Water

Thinking of Thales

The September 28, 2015’s water flowing on Mars report promulgated on television and in online headers from North America to Great Britain reminded me of the early Greek philosopher Thales who taught that water, H2O, two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen, is the fundamental element without which nothing would exist. So although the NASA reports from every native English speaking place on the planet, more or less, were saying that water on Mars meant the possibility of life on Mars because everybody knows that life needs water, Thales view of water as the universal element implies that there’d be nothing even inanimate things: no rocks, no hills, no roads, no buildings, no clouds, no trains boats or even planes without water. And some time ago I came to realize how water makes things stick together in glue, in mortar in concrete and in cakes thus illustrating how water is essential to the existence of even lifeless objects, all of what people live in, use and are surrounded by in cities and towns. In fact everything people see whether in nature or in man-made cities could not exist, could not stick together or grow without water.

Water on Mars

This morning of September 28, 2015 my Cp24 CTV television channel kept telling me how excited I should be about NASA’s discovery of incontrovertible proof of water flowing on planet Mars implying the real possibility of life beyond planet Earth. I then went to my CBC TV channel and saw that Canada’s own broadcaster seemed just as excited about there being water flowing on Mars. So I tried to get NASA’s online site as I’ve been able to do in the past so that I could learn precisely what NASA scientists said about Mars and water, but this time I kept getting media organizations with The Guardian of England on top followed by CNN then pages of other media files all announcing NASA’s discovery of flowing water on Mars. I then tried to get at the NASA site indirectly so I put Canada’s SkyNews into my Google box but got everything but Canada’s Astronomy magazine. I then tried the U.S.’s Sky and Telescope and got The September 26 to October 3, 2015 edition with an August 25, 2015 article entitled “Scientists Find Ancient Lake on Mars By: Alex Green | August 25, 2015 – See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/scientists-discover-ancient-lakebed-on-mars-0826201534/#sthash.1Ycv5poc.dpuf”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………… Bryan Hynek (University of Colorado, Boulder) and colleagues used spacecraft observations and terrain models to determine that the deposit sits at the bottom of a depression, fed by inflow channels from higher terrain and drained by what looks like a big outflow channel from the depression’s lowest point. As the team argues in August 5th’s issue of Geology, the feature is potentially an ancient impact crater that was degraded and filled by water. The water then evaporated and left the chloride behind. – See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/scientists-discover-ancient-lakebed-on-mars-0826201534/#sthash.1Ycv5poc.dpuf………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… The results of the analysis indicate that the lakebed is no older than 3.6 billion years old. [h]owever, this upper limit slightly contradicts the suggested time period when Mars is thought to have been warm enough to sustain large amounts of water on its surface, an era tha[n] [t] ended roughly 100 million years prior. The presence of a lake during or after this time implies that Mars could still preserve some bodies of water shortly after the planet’s wet climate era ended,.. – See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/scientists-discover-ancient-lakebed-on-mars-0826201534/#sthash.1Ycv5poc.dpuf

So all of this excitement about water on Mars is based on a Martian chloride deposit in an apparent dried up impact crater thought to having been filled by water over 3 billion years ago.

Today September 30; I put NASA, Mars into the search box and finally got NASA.gov and the video I’d seen Monday Sept 28 on CP24 linked to an image titled Journey to Mars with the caption: “NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars” I again tried to get Sky and Telescope’s awareness of NASA’s water flowing on Mars today video and finally got the article “Waterlogged Salts on Mars By: Camille M. Carlisle, September 28, 2015″. Yet I still cannot stop wondering how the August 25, 2015 article Bryan Hynek and colleagues in Sky and Telescope based on the August 5 Geology publication about 3.6 billion year old salt water traces has in just over a month become water flowing on Mars today. Is there any connection between the contents of these two articles? Are NASA’s observations inspired by the findings in the August 5 Geology publication?

Today is October 1, 2015. Since I saw the water flowing on Mars NASA video on CP24 television and CBC’s ecstatic report about water presently flowing on Mars I came across a report published online by a slew of researchers in Nature Geoscience under the header “Spectral evidence for hydrated salts in recurring slope lineae on Mars” dated September 28, 2015; the same day as the NASA video presentation by a another bunch of researchers from NASA. The Geoscience online blurb of September 28 contradicts the unreserved video assertion by television media reports that “NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars” For on that same September 28, 2015,the Geoscience researchers affirm “..,yet no direct evidence for either liquid water or hydrated salts has been found…” The UK “Sky News”, however, quotes a sentence later in the same blurb “…Our findings strongly support the hypothesis that recurring slope lineae form as a result of contemporary water activity on Mars…” But of course these statements are cleared of contradiction by the word“hypothesis”, for though there is as “yet  no direct evidence for either liquid water or hydrated salts” presently on Mars those who made this statement will permit the use of their findings to support the hypothesis that there is water flowing on Mars today, reminding me of the 2013 question in a 2015 Sky and telescope publication: “How Many Times has NASA discovered water on Mars?”Water on MarsBy: The Editors of Sky Telescope | July 16, 2013 For the answer, look in the September 2013 issue, where author Emily Lakdawalla sets the record straight.- See more at: And here’s what she says in her September 2013 introduction to her answer.

Water on Mars? Again?

Didn’t we discover that already? NASA has “discovered water on Mars” so many times over the last two decades that some editors have forbidden their writers from covering the topic. Water on Mars today is easy for anyone to spot: you can see it plainly on Mars through a small telescope. The white polar caps are made mostly of water ice, as are the thin blue-white clouds.In fact, water is everywhere in the solar system. The moons of the outer planets are made mostly of waterice, as are comets and trans-Neptunian objects. Water is bound into the minerals on asteroids and rocky planets.There is even water ice at the surface on the Moon and Mercury. If water is common, why are we fascinated with water on Mars? It’s because most people are not very interested in icenwater, mineral-bound water, and intensely high-pressure water sealed under thick, icy crusts. We want running,swirling, pooling, eroding, dissolving,chemistry-facilitating liquid water. Beyond Earth, Mars is the only place where water has done nearly all of the myriad things that it does non Earth: it has rained, snowed, run off , eroded hills, filled basins, hosted chemistry, and glued sediments into rocks.These sedimentary rocks preserve the evidence of water’s activity billions of years ago.But Mars is not Earth and there are crucial unanswered questions. Did Mars’s liquid water persist for millions of years or more in seas or oceans? And did its presence give life a chance to originate and, for a little while, flourish? If liquid water persisted on Mars, and we don’t find evidence for life there, what does that mean? Those questions have motivated modern Mars exploration.

In 2003 I bought a Barlow eye piece to view Mars when it was at one of its closest approaches to earth, and for days observed its “white polar caps”…”made mostly of water ice”. About the time I was trying to understand how so many news outlets around the planet had been promulgating an hypothesis about water flowing on Mars on September 28, 2015, I read an article suggesting that NASA was suffering from government funding cutbacks and reverted to that old water on Mars theory to warrant the public attention that might lead to an increase in public funding.

The greater problem here is not financial, but media’s uncritical acceptance of what experts tell them and their willingness to teach it.

A Wikipedia page covers what I’ve learned from viewing Mar’s ice caps and what I’ve picked up from media accounts written during the weeks surrounding September 28, 2015. Mar’s cold temperatures explains both the icecaps/frozen water and why liquid water would not be possible today. The idea that Mars was once warmer than it is supports the view that water once flowed on Mars but has since become ice like the ice caps I viewed in 2003. But  because Mar’s climate is so cold today, speculation that vertical grooves/lineae appearing yearly during seasonal warmings, still freezing cold on earth, result from flowing  water do not support even the hypothesis that water is flowing on Mars today. I am not a scientist, however, and so the subtle variations in Martian temperatures that may “anually”cause frozen water to thaw and flow down vertical lineae escape my understanding.



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