SETI The Oceans of Mars

Larry Klaes (
Mon, 07 Jun 1999 18:11:55 -0400

The Boston Globe for June 7, 1999, has an article on the latest evidence that Mars once had oceans of liquid water. The Web page URL: _with_martian_ocean_theory+.shtml Some quotes: Not that any of the new data can actually prove that there was an ocean on the surface of Mars long ago. For clear proof, humans may need to travel to Mars and dig deeply into the basins in search of evidence of an accumulation of water-borne sediments, or of a high water table or extensive permafrost in the region. ''I'm guessing we'll have to visit,'' Smith said. ... All of this is good news for those who hope to find signs of life on Mars. If there was indeed an ocean there, most scientists think it would only have existed for a brief period just after the planets were formed - the time when life is believed to have originated very rapidly on Earth. If the same kind of conditions existed on Mars at that time, some biologists think it would be surprising if life had not begun there. And if there was life, Head said in an interview, it is unlikely that it could have been completely eliminated. An abundance of evidence that has accumulated in recent years makes it ever more clear that living organisms are incredibly difficult to eliminate. They can survive in a much wider range of seemingly destructive conditions than any biologist would have dared to claim even a few decades ago. ''There's no way to autoclave a planet,'' Head said, referring to the equipment used to kill bacteria and viruses on surgical instruments. In other words, once life begins, it is almost impossible to wipe out. Artic Base Tests Mars Mission: tml An article by Andrew J. Lepage, "Oceanus Borealis: New Facts for a Myth?", from the June, 1999 issue of New Mars - A Journal of the Martian Frontier: My favorite new word: Paleoshores. SCIENCE BRIEFS Real warp drives? By Stephen Reucroft and John Swain, Globe Correspondents, 06/07/99 Warp drives, science-fiction propulsion systems that work by shrinking space in front of a spaceship and expanding it behind, could possibly go faster than the speed of light. Early work by Michael Alcubierre in 1994 explored some of the conditions necessary for the technology, but later work found it would take all the energy in the universe to accomplish the task. Now Chris Van Den Broeck of the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium, has shown that with a simple modification of Alcubierre's ideas, only a few grams of exotic matter could do the trick. Exotic here means matter having negative mass - something forbidden in classical physics, but perhaps allowed by the laws of quantum mechanics. While the work is still speculative, it's exciting news both for Star Trek fans and for those who yearn to visit other worlds. ref: e-print archive, preprint gr-qc/9905084, June 1, 1999.

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