baudrunner's space: Let's go to Mars!
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Friday, January 18, 2008

Let's go to Mars!

Mars is a fascinating place. There is a huge canyon there Earthlings are calling Valles Marineris. It is 10 times longer, 5 times deeper, and 20 times wider than Earth's Grand Canyon. It is 3,000 miles long and as deep as Mount Everest is high. Any number of theories exist as to how it got there. I believe that it was probably created during a rapid cooling phase when Mars was first being formed. The effects of solidification and contraction probably cracked the surface there. However, that is not to rule out the same processes that shaped the ocean trenches on Earth, because close scrutiny reveals a ridge running along the center on the canyon floor. Below is an actual image taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Valles Marineris

There is a wealth of Geology there which should give some conclusive insight regarding the nature of Mars and whether life ever originated there.

There are more anomalous features on the planet. There appear to be artificial structures in the region called Ismenia. Close study of the images below definitely piques the curious instinct.

artificial structures on Mars          artificial structures on Mars: Ismenia

I think that a manned mission to Mars can be justified if only on the basis of our thirst for discovery and exploration. Curious minds want to know.

Oil in Mars?

Many people and scientists believe that oil comes from the decayed remains of prehistoric life. If that were the case, then those empty caverns in Texas should not be filling up again with oil, but most of them are. Oil has been found to be seeping through and running down the cavern walls, and some wells have been restarted using advanced technology to reclaim it. They are not the gushers of days past, but profitable nonetheless.

Some scientists believe that oil comes from microscopic life forms called diatoms, which are neither plant nor animal but convert sunlight to energy on the surface of lakes and oceans, then sink and accumulate on the bottom. These scientists reason that they are responsible for the oil we pump because they also contain an oily constituent in their composition. However, elementary science teaches us that oil floats on the surface of water, which is why they are found there in the first place. Secondly, they provide the valuable first link in the important food chain which leads to the higher animals, with baleen whales occupying the topmost position in that chain.

The bottom line is that nobody is really sure where the oil came from.

I recall reading many years ago of a researcher for one of the major oil companies who confirmed through laboratory experimentation using high pressure in an anaerobic environment that oil was actually the waste byproduct of the digestion of the ferrite substrata of the earth's crust by a microbial fungal mold in the oxygen-free environment deep under the surface of the Earth. That sounds like the most plausible explanation to me for where oil comes from. That would mean that oil is actually a replenishable resource, and this would explain the oil trickling down the walls of caverns from what were thought to be depleted wells, but I have no doubt that we are removing it much faster than it is being replaced.

This also suggests that oil can exist in Mars. Mars is a planet rich in iron, and since the process of oil production was occurring in Earth long before surface life evolved, there is no reason to believe that this has not been happening in Mars. It is likely that the original spores of the microbial fungal mold either drifted through our solar system through space many billions of years ago, or hitched a ride on cometary debris while Earth formation was still in its infancy. This would not preclude their existence in Mars. In fact, if that is indeed the case than oil is pretty much guaranteed to be present there.

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