • Yutaka Miyazawa, Ph.D., Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
  • Sponsoring Space Agency

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

    Supporting Organization:

    Information Pending

    Expeditions Assigned


    Previous ISS Missions

    Increment 23/24 will be the first mission for HydroTropi operations

    Experiment/Payload Description

    Research Summary

    The Hydrotropism and Auxin?Inducible Gene expression in Roots Grown Under Microgravity Conditions (HydroTropi) experiment has three specific aims:

    • First, it demonstrates that gravitropism (a plant’s ability to change its direction of growth in response to gravity) interferes with hydrotropism (a directional growth response in which the direction is determined by a stimuli in water concentration).
    • Second, it clarifies the differential auxin response that occurs during the respective tropisms (reaction of a plant to a stimulus), by investigating the auxin (compound regulating the growth of plants) inducible gene expression.
    • Third, it shows whether hydrotropism can be used in controlling root growth orientation in microgravity.


    Hydrotropism and Auxin?Inducible Gene expression in Roots Grown Under Microgravity Conditions (HydroTropi) will propose to use the microgravity environment in space to separate hydrotropism from gravitropism and to dissect respective mechanisms in cucumber roots.]

    Cucumber roots grew laterally in space following 70 hours in microgravity on STS 95. (JAXA)

    Using cucumber plants (scientific name Cucumis sativus), investigators look to determine whether hydrotropic — plant root orientation due to water—response can control the direction of root growth in microgravity. To perform the HydroTropi experiment, astronauts transport the cucumber seeds from Earth to the space station and then coax them into growth. The seeds, which reside in Hydrotropism chambers, undergo 18 hours of incubation in a Cell Biology Experiment Facility orCBEF. Then the crewmembers activate the seeds with water or a saturated salt solution, followed by a second application of water 4 to 5 hours later. The crew harvests the cucumber seedlings and preserves them using fixation tubes called Kenney Space Center Fixation Tubes or KFTs, which then store in one of the station MELFI freezers to await return to Earth.
    The results from HydroTropi, which returns to Earth on STS-133, will help investigators to better understand how plants grow and develop at a molecular level. The experiment will demonstrate a plant’s ability to change growth direction in response to gravity (gravitropism) vs. directional growth in response to water (hydrotropism). By looking at the reaction of the plants to the stimuli and the resulting response of differential auxin — the compound regulating the growth of plants — investigators will learn about plants inducible gene expression. In space, investigators hope HydroTropi will show them how to control directional root growth by using the hydrotropism stimulus; this knowledge may also lead to significant advancements in agriculture production on Earth.

    [Credit: NASA]

    Coronal Heating Mystery Explained

    Among the many constantly moving, appearing, disappearing and generally explosive events in the sun’s atmosphere, there exist giant plumes of gas — as wide as a state and as long as Earth — that zoom up from the sun’s surface at 150,000 miles per hour. Known as spicules, these are one of several phenomena known to transfer energy and heat throughout the sun’s magnetic atmosphere, or corona.

    Thanks to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Japanese satellite Hinode, these spicules have recently been imaged and measured better than ever before, showing them to contain hotter gas than previously observed. Thus, they may perhaps play a key role in helping to heat the sun’s corona to a staggering million degrees or more. (A number made more surprising since the sun’s surface itself is only about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.)   Just what makes the corona so hot is a poorly understood aspect of the sun’s complicated space weather system. That system can reach Earth, causing auroral lights and, if strong enough, disrupting Earth’s communications and power systems. Understanding such phenomena, therefore, is an important step towards better protecting our satellites and power grids. Solar physicist Dean Pesnell said:

    The traditional view is that all heating happens higher up in the corona.  The suggestion in this paper is that cool gas is ejected from the sun’s surface in spicules and gets heated on its way to the corona. This doesn’t mean the old view has been completely overturned, but this is a strong suggestion that part of the spicule material gets heated to very high temperatures and provides some coronal heating.

    Spicules were first named in the 1940s, but were hard to study in detail until recently, says Bart De Pontieu of Lockheed Martin’s Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, Palo Alto, Calif. whose work on this subject appears in the January 7, 2011 issue of Science magazine. In visible light, spicules can be seen to send large masses of so-called plasma – the electromagnetic gas that surrounds the sun — up through the lower solar atmosphere or photosphere. The amount of material sent up is stunning, some 100 times as much as streams away from the sun in the solar wind towards the edges of the solar system. But nobody knew if they contained hot gas.

    [Image  Details:  Spicules on the sun, as observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. These bursts of gas jet off the surface of the sun at 150,000 miles per hour and contain gas that reaches temperatures over a million degrees. Credit: NASA Goddard/SDO/AIA]

    Now, De Pontieu’s team — which included researchers at Lockheed Martin, the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado and the University of Oslo, Norway — was able to combine images from SDO and Hinode to produce a more complete picture of the gas inside these gigantic fountains. Tracking the movement and temperature of spicules relies on successfully identifying the same phenomenon in all the images. One complication comes from the fact that different instruments “see” gas at different temperatures. Pictures from Hinode in the visible light range, for example, show only cool gas, while pictures that record UV light show gas that is up to several million degrees.

    To show that the previously known cool gas in a spicule lies side by side to some very hot gas requires showing that the hot and cold gas in separate images are located in the same space. Each spacecraft offered specific advantages to help confirm that one was seeing the same event in multiple images. First, Hinode: In 2009, scientists used observations from Hinode and telescopes on Earth to, for the first time, identify a spicule when looking at it head-on. (Imagine how tough it is, looking from over 90 million miles away, to determine that you’re looking at a fountain when you only have a top-down view instead of a side view.) The top-down view of a spicule ensures an image with less extraneous solar material between the camera and the fountain, thus increasing confidence that any observations of hotter gas are indeed part of the spicule itself.

    The second aid to tracking a single spicule is SDO’s ability to capture an image of the sun every 12 seconds. “You can track things from one image to the next and know you’re looking at the same thing in a different spot,” says Pesnell. “If you had an image only every 12 minutes, then you couldn’t be sure that what you’re looking at is the same event, since you didn’t watch its whole history.”


    [Image Details: Artist’s concept of the Solar Dynamics Observatory. 05/12/08 Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab]

    Bringing these tools together, scientists could compare simultaneous images in SDO and Hinode to create a much more complete image of spicules. They found that much of the gas is heated to a hundred thousand degrees, while a small fraction of the gas is heated to millions of degrees. Time-lapsed images show that this hot material spews high up into the corona, with much of it falling back down towards the surface of the sun. However, the small fraction of the gas that is heated to millions of degrees does not immediately return to the surface.”Given the large number of spicules on the Sun, and the amount of material in the spicules, if even some of that super hot plasma stays aloft it would make a fair contribution to coronal heating,” says Scott McIntosh from NCAR, who is part of the research team.

    Of course, De Pontieu cautions that this does not yet solve the coronal heating mystery. The main result, he says, is that they’re challenging theorists to incorporate the possibility that some coronal heating occurs at lower heights in the solar atmosphere. His next step is to help figure out how much of a role spicules play by studying how spicules form, how they move so quickly, how they get heated to such high temperatures in a short time, and how much mass stays up in the corona. Astrophysicist Jonathan Cirtain, who is the U.S. project scientist for Hinode at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. points out that incorporating such new information helps address an important question that reaches far beyond the sun. “This breakthrough in our understanding of the mechanisms which transfer energy from the solar photosphere to the corona addresses one of the most compelling questions in stellar astrophysics: How is the atmosphere of a star heated?” he says. “This is a fantastic discovery, and demonstrates the muscle of the NASA Heliophysics System Observatory, comprised of numerous instruments on multiple observatories.”

     Hinode is the second mission in NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Probes program, the goal of which is to improve understanding of fundamental solar and space physics processes. The mission is led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The collaborative mission includes the U.S., the United Kingdom, Norway and Europe. NASA Marshall manages Hinode U.S. science operations and oversaw development of the scientific instrumentation provided for the mission by NASA, academia and industry. The Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center is the lead U.S. investigator for the Solar Optical Telescope on Hinode.
     [Source: NASA]

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