The Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area

Mars Thread?
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Author:  BetaDraconis [ Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Mars Thread?

Sure, why not. Sometimes interesting things about Mars get posted online. Like this new gravity map of our red neighbor posted by NASA. ... ravity-map

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

First direct evidence of ancient Mars’s oxygen-rich atmosphere ... atmosphere

“We found 3 per cent of rocks have high manganese oxide content,” Agnès Cousin of the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse, France, told the European Geophysical Union meeting in Vienna, Austria, earlier this week. “That requires abundant water and strongly oxidising conditions, so the atmosphere may have contained much more oxygen than we thought.”

But how long ago was this the case?

One thing to keep in mind is the dichotomy between the martian hemispheres. The southern hemisphere is made up of high plateaus while the northern hemisphere is a huge basin. One theory is Mars was struck by a gigantic object in the north, screwed up its areological cycle. The areological cycle being analogous to the geological cycle of Earth with an active core, flowing mantle, and robust magnetic field. This magnetic field protects our planet from cosmic rays, solar storms, and other phenomenon with the potential of whittling away the hydrogen and oxygen in our ubiquitous oceans.

In short, no magnetic field: no water. No water: no life.

Evidence of martian oxygen is self-evident by Mars's red regolith, made up of iron oxide or rust. More specifically, iron (II) oxide, Fe2O3. Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity have already found tons of this stuff we call hematite. It's good evidence for water, but much stronger for an oxygen atmosphere.

What's crucial for taking an ancient oxygen atmosphere out of the realm of theoretical possibility to reality is the Curiosity rover's discovery, and analysis of manganese oxide on our red neighbor.

To say this is exciting is an understatement!

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Dig those pixels, fam!

Beagle 2: most detailed images yet of lost Mars lander revealed ... r-revealed

IMHO, we should send a rover to trundle over and poke around.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Mon May 02, 2016 12:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Curiosity's First Visit to the Martian Dunes ... n-visuals/

Lots of purty pitchers

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Tue May 03, 2016 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Scientists figured out how water flows on Mars ... 1774225155

The results of a new experiment published today in Nature Geoscience detail how scientists made the finding and what it means. Researchers built a chamber simulating the conditions and atmosphere of Mars, then put ice in there to melt. The ice did melt and the water from it flowed—but there was also a surprise. The surface of the water boiled as it flowed, and that boiling was strong enough to move not just the water but also dirt and debris surrounding the streams. Importantly, temperature was not the major factor in this boiling water, it was due to the pressure of the atmosphere.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Wed May 04, 2016 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

The Giant Volcanoes of Mars ... -mars.html

Purty pitchers from the Planetary Society

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Fri May 06, 2016 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Cloudy with a chance of robots from that blue planet...

A mysterious cloud over Mars has been linked to a massive solar outburst ... r-outburst

A possible explanation for that high-altitude cloud from a few years ago.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Mon May 09, 2016 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Supersharp Mars Photos Show UK's Long-Lost Beagle 2 Lander ... hotos.html

Adventures in image processing!

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Mon May 09, 2016 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

NASA just detected oxygen in the Martian atmosphere ... atmosphere

Who needs spacesuits anyway, eh?

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Wed May 18, 2016 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Mystery of Martian Methane Deepens ... e-deepens/

For a few weeks in late 2013 and early 2014, Curiosity noticed that atmospheric methane—a gas that could possibly be an indication of microbial activity—surged from an average background level of about 0.7 parts per billion all the way up to 7 parts per billion.


(T)he rover's measurements do suggest that much subtler changes in the background methane concentration—amounts much less than during the spike—may follow a seasonal pattern.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Thu May 19, 2016 7:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Evidence of Ancient Tsunamis on Mars

Surf's up.

"For more than a quarter century, failure to identify shoreline features, consistently distributed along a constant elevation, has been regarded as inconsistent with the hypothesis that a vast ocean existed on Mars approximately 3.4 billion years ago," said Alexis Palmero Rodriguez from the Planetary Science Institute in Tuscon, Arizona.

Forget water, it shows that Mars had geological (more appropriately areological) activity causing tsunamis. But did the ocean come before the putative great northern impact?

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Thu May 19, 2016 8:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Which part of Mars is facing us?

There's an app for that.

Author:  JoeStieber [ Thu May 19, 2016 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

That's a handy tool. It bears considerable resemblance to the Sky & Telescope Mars Profiler available here:

Although very similar, each has a few slight differences from the other, so they're complimentary. Note that the S&T profiler opens an extraneous graphic to the right of the actual utility. Ignore it; it's present only when opened from a direct link. When opening it from appropriate page at S&T, the extraneous graphic is absent, but you need to log-in to access it from the S&T page, but no log-in for the direct link above.

BTW, this Mars Mapper works fine in both my Win 7 laptop and my iPhone 5s.

Author:  doctorcos [ Thu May 26, 2016 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

See the difference between the "Sky and Telescope" Profiler and the "Astronomy Now" Mapper. Which one would you want to use to locate the NPC (North Polar Cap)?

File comment: The Mapper software does a much better job of showing the NPC.
Mars 05_26_2016, 12_30 am.JPG
Mars 05_26_2016, 12_30 am.JPG [ 243.42 KiB | Viewed 55406 times ]

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Thu May 26, 2016 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

NASA Radar Finds Ice Age Record in Mars' Polar Cap ... -polar-cap

The new results agree with previous models that indicate a glacial period ended about 400,000 years ago, as well as predictions about how much ice would have been accumulated at the poles since then.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Curiosity's view of Mount Remarkable, in video format.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

This is really interesting, and I want to learn more. An intensive Google search of ~120 seconds has returned nothing so I am turning to my fellow ASTRA members.

The current Mars epoch (a moment in time chosen as the origin of a particular era) began on 12/29/1873, over 50k sols ago.

Terran astronomers often prefer to use Julian dates for timekeeping purposes. This is simply a sequential count of days, bypassing the complications of calendars. The counterpart on Mars was originally known as the Mars Sol Date, or MSD, which is a running count of sols since approximately December 29, 1873. Any start date could be used; however, it should be far enough in the past that all historically recorded events occur after the start. Over time these became known as mDays

What the heck, astronomically or culturally speaking, happened on that day? Does anyone know?

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Oh nevermind. It's the birthdate of Carl Otto Lampland.

He was involved with both of the Lowell Observatory solar system projects, observations of the planet Mars and the search for Planet X.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Spongy minerals could explain why Mars gives off methane burps ... ane-burps/

Olivier Mousis at the Marseille Observatory in France and his colleagues suggest such a storage reservoir could be composed of zeolites: sponge-like minerals with microscopic holes and channels that easily trap and release gases.


Unfortunately, we still haven’t found them. There has been one potential detection from orbit, but it hasn’t been confirmed. And despite searching for them on the ground, Curiosity has yet to find evidence for zeolites in Gale Crater.

Science or sciencey-ness?

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

NASA Mars Orbiters Reveal Seasonal Dust Storm Pattern ... rm-pattern

Dust lofted by Martian winds links directly to atmospheric temperature: The dust absorbs sunlight, so the sun heats dusty air more than clear air. In some cases, this can be dramatic, with a difference of more than 63 Fahrenheit degrees (35 Celsius degrees) between dusty air and clear air. This heating also affects the global wind distribution, which can produce downward motion that warms the air outside the dust-heated regions. Thus, temperature observations capture both direct and indirect effects of the dust storms on the atmosphere.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

A little history from my friend Dr. Beachcombing.

Life on Mars and other Stories ... r-stories/

Lowell was well aware of the mistranslation (of channel to canal), but he nevertheless deduced, to his own satisfaction, that the canals had been built. They had been built, he decided, by a dying civilisation on Mars that wanted to drain water from the icy poles towards the equator in harvest season. What astronomers were seeing, argued Lowell, were not lines in the deserts but blooming vegetation around those lines as water filled the channels.


From the canals Lowell built a whole series of secondary theories including the position of Martian settlements and even speculation about how long it would take a Martian to build the channels in question. Lowell would then – in his talks and his writings – leave science behind and end with a dirge about how Martian life was dying as water was leaving the red planet and how this fate awaited the earth too. There was something very fin d’siècle about Lowell’s Mars.

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

By the way, Lowell's books on Mars are available in your preferred ebook format at the Internet Archive!


Mars and its Canals

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?


Mars as the Abode of Life


Bonus: Tracing the Canals of Mars ... owell.html

Author:  doctorcos [ Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Knowing what season it is on each of Mars' hemispheres is important in understanding the changes in its visible features.

To determine the Martian season, first obtain the Martian solar longitude (Ls) by entering the Earth date in this conversion tool: ... _time.html

Then, go to the first chart that appears in In it, Ls is referred to as the "Areocentric longitude".

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Thread?

Dutch crops grown on 'Mars' soil found safe to eat ... -soil.html

Abundant harvests of radishes, peas, rye and tomatoes all grown on the soil were found to contain "no dangerous levels" of heavy metals, said the team from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

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