June 28th, 2007 by Barry Eaton
NASA Images Suggest Flowing Water on Mars
The quest to confirm the existence of liquids on Mars has been ongoing for decades; it was known to host water billions of years ago and water is has been found to exist there in the form of ice, but the latest images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) indicate that water may not only be present, but running down the Martian hills.
Newly released photographs from a variety of different locations across the southern latitudes of the Red Planet show dark streaks, known as “recurring slope lineae” or RSL, that appear to course down inclines in the same manner as flowing liquid.
“The flow of water, even briny water, anywhere on Mars today would be a major discovery, impacting our understanding of present climate change on Mars and possibly indicating potential habitats for life near the surface on modern Mars,” Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Scientist Richard Zurek said in the release.
Chemical evidence reveals that the streaks become more prominent during the Martian warm season, and recede as temperatures plummet, in much the same way as water levels might fluctuate in response to changes in temperature.
“Normally when you come up with something new in science, there’s always a controversy” said Lujendra Ojha, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and the lead author of the paper reporting the new results in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Ojha said of the dark streaks: “no one has come out with a hypothesis that can explain these features without water. It’s a very hard thing to explain without water.”
In a study published in the journal Science in 2011, a team led by Lujendra Ojha revealed evidence based on data from the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that indicated the dark streaks were possible saltwater flows on Mars. It was originally thought that these RSIs could be attributed to landslides of thawing ice or accumulated rocks and sediment, but there is a distinct possibility that they show the release of water breaking through the surface and flowing down the slopes.
Whilst the presence of water has yet to be determined, evidence obtained from MRO’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) has shown iron residues on the slopes where RSIs appear. CRISM works by assessing the way that different substances absorb light at distinct wavelengths, and Ojha’s team found light absorption characteristics that were consistent with iron-containing substances. This could indicate that the water could contain an iron sulfate mixture – ferric sulfate – that acts as a form of “anti-freeze” preventing the water from freezing in the intensely cold Martian temperatures.
The light absorption readings fluctuated according to the seasons, said Ojha: “Just like the RSL themselves, the strength of the spectral signatures varies according to the seasons. They’re stronger when it’s warmer and less significant when it’s colder,” he explained. “Something in these areas is actually causing the spectroscopic signature to fluctuate as well,”
He believes that water provides the best explanation for this, with flowing water being released from underground, and then evaporating during the course of the Martian day leaving only the residue behind. Other non-liquid causes are possible, however, such as variations in the Martian atmosphere the accumulation of particles.
“We still don’t have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL, although we’re not sure how this process would take place without water,” Ojha said in a statement from NASA.
THE COLOURS OF MERCURY
THE COLORS OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM’S INNERMOST PLANET ARE ENHANCED IN THIS TANTALIZING VIEW, BASED ON GLOBAL IMAGE DATA FROM THE MERCURY-ORBITING MESSENGER SPACECRAFT.
HUMAN EYES WOULD NOT DISCERN THE CLEAR COLOR DIFFERENCES BUT THEY ARE REAL NONE THE LESS, INDICATING DISTINCT CHEMICAL, MINERALOGICAL, AND PHYSICAL REGIONS ACROSS THE CRATERED SURFACE.
NOTABLE AT THE UPPER RIGHT, MERCURY’S LARGE, CIRCULAR, TAN COLORED FEATURE KNOWN AS THE CALORIS BASIN WAS CREATED BY AN IMPACTING COMET OR ASTEROID DURING THE SOLAR SYSTEM’S EARLY YEARS.
THE ANCIENT BASIN WAS SUBSEQUENTLY FLOODED WITH LAVA FROM VOLCANIC ACTIVITY, ANALOGOUS TO THE FORMATION OF THE LUNAR MARIA.
COLOR CONTRASTS ALSO MAKE THE LIGHT BLUE AND WHITE YOUNG CRATER RAYS, MATERIAL BLASTED OUT BY RECENT IMPACTS, EASY TO FOLLOW AS THEY EXTEND ACROSS A DARKER BLUE, LOW REFLECTANCE TERRAIN.
Pilot says Cigar-shaped Object flew Straight for his A320 Airbus Passenger Jet JANUARY 05, 2014
Unexplained… The pilot of the Airbus reported the incident to air traffic control immediately.
A PILOT has reported a close encounter with a “rugby ball-like” UFO that passed within just a few feet of his passenger jet. The incident happened about 20 miles west of London’s Heathrow airport at around6pm local time in July last year.
The pilot of the A320 Airbus saw the object flying straight for him and was so certain of a collision he ducked at the last minute, UK’s Sunday Telegraph reported.
He reported the close call to air traffic control and the incident was later investigated by the UK Airprox Board, which studies “near misses” in UK airspace.
“He was under the apprehension that they were on collision course with no time to react,” the Airprox report states. “His immediate reaction was to duck to the right and reach over to alert the FO (First Officer); there was no time to talk to alert him.”
The pilot told investigators the object was “cigar/rugby ball-like” in shape, bright silver and metallic.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, Airprox ran checks on data recordings but could find no other aircraft in the area at the time. Meteorological balloons and military aircraft were also ruled out.
The paper said the head of the UK National Air Traffic Control Services admitted in 2012 that one unexplained flying object was reported on average every month.
Weird object hints at Saturn’s moon-making skill
23:12 10 December 2013 by Lisa Grossman, San Francisco For similar stories, visit the Solar System and Saturn and its moons Topic GuidesA rebellious moon might have just popped out of Saturn’s rings. Images from a NASA spacecraft show a disturbance along the rings’ edge that is probably being caused by an unseen object stirring up the icy bands. The region has since quietened down, suggesting that we may have witnessed the birth of a small moon.Models had previously shown that Saturn’s rings might double as moon factories. Material on the outer edge of a ring could clump up and grow into an object large enough to hold together under its own gravity. The newly made moon could then migrate away to become an independent satellite. This process could be how Saturn made the family of small moons that orbit close to – and sometimes inside – its famous rings, but so far no one has seen the factory in action.Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London and colleagues were looking at pictures of the small moon Prometheus taken by NASA’s Cassini orbiter. In an image from 15 April, they noticed an unexpected distortion in the A ring, the outermost of the planet’s thick, bright rings. “I’d never seen anything quite like this at the edge of the A ring,” Murray said today during a talk at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Vanishing act Searching through earlier images of the A ring, Murray found 107 images of the distortion taken since June 2012. Dozens of similar patterns, shaped like aircraft propellers, have been spotted deeper in Saturn’s A ring, further from the edges. Astronomers think they are the wakes left by moons that are too small to be seen directly that are ploughing through the rings. Murray nicknamed the unusual object causing the A-ring distortions Peggy, after his mother-in-law, because he analysed the first sighting on her 80th birthday. Peggy could be a moon in the making tugging at the edge of the A ring, he says. “We can’t see the object, but it’s pushing ring material around, which we can see,” says Matthew Hedman at the University of Idaho in Moscow, a member of the Cassini imaging team who was not involved in Peggy’s discovery. Unfortunately we may never know the object’s true fate. Murray hasn’t found the bright spot in later images of the A ring, and it is possible the nascent clump was destroyed in a collision. But it is equally likely that it became a moon that has since moved too far from the ring to be noticeable. Peggy would be less than a kilometre wide, so if it has escaped from the A ring it is probably too tiny for Cassini’s cameras to spot. Even if we never see it again, though, Peggy has already left its mark. The Cassini team plans to search for similar objects along the edges of Saturn’s rings in the coming months, in the hope of spying more potential moons being born. “It’s not clear if Peggy is unique, but it is special,” Hedman says.
Crop Circles Are No Hoax, Concludes Historian After Studying Google Earth’s New 1945 Overlay (PICTURES)
Crop circles dating back to 1945 are proof the phenomenon is no modern hoax, a Tasmanian historian claims.
The mystery of the increasingly intricate patterns was supposedly solved after several high-profile cases were revealed to be the work of artists and mischief-makers armed with barrels, planks of wood and plenty of spare time.
A crop circle in Halesowen. Greg Jefferys estimates this one to be about ten meters in diameter. He points out the shadow on its south east perimeter corresponds precisely with the shadows cast by the trees and hedges and that the quality of the image is high enough to show there are no tracks through the grain crop leading to or from the crop circle
(FYI, crop circles have also been blamed on unusual weather patterns, top secret military experiments and, er, stoned wallabies.)
But research by Greg Jefferys
has revealed evidence of the strange circles in the English countryside at least 33 years before Chorley and Bower took credit for the phenomena – which until then had been attributed to UFOs and alien activity.
Jefferys, who has a degree in archaeology, was prompted to research the matter after reading a report on crop circles in an 1880 edition of the science journal Nature