If this isn't life on Mars, what is it?

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remotexplorer

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Message 173698 - Posted: 2 Oct 2005, 21:47:32 UTC - in response to Message 172226.  

I must admit Rem, that you are a compelling advocate for your case. Thought provoking, impressive analysis, large body of thoughtful work, and a good presentation. Thanks for an excellent post.

It was enough to even give an old skeptic pause.

However, as local demi-god Carl Sagan is quoted "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

I understand that you are careful to say that you are not offering proof, but rather arguing a case for one way to understand these light patterns. Fair enough. Faced with an advocate for one position, I find it helpful to read the arguments of an advocate for the other side, and went googling for such. So far, I have to say that I really did not find much on the other side, except for the NASA "speculations" that you dismiss, and similar commentary to what I am reading in this thread. I'm still looking, but instead, let me take a stab with some alternative options to the question that is the subject of your thread:

"If it is not life on Mars, what is it?".

Consider that most (not all) of your analysis is to support the assertion that the light patterns on mars are consistent with shadows cast by pine tree and bush like structures. Not trees and bushes, but tree-like and bush-like structures.

Consider further that we are dealing with geology that is shaped by extreme conditions of wind, sand, and possibly ancient flowing water and ice. Conditions that are vastly different than earth. However, even on earth - wind, water, sand, and ice can have some interesting and surprising geological results.

Eye of the Needle - Alps
Needle Rock (Isle of Skye)
Stalagmites
More Stalagmites
Ice formations
Utah
Bowling Ball Beach
Bowling Ball Beach
Spider Rock
Mushroom Rock
Finger Rock

When faced with an analysis (which I accept) - like this from your web site:

"Using sun inclination, the height of the surface features creating the shadows was determined to be up to 24 METERS HIGH!"

I still have to ask, when we do ultimately look in that frozen, atmosphere-starved, sand-blasted desert... Is it more likely that we will find a 24 meter high pine tree, or a 24 meter high rock formation in the shape of a pine tree?

Tree Rock

Old skeptic,

Thanks for giving pause. Nice tree rock picture.

I also gave pause when I was sent this link: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/07/snowball_mars/ Maybe large ice/mineral formations are created within the dunes, then as the dunes migrate forward the formations resist wind erosion. NASA says the dunes are not currently moving, but perhaps the movement is just very slow.

Then I remember the rings. How can rocks create a ring shadow? A rock arch would only create a horseshoe. Maybe there is a mineral process that creates very large semi-transparent crystals that would cast ring shadows, that would be almost as interesting as finding trees, but how would the regular spacing be explained?
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/direct.html

Of course, the right answer is to go and look. Can't wait.

Thanks again for the post.




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Message 173700 - Posted: 2 Oct 2005, 21:58:05 UTC - in response to Message 173520.  
Last modified: 2 Oct 2005, 22:00:48 UTC

So lets get a little more precise and just talk about something a little smaller. How about just this galaxy and just intelligent life? Most "true believers" in this forum will still remain steadfast in their cherished belief in the certainty of Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life in something only as big as this galaxy. Clearly if you believe this incarnation of SETI is going to find evidence, then you believe they are in this galaxy, as SETI is currently searching a very very small corner of this one galaxy.

Taking the domain down from an incredibly large Universe down to a single galaxy is kind of like preparing a single microscope slide from a drop of sea water and extrapolating for the entire ocean. Conditions have to be pretty close to "perfect" for life like us to develop. It is reasonable to assume that these conditions have combined more than once in the Universe, but when you single out a particular galaxy, all sorts of random elements come into play. Is this particular drop of sea water representative? Maybe its from a vibrant coral reef... you could find similar drops elsewhere, but they are not not exactly everywhere.

When someone leaps from there "must" be life out there somewhere to there "must" be life where we can find it, they are assuming a homogenous Universe and that we are looking at a representative sample (more like a spoonful of cooking soup, rather than like the ocean example above). I'm not prepared to make the stipulation that our galactic neighborhood is just like all the other neighborhoods.

That said, our star is fairly typical. Our galaxy appears to be fairly typical. There have been enough generations of stars in our galaxy that the heavier elements have been shuffled around sufficiently to produce complex life on at least one planet.
There are three ways to accept this premise and still claim that there is but one world with intelligent life... - Octagon


This, IMO - is where you have taken a bridge too far, Octo, particularly if you accept my modification of talking about just this galaxy. There is a very very big chasm between stipulating pervasive life, and saying that Intelligent life is also pervasive, or even frequent, or even exists more than once in this galaxy.

My reasoning is based on none of your three belief statements. It is based on the simple fact that there is no evidence. Now I understand that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Fine. However, in this one galaxy, absence of evidence is actually a very big problem for anyone who wants to profess belief in ET and have it mean something more than professing a belief in angels or gods or transdimensional beings that are talking to you in your head.

Actually, that is congruent with argument (2) from my original post. To paraphrase: little green men might be out there somewhere, but if they have no impact on us then they might as well not exist.
The reason why "absence of evidence" is a real problem for "true believers" is that this is a very old galaxy. And we live in a relatively young solar system and planet in that galaxy. And as big as it is, it is so old that if there is any reasonable probability of anything else remotely like us (intelligent, and a desire to explore)in this galaxy, they would have and should have been here (Earth) by now. They just would not be this hard to find.

Heavy elements appear to be needed for life processes (at least any that conform to biochemistry that we understand). These require generations of stars to accumulate. We've seen planets circling other stars, but at current resolution we can't make out terrestrial planets like "another Earth." I have noticed that virtually every extrasolar planetary system seems to be "younger" than ours (this probably has to do with current search technology, but it is an intriguing idea that maybe we are among the oldest civilizations, at least within a few thousand lightyears).

It might take this long for a galaxy to develop the conditions for complex life. Even with the "perfect" conditions on Earth, it took billions of years before anyone started building spacecraft. Although a six thousand year recorded history is rounding error in cosmological time, four billion years is not.
I am, of course, talking about the Fermi Paradox.

With a few lucky breaks, it is worth considering that another civilization could have preceeded us by millions of years. A star system needs to accomplish several things before its "children" can colonize the galaxy:

1. Collapse a dust ring into planets
2. Have one of those planets happen to be in the "habitable zone" for the chemicals that it is composed of.
3. Gently deposit, or natively produce, organic compounds (or some other materials that can metabolize).
4. Spark primitive life before the star gets too old to be stable.
5. Have the primitive life get progressively more complex.
6. Establish one species that is so dominant that it can spend time contemplating things like how the world works.
7. Advance in technology enough to develop radio, spacecraft, and fast food restaurants.
8. Avoid blowing itself up with said technology before at least one off-world colony is created.

A vast majority of "living worlds" may be false starts. We could be among the first to get this far. This is more reasonable if the chances for life are not constant, but rather increasing over time. That said, the Fermi Paradox does speak to the fact that it's really unlikely that we are the first.
Which brings me back to ES99's question:

I would love to hear why you are so convinced that we are alone. - ES99


Because if they were out there, we really should be able to detect them.

Because, if they were out there, they really should be here by now.

Because there is no evidence.

Because "occam's razor" suggests that the simplest explanation is often the right explanation. And the simplest explantion for why we do not see any evidence of their existence, is that they simply do not exist.

The problem with Occam's Razor is that it assumes a more or less constant state of knowledge. At one time, it was quite obvious to everyone that the world was flat. It looked flat, so the simplest explanation was that it was flat. Then someone noticed how shadows were different in different parts of the land. The simplest way to look flat but have different shadows is an extremely large ball. But of course that ball was the center of the Universe. That was the simplest explanation, since everything seemed to revolve around it.

SETI@home is looking for an intentional beacon from a civilization that somewhat resembles ours. If there was only ONE message, and it arrived in 1340BC, then all would be lost. The presumption is that such a signal would be repeating or continuous, even if it was not meant for us (such as a navigational aid). As our tools improve, we'll be able to look for signs of life that depend on fewer and fewer anthropomorphic assumptions.

Even if there's nothing in this particular drop of seawater, that doesn't prove there's nothing in the rest of the ocean. There is very valid debate on whether two intelligent civilizations would be close enough to communicate, but it is no more valid to assume they can't be very close than it is to assume that they must be.

(edit for grammar)
No animals were harmed in the making of the above post... much.
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Message 173701 - Posted: 2 Oct 2005, 22:00:16 UTC

All,
Guess I need to learn how to reply within a thread... didn't do to well with the reply to Skeptic.

If anyone knows how to create a 3D surface image out of multiple images of the same spot, take a look at this Brown U. site:

http://www.planetary.brown.edu/planetary/international/micro41.html

I also discuss these MGS images at this page:

http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/dune.html

If someone could make a 3D image of the surface using stereo image techniques, it should make the trees shapes stand out. That should get some attention.






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Message 179501 - Posted: 18 Oct 2005, 3:48:57 UTC

"I must admit Rem, that you are a compelling advocate for your case. Thought provoking, impressive analysis, large body of thoughtful work, and a good presentation. Thanks for an excellent post." Skeptic.

Thanks for the support, Skeptic. Here's a recent article I ran across that might lend more support to my case.

WORLD SCIENCE ARTICLE ABOUT LIFE (RNA) ORIGINATING ON ICE
http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/050809_icefrm.htm

Regards, Remotexplorer

View a 10-minute QuickTime movie of life on Mars:
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/iMovieTheater19.html

Even USGS remote sensing analysts agree the spots around northern dunes on Mars are bushes or shrubs!
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/trees2005.html

More MGS MOC images and analysis:
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/moundsonmars/Personal4.html
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Message 198194 - Posted: 29 Nov 2005, 3:26:04 UTC

I think that "remoteexplorer" has done a very good job on pointing out how interesting these amazing images are, and has build up a very strong case by analyzing the features in the images.
While I think that just from the images it is not possible to proof that these structures are _living_ beings, it seems quite clear that there are big structures and that the idea that they cast shadows is very reasonable. And if they cast shadows, we can learn a lot about their size and shape by analyzing their shadows, as done by "remoteexplorer".
The idea of analyzing shadows of objects is used in remote sensing of the Earth as well. An example are icebergs in the ocean where the iceberg is surrounded by sea ice (floating ice floes). While the iceberg and the ice floes are not always well distinguishable (both are more or less "white" at certain wavelengths), the iceberg casts a shadow that allows to estimate the height of the part of the iceberg that is above sea level. So, the techniques applied by "remoteexplorer" are among the accepted tools of remote sensing science.
I guess the proof whether the structures are somehow biological or not requires an expedition of a vehical that investigates them at very close distance. Meanwhile, we can try to get the utmost information out of these images. And I would suggest that open-minded scientists of the remote-sensing community have a closer look at the images. Although there is still the possibility that the structures turn out as dead rock or similar, it is certainly worth a try. And it would identify a target for future missions.
Finally, I would like to ask whether the exact same dunes have been photographed more than once, e.g., at different solar angles or at different seasons. Seeing the same objects at different times would give us even more ideas what they might be.
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Message 198457 - Posted: 29 Nov 2005, 12:40:25 UTC

Here is my own argument on life outside Earth, and my supposed role that NASA should be assuming in the eventual discovery of it.

The Absence of Science

I sure commend everyone here for the logical approach you take with one another in the debate. It is refreshing to locate an intelligent group, willing to debate the matter intelligently with such intelligent views from both intelligent sides.

Joseph Dougherty
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Cruel and Wonderful World
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Message 198476 - Posted: 29 Nov 2005, 13:09:09 UTC - in response to Message 198457.  
Last modified: 29 Nov 2005, 13:10:15 UTC

Here is my own argument on life outside Earth, and my supposed role that NASA should be assuming in the eventual discovery of it.

The Absence of Science

I sure commend everyone here for the logical approach you take with one another in the debate. It is refreshing to locate an intelligent group, willing to debate the matter intelligently with such intelligent views from both intelligent sides.

Joseph Dougherty
Los Angeles, California
Cruel and Wonderful World


I enjoyed reading your post. If you where interested in the subject of this thread, then perhaps you might find the discussion in this thread also interesting.



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Message 198513 - Posted: 29 Nov 2005, 14:12:01 UTC

Really an interesting topic with thorough work behind. Thanks for being able to reading it.

"Can't wait when we take a look at it!"

Peter
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Message 198938 - Posted: 29 Nov 2005, 23:08:28 UTC

There is life on mars... just not anything we can see

there is such things as bacteria which are living
nasa has discovered them living in the soil of mars
sorry on the lack of a link all i know is that i saw it on the 11pm news a few years ago...

BoB


Do you Good Search for Seti@Home? http://www.goodsearch.com/?charityid=888957
Or Good Shop? http://www.goodshop.com/?charityid=888957
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Message 199576 - Posted: 30 Nov 2005, 22:29:59 UTC - in response to Message 198938.  

There is life on mars... just not anything we can see

there is such things as bacteria which are living
nasa has discovered them living in the soil of mars
sorry on the lack of a link all i know is that i saw it on the 11pm news a few years ago...

BoB


BoB,

I think you are getting mixed up with the things that they found on mars that looked like the fossils of bacteria. There is still controversy as to whether they were fossils or just regular formations in the structure of the rock. :-)
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Message 200141 - Posted: 1 Dec 2005, 14:56:40 UTC - in response to Message 198938.  

There is life on mars... just not anything we can see

there is such things as bacteria which are living
nasa has discovered them living in the soil of mars
sorry on the lack of a link all i know is that i saw it on the 11pm news a few years ago...

BoB

I dug up an old news story about the "life on Mars" discovery: http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/space/SpaceRepublish_252236.htm

They found crystal structures inside a meteor from Mars that, on Earth, can only be produced by life processes. The crystal structure was encased inside rocks that had not been infiltrated by terrestrial organisms, meaning that the structure originated on Mars.

There is still the possibility that some exotic, but nonliving, process created the crystal structures. The news story goes on to assume that since the Earth organisms that make these crystals require oxygen, this metoerite may be evidence that there was atmospheric oxygen on Mars in the past. This is a bit of a stretch even for exobiologists. Even if the cystal formation required oxygen as a catalyst, there is plenty of elemental oxygen in Mars's signature red soil.

Primitive life is the simplest explanation for what was found, but it is not the only explanation. We certainly can't make assumptions about that primitive life based solely on how similar creatures on Earth happen to behave.
No animals were harmed in the making of the above post... much.
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Message 202282 - Posted: 3 Dec 2005, 20:56:55 UTC

I followed the second link from the top message in the thread until I found this:

all the elements necessary for life are present: water (as ice), carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, temperatures above freezing, and sunshine.


So oxygen is no longer necessary for life?

This is bogus.
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Message 202308 - Posted: 3 Dec 2005, 21:59:08 UTC - in response to Message 202282.  

I followed the second link from the top message in the thread until I found this:

all the elements necessary for life are present: water (as ice), carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, temperatures above freezing, and sunshine.


So oxygen is no longer necessary for life?

This is bogus.


Ever heard of anaerobic bacteria? One of the earliest life forms on earth.

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Message 202323 - Posted: 3 Dec 2005, 22:28:30 UTC - in response to Message 202282.  

So oxygen is no longer necessary for life?

This is bogus.[/quote]

Actually, the early-Earth's atmosphere was mostly carbon-dioxide and there was very little oxygen present, then the microbes came along and were actually responsible for creating our oxygen-rich atmosphere: http://www.livescience.com/othernews/051118_early_earth.html

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Message 202510 - Posted: 4 Dec 2005, 4:52:19 UTC

Thanks for keeping an open mind. Even if these 20 meter high "mounds" turn out not to be life, they are still interesting and unexplained features.


HERE IS A DECEMBER 2005 RESPONSE TO MY LIFE ON MARS? WEB PAGES.
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/iMovieTheater19.html

Hello,

I am a physicist, and some 5 years ago I worked in the climate
research,
especially the climate of polar regions (on Earth). I have read some of
your analyses posted on your web site and in the SETI discussion forum,
and I think the images are really interesting and you have made a
strong
case that is worth a serious considering. At the moment I am not sure
if
one can really conclude that the structures in the images are
necessarily of biological nature. Anyway, the images are very
interesting, and the analysis as well. Even if the structures are not
alive, they are worth a thorough investigation.

If you have any updates of your research, I would like to be informed
(e.g., please send me links or PDF files if you like). I will try to
ask
some people from the remote sensing science what they think about your
analysis, and will keep you informed if I get a serious feedback.

HERE IS MY REPLY WITH LINKS AND NEW INFORMATION:
Hello,

Thanks for the email. I think it would be great if
you could interest some remote sensing people in
investigating the features around the dunes. I have a
physicist brother-in-law in Germany who also agreed
two years ago that I had a convincing case for
features on the surface casting shadows. REF my paper and
synopsis submitted to the 2004 Lunar and Planetary
Institute Annual Meeting:

www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2004/pdf/1027.pdf
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/moundsonmars/index%20copy%203.html

I also have looked for repeat images. The first one I
found is in the LPI.pdf above. Image E18-00494 and
E1600714. The sun direction doesn't change, but the
inclination varied from 61.4 deg to 71.8 deg. I made
a length of shadow comparison, but the images are a
bit too blurry and it is not that conclusive.

On my dune monitoring webpage
http://homepage.mac.com/alandmoen/ringsonmars/dune.html
there are four images of the same location taken
between March 2004 and June 2004. When I created the
webpage only one of the four images was available with
technical data, so I couldn't make any detail studies.
But I looked last night and now the data is available
for all four images. As is the case with most of
these images, NASA takes them at 12 noon local time to
get the maximum light/exposure. The time for these
are 12.64 decimal hours, 12.94, 13.11, and 12.79.
I'd like to see shadows at 3,
6, 9, and 12. But we take what we can get. The data
for the four images is at:

http://msss.com/moc_gallery/r10_r15/images/R15/R1502661.html

http://msss.com/moc_gallery/r16_r21/images/R16/R1601771.html

http://msss.com/moc_gallery/r16_r21/images/R16/R1601877.html

http://msss.com/moc_gallery/r16_r21/images/R17/R1701459.html

As I was searching for the four images above, I came
across two others nearby that would be great
candidates for finding a matching image. The local
time is 3.63 and 3.73 decimal hour. The image numbers
are R20-00814 and R20-01520.

When I was working at a golf course in Germany, I had
plenty of time to work on this discovery. But now
that I'm back to being an aerospace engineer I don't
have much time. It would be great if someone could
pick up where I left off.

On a bright note, when I was searching for dune images
with spots in 2003 it took me several weeks to locate
10 good images. Last night I was searching the Spring
2004 images and I found 10 good images in 5 minutes.
Either NASA has gotten better at targeting or the
weather/cloud cover was better in 2004. So there are
a lot of new images to investigate... wish I had time
to do more.

Here is the msss.com link to the 2004 images of the
northern regions:
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/r16_r21/mc01.html
Just click on the blue dots or lines to see if the image is
promising.

Best regards
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Message 202774 - Posted: 4 Dec 2005, 16:21:52 UTC - in response to Message 172221.  


FEB 2005
I decided there was a huge scientific bias that life did NOT exist on mars, and that scientists would not give an unbiased analysis of the NASA images. So I decided to send MGS MOC dune/spot images to USGS remote sensing scientists without telling them they were Mars images. I gave them the scale/size and asked them if the spots were dark dust, tree shadows, or something else. Four scientists responded that the spots in the Mars images were shadows and or bushes/shrubs.


The search for truth begins with an open mind.


Your too hard on yourself. Take a deep breath and rest asured that there is NO life on Mars. Your pictures are NOT of shrubs. You have proven nothing. Granted, you say that even USGS remote sensing analysts agree the spots around northern dunes on Mars are bushes or shrubs, but, they are REMOTE SENSING! Step out of sci-fi/fantasy and into the real world.

Come on Mulder, Mars is dead and Big-Foot doesn't walk the Rockies. You are biased toward life being on Mars. Open your mind and look for EVIDENCE and PROOF not magic and fantasy.
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Message 202789 - Posted: 4 Dec 2005, 16:40:05 UTC
Last modified: 4 Dec 2005, 17:36:11 UTC

Check Out This Mars Photo

Here is an interesting Mars photo, taken from the NASA Web site. You may have to right-click the image placeholder (then select "Show Picture") in order to view it.



If you peer downward, toward the shaded area (color provided by NASA), you see this:



And, more closely...



To view this image from the source yourself, take this link: Nicholas Crater H

And, if that doesn't astound you, there is always this action photo recently captured by the "Spirit" rover:



The silver lining to this reality is that our advanced counterparts, obviously, practice freedom of speech, even in the open context of demonstrations. (Whew!)



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Message 202993 - Posted: 4 Dec 2005, 20:42:57 UTC

It is only a few years ago that life forms have been found in the deep sea, around some hot spots, living without oxygen. Today we know that there are quite some places where these organisms live, and that they can build amazingly large and complex structures. -
So, while we have the experience that in many cases structures turn out to be dead rock, in other cases they turn out to be life forms where they were hardly expected. We should base our judgement on facts, but have an open mind not to exclude things to early that are hard to believe. -
Imagine that you look at Earth from a large distance. How many details would you need to see before you can judge whether there is life on Earth or not? Would you say that an image of New York, taken from space, shows obvious signs of life?
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Message 203019 - Posted: 4 Dec 2005, 21:05:31 UTC

If this isn't life on Earth, what is it? Enter the coordinates
18.344668N, 66.752586W
in Google Earth and try if you see signs of intelligent life.
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Message 204346 - Posted: 6 Dec 2005, 3:30:07 UTC - in response to Message 203019.  

If this isn't life on Earth, what is it? Enter the coordinates
18.344668N, 66.752586W
in Google Earth and try if you see signs of intelligent life.


Heres signs of intelligent life on earth...and proud of it
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