It's Only a "Whole New Mars" -- To Them ...
Mars Odyssey Infrared Image of The Hydroates Chaos Region of Mars
(Enterprise Mission Enhancement)
You've got to hand
it to us. When we're right, we're right.
Just as we
told you yesterday, NASA today held a press briefing regarding the
first data returned to Earth from Mars Odyssey 2001 spacecraft. As expected,
what was presented was, quite frankly, nothing less than Earth shattering
(well, Mars shattering at the very least). And, as expected, the
NASA scientists presenting the data made absolutely no issue of the incredibly
bizarre images and data they presented. They just acted like it was ho-hum
It was hardly that.
Almost from the
beginning, many of the scientists at the briefing seemed a bit nervous and
uncertain. Dr. Phillip Christensen, especially, seemed edgy as he presented
images from the infrared camera.
The most significant image presented was of
the Hydaspsis Chaos region of Mars. If that sounds
familiar, it should, it is just a few miles from the Hydroates Chaos Region of Mars (0.9 north, 34.3 west vs.
2 degrees north, by 29 degrees west), the location
of the stunning Phobos 2 image we posted in our story yesterday. So, as we
expected, we got an IR image of virtually the same area exactly 13 years to the
day from the moment Phobos 2 took its picture.
And what a
picture. As Christensen haltingly displayed the image to the assembled media, he
made no mention of the stunning regularity of the terrain -- especially
considering it's dubbed "Chaos"!
Infrared close-up. Bright areas are warmer, darker areas are
colder. North is right in this image.
striking initially is the incredible consistency of the "channels" between the
"sand covered mesas" (how does sand stay on top of a flat "mesa" that is
buffeted by 300 MPH winds from time to time?) in the image. The channels all
seem to be about the same width, and remain incredibly consistent for miles. The
mesas themselves are shockingly geometric, not really what one might expect from
a fluvial erosion process.
But the Devil of
course, is in the details.
"Quick and dirty" close-up enhancements, done
just hours ago, show some very unusual features of these "mesas." There are
regular, geometric "notches", or even openings, in some of them, and others show
signs of being buried foundations for larger objects.
A little further up
in the image is a strange looking "crater" plastered on top of a dark rectangle
with incredibly square edges. Considering that this is not aligned with the
image scan, but is aligned with actual North/South, we're inclined to
doubt this is an image artifact or natural formation. We're also reluctant to
conclude that the "mesas" are just that, and we'll reserve judgment until
we have a chance to look for a visible light image of the same area.
Unfortunately, this was not provided at the press briefing, as is customary, so
it is tough to find such an image on short notice. However, we're reasonably
sure that the Viking image below is of the same area, with the "mesas" in
question near the top (the Phobos 2 image area should also be within the
boundaries of this image).
The visible light
camera on Odyssey should be able to provide color imagery at least 50% better
than the best Viking, so hopefully we'll be able to pinpoint the exact location
of this IR image eventually.
But as cool as the
IR data was, the Gamma Ray Spectrometer data was even more exciting, at least to
us. The GRS has a very coarse resolution and isn't fully deployed yet, but the
team, led by Dr. William Boynton, gathered some data anyway while the instrument
was still in its "parked" position.
Of the data, the
most crucial was the information gathered on "High Energy Neutrons". These types
of Neutrons are typically absorbed by hydrogen -- a key component of water and
water ice -- so by measuring areas with little or no "HEND" return, it is
possible to determine just if, and how, water is distributed on Mars.
High Energy Neutron map from today's press briefing.
Blue areas indicate presence of very few neutrons of this type,
indicating the presence of liquid water or water ice. South Polar
cap is in the center. Other blue areas correspond to Tharsis and
Arabia bulges, precisely as predicted by Mars
As it turns out,
there is a hell of a lot of water, or water ice, on Mars (NASA has argued it is
ice, but already Viking scientist Gilbert Levin has declared victory and argued
persuasively it is liquid water, not ice) . Most of it is clustered (as
expected) in the South Polar cap, but huge amounts of it are also present on two
specific (and bi-modally opposed) areas of the planet --
-- the Tharsis and
Most of you
will recall that these are the two areas where the so-called "water
stains" we first reported on back
in July 2000 were found in greatest abundance. Thanks to the work of Jill
England and Efrain Palermo, who mapped the global distribution of
the "stains," we discovered that they clustered preferentially
around these two enormous bulges in the Martian crust. This observation
led us to conclude that the bulges were in fact artifacts of a former
tidal lock relationship between Mars and a parent planet, and that the
water stains were the remnants of an ancient ocean, bi-modally distributed
and held in place by the tidal forces. We then published these findings
in an 46 page paper posted on our site last year.
Because of our
specific prediction more than six months ago in our paper, that Odyssey
would find exactly this anomalous (beyond our model) water distribution, we can
state categorically that these findings constitute absolute, inviolable
confirmation that our model is correct. It also proves that the work done by
Palermo and England is correct, since the water distribution corresponds
precisely where they have found what are now proven water stain images.
What was stunning
was that neither Boynton nor any members of the assembled press, either because
of ignorance or timidity (is there any
American institution that has fallen into a greater state of disrepair than the
Fourth Estate?), made the slightest note of the fact that the water --
inexplicably for the established conventional models of Mars evolution -- was
distributed on two such prominent features of the Martian landscape. This does
not change the fact that there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- in any
conventional model that can account for this distribution. The only explanation
that fits the data is our Tidal Model.
Even after they had
hyped the data to be presented as a "whole new Mars," and "tremendously
exciting," not one of the scientists bothered to explain just why any of
this constituted a "whole new Mars" --
--and nobody asked!!!!
lack of curiosity by the press to as just what made this data so exciting just
played right into the NASA strategy we predicted last night. NASA's policy is
clearly now one of disclosure -- but unacknowledged disclosure. Only a
thorough inquiry by the press can loosen up the lips of these project
scientists, but since they seem reluctant or incapable of questioning the
Agency, as usual, that task
is left to us. But now we can set about the task with both barrels loaded, and
our powder dry.
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