The Mars Thread

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by huggle » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:39 am

poor rover :(
Maybe the next expedition can repair it?
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:03 pm

Someday there will be a historical site there and he will never lack for company. :yes:
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Orpheus » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:53 am

Though it contains a fair bit of handwaving, I think the following article is worth a skim:

Manasvi Lingam, Abraham Loeb. "Implications of Captured Interstellar Objects for Panspermia and Extraterrestrial Life" arXiv:1801.10254v1 [astro-ph.EP] (PDF)

The take-home for me was that simulations and calculations suggest that there may be thousands of captured extra-solar bodies in the Solar System at present, with diameters up to 10s of km. The panspermia was just icing.

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:53 pm

And, even weirder, Alpha Centauri may have a bunch of Earth-sized interlopers in its system.

Panspermia still seems pretty dubious to me, given the forces involved in ejecting material from planets and the environment (and time scales) through which they would have to travel to impact on another planet. I think if it happens at all, it's probably an insignificant factor in life throughout the universe.
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by huggle » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:08 pm

I agree. I rather think that chemical reactions follow the same pattern everywhere in the universe and so similar environments have similar developments. That'd explain why amino acids and proteins can be found on several planets. A parallel evolution, not an externally induced one.
On the other hand it's interesting that tardigrades and some bacteria can survive being frozen at absolute zero and in a vacuum. But that's perhaps just an evolutionary accident - an exaggerated adaption to life in high altitudes including the atmosphere - as these organisms often spread by wind and are exposed to extreme UV rates which trigger genetic aberrations.
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:35 pm

And suppose some Tardigrades did get swept out of the atmosphere and got transported to Mars-- could they survive? What do Tardigrades eat? There's no ecology for them to live in, so they'd probably either die or go back into hibernation.
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Orpheus » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:11 am

Gosh all that talk about Curiosity up to the 13th, and we didn't say anything on its 5000 sol anniversary on the 17th.

I feel bad. Its accompanying Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is getting a tune-up, but the rover didn't get so much as a chocolate truffle.

I'm linking a YouTube video here instead of embedding, because ReNext isn't set up for timecodes, and the relevant update starts at 9min 20secs.

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:30 am

I'm constantly amazed at the improvisational schemes these guys come up with to upgrade old technology from millions of miles away. Curiosity and the other rovers should definitely get medals for stamina, though-- they have done amazing work.

And I've actually been pronouncing "sol" correctly all this time, even though I've been told I was wrong. :lol:
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Orpheus » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:38 am

Where is Spaceman's Tesla Roadster? (scroll down for exact numbers)

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:18 pm

Oh, nice. I should have known there would be a tracking site. I'll bookmark that. I like how it updates in real time (based on extrapolated numbers, of course).

Come to think of it, I wonder if Celestia has added a Roadster module. :lol:
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by huggle » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:46 pm

RJDiogenes wrote:And suppose some Tardigrades did get swept out of the atmosphere and got transported to Mars-- could they survive? What do Tardigrades eat? There's no ecology for them to live in, so they'd probably either die or go back into hibernation.
They could survive the climate and radiation. But they'd starve as they are strict vegetarians. Their equivalent of jaws is a stiletto-like construction that enables them to cut through tough cell walls and eat the plasma. They prefer moss but can in emergencies survive on bluegreen algae that often grow on moist soil. In bad times they fall into hibernation and during that time lose more than 95% of their water: they literally mummify. As soon as they get wet, they revive. The lack of liquid water on Mars would pose a problem for them. However, we might be able to successfully introduce them to watery worlds, even extremely cold ones. It's unknown how long they can survive in their mummified state. So far a decade proved to be no problem for them. They even survive a few months in liquid nitrogen. Pretty cool organisms :)
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:07 pm

They are amazing. Definitely a model organism for nanotechnology. We could send a swarm of engineered Tardigrades (with a supply of tasty moss) to Mars to build things for us. :D
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Orpheus » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:15 pm

Be careful. That's how the Vogon Constructor Fleet got started.

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:42 pm

Nanotechnology is our friend!
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Lupine » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:31 pm

What I wrote way back in 2010:
It'd only make sense that Phobos would be running into junk being blasted off the Martian surface. But this makes me wonder: could Phobos itself be a giant piece of ejecta? There are some sizable impact basins on Mars (namely Hellas and Argyre).
And today's headline. Not that I'm bragging. :D

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:33 pm

Congratulations. Maybe they'll name a mons after you. :D

I'm a little surprised. Those moons sure look like asteroids. But if it's true, things must have looked very interesting in the centuries after that impact. It doesn't say when the impact might have taken place, but I wonder what effect it would have had on the Martian seas and atmosphere. It might have been the death blow to Mars's chances to be an Earth-like world.
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Lupine » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:29 pm

NASA is planning a new conference about Curiosity on Thursday.
https://www.space.com/40792-nasa-mars-r ... e=facebook
Something exciting? Or NASA over-hyping things again?

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:15 pm

Interesting. The article says that it recently started drilling again, on the side of a three-mile high mountain. It probably found something that is intriguingly, but not definitively, indicative of an ancient fossil, but could also be explained by various geological processes, and so proves nothing conclusive and adds no additional weight to existing conjecture, but which can be discussed and debated endlessly.

And, wow, Curiosity has been at work for nearly eight years now!
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Lupine » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:23 pm

RJDiogenes wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:15 pm
Interesting. The article says that it recently started drilling again, on the side of a three-mile high mountain. It probably found something that is intriguingly, but not definitively, indicative of an ancient fossil, but could also be explained by various geological processes, and so proves nothing conclusive and adds no additional weight to existing conjecture, but which can be discussed and debated endlessly.
:lol: Looks like you got an early preview!

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:51 pm

Spoilers! :D
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:29 pm

Well, I was close. :lol:

But this is all great news-- still more evidence bolstering ancient and present life, and nothing to contraindicate it. The complex organics are a very good sign, especially close to the surface. The seasonal methane blooms are not new, so I'm not sure why that was included in the article, but I personally find that to be very strong evidence for contemporary life.
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Lupine » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:21 pm

I think was was new with the methane plumes was that they are repeating in the same area. Also a positive sign. But most importantly is that life can't be excluded as a source of the carbon.

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by RJDiogenes » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:41 am

The way I understood the methane plumes was that they appeared in certain areas in the Spring, when things warmed up a bit. Maybe there's more information beyond what was summarized in the article.
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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Orpheus » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:50 pm

"Organic molecules? It's a cover-up. Curiosity was burying a Martian cat he had run over.

We all knew it was inevitable... Curiosity is the nicest rover you'd ever hope to meet, unless you're a cat.

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Re: The Mars Thread

Post by Lupine » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:29 pm

^Actually it was a squirrel, but no one wants to talk about that.

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