back to article Curiosity team: Massive collision may have killed Red Planet

Dual tests by instruments on the Curiosity rover, combined with data from the first Viking probes and Mars meteorites that have fallen to Earth, suggests that the Red Planet lost its atmosphere within the first billion years of its history, according to two papers in the latest issue of Science. Curiosity's tunable laser …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Palf

    What can evolve in a billion years? On Earth, quite a lot. On Mars, maybe more.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      You can get to photosynthesis, but Mars is smaller and colder, so the laboratory needs more time.

      Now, if Pluto rammed Mars, wouldn't that have zeroed the surface of the whole ball and be evident??

      1. fandom Silver badge

        It is evident

        One theory is that the impact was so great that it stopped Mars' core from spinning, pretty much killing all possibility of life there.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Unhappy

          It is evident that Mars looks like the icon on the right.

          And for linking to "http://electric-cosmos.org/" ... WTF man? Bizarro stuff some guy makes up in his basement ahoi!

          Anything else?

          1. fandom Silver badge

            Anything else?

            Of course, how could there not be something else. It takes about a minute at Google to find it.

            Although I have to admit that I linked to the wrong photo.

            "Bizarro stuff some guy makes up in his basement ahoi!"

            You got to admit that some random guy in a basement sending a probe to Mars to take photos is quite an impressive feat.

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Dear fandom...

              Finally a good link

              Unfortunately it is marred somewhat by the second link to WiseGeek where the author is terminally confused about the Northern Basin and Vallis Marineris not being the same thing at all. Not-so-WiseGeek also says "Moon-sized object nearly hit Mars, but instead scraped a deep scar in the planet".

              NO! The MIT article says

              "We knew there must be impacts between these size ranges," Zuber says. "But nobody had identified one." Analysis in the theoretical papers accompanying this one show that the impacting object that produced the huge basin on Mars must have been about 2,000 km across - larger than Pluto -- and struck at an angle of about 45 degrees, creating the oval shape of the basin.

              I would say that's a "full absorbtion impact". Masses of that size do not behave like billard balls. They behave like very liquid droplets.

              Must have been a slow-motion impact though so that the southern half of Mars is even retaining any trace of the before-impact era.

          2. Marshalltown
            Alien

            Electric Universe

            Actually, years ago - well decades really - the electric universe idea even got play in Scientific American. Some of the empirical elements such as Alfven Waves are still important ideas and were observed for instance on the sun in 2011. The most important proponent of the idea was Hannes Alfven, who won a Nobel in 1970. Details of the structure of objects like the "Red Suare Nebula" - http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110323.html - are less difficult to explain using EU concepts than when using standard gravitational model ideas. So, no, not one guy working out of his basement. Just a non-mainstream theory that doesn't get much respect these days.

      2. Matthew 17

        If Pluto swung close enough to hit Mars it would have melted away before it had chance to do any damage.

        1. Richard 81

          RTFA

          "a planetoid the size of Pluto"

          1. Spoonsinger
            Coat

            Re: RTFA

            "a planet the size of Pluto" in my day. Revisionism is fab.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You're right

          it'd have disintegrated into some sort of belt. Of asteroids. Near Mars.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      May have this, and may have that?

      They really have no idea do they.

      1. Richard 81
        Flame

        @AC

        No, actually this news story comes from a press release that describes one idea that they do have, based on the evidence that they've gathered. Finding evidence and coming up with theories that explain the evidence and allow you to make predictions is called science. If you don't like it, I suggest you consult your nearest homoeopathist, who'll no doubt help you through the trauma.

    3. Nigel 11

      Impact? Isn't lower G and solid core sufficient?

      Mars is less massive than Earth. Mars has a negligible magnetic field compared to Earth. If the latter has been true for a long time, isn't that sufficient to explain how the sun's solar wind stripped all the water from Mars? Note, water vapour is the lightest gas in the atmosphere. Methane (a likely major component of Earth's early atmosphere) is even lighter.

      So do they really need to postulate a catastrophe? (Other than the freezing of whatever liquid/magnetic core Mars might once have had, which would have been a catastrophe for Mars life when taking the long view).

      1. 2nobel2013

        Re: Impact? Isn't lower G and solid core sufficient?

        Mars "stole" atmosphere and water from the Earth in the Theia impact (that created the Moon - and Mars - at the right tilt ...). Mars didn't have the gravity to hold on to its stolen atmosphere so it sublimated into space (though many of the mechanisms you speak of).

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Impact? Isn't lower G and solid core sufficient?

          > stolen atmosphere

          But can it be found on Pirate Bay? Quick, call the RIAA.

      2. Vociferous

        Re: Impact? Isn't lower G and solid core sufficient?

        Yes, AFAIK the theory that the solar wind stripped the atmosphere off Mars after its core solidified and, therefore, Mars lost its protective magnetic field is still the leading theory.

  2. Wzrd1

    So, a smaller sibling of Earth got smacked hard and died.

    Earth got smacked harder, but being larger, hence, hardier, Earth survived.

    Initially, I was considering rejection, based upon the current Earth's and Mars magnetic field, but then, I considered the mass of each and reconsidered.

    Less massive, cool faster. Geomagnetic field dies sooner. Remnant of atmosphere is erased sooner.

    No Barsoom here, move on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Screw that

      Bring me Dejah Thoris now!!!!

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      IIRC some of the recent theories on the Earth and Moon, there was one body initially and something comparatively large smacked into it, possibly shattering and then leaving or possibly merging with the resultant mess. In the debris that was left the Earth reformed out of the larger set of debris and the moon formed from the accretion(?) disk.

      It's a neat solution to the problem of why Earth has such an enormous satellite and as I understand it, the chemical make up of both bodies does lend some support to it.

      1. Beachrider

        Where the Earth impactor story came from...

        There is ample evidence that the Moon is spiraling away from Earth, over time. It is getting about 3.8 cm/year further away from Earth. Winding that backwards gives a timeframe for separation of the Moon from Earth.

        Apollo data indicates that the Moon was not 'captured', like Mars's two satellites were. The Moon has lower density than the earth, but its chemical composition is of a type expected at Earth's orbital distance from the Sun.

        The numbers for separation are all about 4.5 Bn years ago, so things-still-orbiting within Mars's orbit are unlikely to be evidence from that. It is all a theory, so no one 'knows', though.

        1. 2nobel2013

          Re: Where the Earth impactor story came from...

          Or is the Earth moving away from the Moon? What if that were the case?

      2. 2nobel2013

        The Theia impact (The Big Whack) is what you speak of. I posit that that impact created the Moon and Mars. For the Moon, it actually created 2 blobs that eventually came together to form the Moon (Asphaug's theory).

    3. 2nobel2013

      Same impact. Mars is the former core of the Earth - being replaced by a large chunk of iron (the impactor). It took water and atmosphere from the Earth as it departed.

  3. OzBob
    Joke

    Lets face it,

    the chances of anything coming from mars are a million-to-one

    1. Sampler
      Alien

      Re: Lets face it,

      but still they come!

      dun-dun-durrrr

    2. Martin Budden

      Re: Lets face it,

      million to one chances crop up nine times out of ten

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Second Coming ...... and in Steganographic Code for Stealthy Colonisation of Invaded Forces

    What can evolve in a billion years? On Earth, quite a lot. On Mars, maybe more. … Palf Posted Friday 19th July 2013 00:56 GMT

    Hmmm? …. Evolution on Mars is revolutionary thinking, Palf …… and it would illogical and naive to not imagine that it be, whenever maybe more advanced, also counter-revolutionary and a quantum quandary for intelligence and presumably intelligent species to ponder and wonder at … and for primitives to definitely waste time and effort [which are a limiting, universal unlimited source and resource] worrying about and fearing what they don't know, but know is out there and a'coming in all manner of irregular and unconventional phorms/means/memes in Complete Command and Complex Control of ITSignals and AIMessages to/from/for Global Operating Devices with SMARTR IntelAIgent Systems of Remote Virtual Operation with Untouchable Intangible User Interfacing for Fault Tolerant Cyber Security and Failsafe Virtual Protection?!.

    1. auburnman
      Go

      Re: The Second Coming ...... and in Steganographic Code for Stealthy Colonisation of Invaded Forces

      Mars is still here! I was worried when I didn't see any comments from him on the NSA articles; good to see the SMARTR AI Global Interdiction Quantum Drones didn't get him.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Martian evolution

    Google "Shultslaboratories", Sir Charles has extensively studied the data from the MER and other sources and conclusively proved the existence of fossils on the Martian surface.

    Of course, NASA still won't admit that they even exist, but a catastrophic loss of atmosphere would have preserved the surface quite effectively so it is possible that in the past some sort of oceanic Cambrian Explosion could have occurred on Mars leading to very similar fossils being laid down.

    The presence of perchlorates wasn't known at the time of the Viking missions so the negative life result on some of the instruments could have been explained; perchlorates are basically rocket fuel and if Mars had achiral life ie the amino acids and proteins the other way around then this alone could explain a lot.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Facepalm

      Re: Re. Martian evolution

      Uh-huh. And, um, you find this "proof" compelling?

      He's mad, and you're mad for believing him. I like the way he arranged to be "Sir" Maddie McMad, though, very clever...

      GJC

    2. Steve K Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Re. Martian evolution

      However, life never having got going due to a harsh environment would also fit the evidence, and explain a lot too....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re. Martian evolution

      It's the oil companies keeping quiet about their alternative resource, shh don't tell everyone! ;)

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Re. Martian evolution

        > It's the oil companies keeping quiet about their alternative resource

        You now picture Weyland-Yutani ferrying in enough hydrocarbon to suck all the oxygen out of the atmosphere.

    4. Fink-Nottle
      Thumb Down

      Re: Re. Martian evolution

      if Mars had achiral life ie the amino acids and proteins the other way around then this alone could explain a lot.

      If you believe that amino acids and proteins could be achiral, then that would explain a lot too.

      1. Professor Clifton Shallot

        Re: Gussie

        "If you believe that amino acids and proteins could be achiral, then that would explain a lot too."

        I think he means that they might have had the opposite chirality but it is hard to be sure due to all the insanity.

        Out of interest is there a simple proof that you couldn't make an achiral protein-building system? Is there a level of complexity of carbon chemistry at which chirality is unavoidable and below which there's an insufficient range of possible structures?

        1. Peter Ford

          Re: Gussie

          You can make a chiral molecule with five atoms (e.g. CHFClBr).

          One you have a couple of branches in the carbon backbone it's pretty inevitable.

          1. Grikath Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Gussie, chirality

            Depending on what you hang on the bonds on a C-atom, you can hit chirality at C2 molecules.Play-Doh (in various colours) and matchsticks have always been the friend of those with an inquistive mind there...

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Gussie

            Re: Peter Ford

            You can make a chiral molecule with four atoms, if you use Nitrogen, as its lone pair is steroegenic, for example you could make chiral ammonia if you had one hydrogen atom, one deuterium,and one tritium. It would probably flip between the enantiomers pretty quickly though, so you'd probably have to keep it cold to keep it stable. Oh, and it would be radioactive, but you get my point...

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Fink-Nottle
          IT Angle

          Re: Gussie

          > Is there a level of complexity of carbon chemistry at which chirality is unavoidable and below which there's an insufficient range of possible structures?

          That's pretty much it - chemical complexity or symmetry, you can't have both.

          The carbon atom has a propensity to bond with other atoms or groups of atoms. The resultant organic molecules are three dimensional and have different shapes dependant on their composition. Stereochemistry is the study of these molecular shapes and how they interact; while the term 'chiral' describes a particular stereochemical property of an atom or molecule.

          Sterochemistry is undoubtedly a consideration in the chemistry of life, where complex molecules interact like 3d jigsaw pieces. Proteins (with one exception) by their very nature posesss chirality. So, to refer to 'achiral' proteins is simply gobbledygook. In IT terms, it's like saying compiled C runs faster than uncompiled C.

        4. Nigel 11

          Re: Gussie

          Out of interest is there a simple proof that you couldn't make an achiral protein-building system? Is there a level of complexity of carbon chemistry at which chirality is unavoidable and below which there's an insufficient range of possible structures?

          Sort of, and yes. A chiral molecule is any molecule with four non-identical sub-groups bonded to one Carbon atom. (There are also lots of other sources of chirality, but that one will do to start with). So, almost any complex carbon-based molecule will have a non-identical mirror-imaged form.

          The more interesting question is whether mirror-life is likely to have evolved elsewhere in the universe. Life based on much the same building blocks as ours, but all components the mirror image of ours. Classical chemistry provides no reason why not. Quantum physics reveals that the weak nuclear force is itself chiral, and that there's a tiny difference in stability between Earthlife amino acids and their mirror-world alternatives. It's only about one part in 10^24, but there's a tipping-point in that L bonds stably with L, D bonds stably with D, and mixxed amino-acid polymers are much less stable than pure-L or pure-D ones. Ours is the mort stable. Evolutionary coin-toss, or inevitability?.

          All speculation until we find some other instances of life. May be a long wait.

    5. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Re. Martian evolution

      'Conclusively proved', eh? I think the term you actually meant to use was 'hypothesised', or possibly 'scammed', since the web site that turns up appears to be touting a book, amongst other things. I'll believe this conclusive proof, once the author of that website has his orbital power stations up and running, which he promises 'very soon'. I stopped looking at the site after this, as it appears to have broken the needle on my bullshit detector.

      Also, 'catastrophic' things tend to not preserve things well due to their, umm, catastrophic nature. Unless you have a different definition of the word catastrophic to everyone else. Usually in astronomical terms, it refers to something large hitting something larger, the sort of thing that woudn't so much leave things preserved, as leave them as a large glassy crater.

      Also, the word you are looking for is not achiral. Achiral means a lack of chirality, i.e. compounds which are asymmetric, or consist of both enantiomeric isomers in equal measure (which would normally be referred to as racemic, as they still are not strictly achiral). The word you were probably looking for is heterochiral, meaning 'of the opposite chirality', but that would have to involve you learning something about chemistry rather than just pretending you do.

  6. WonkoTheSane
    Alien

    As any fule no...

    'twas the Red Moon that destroyed life on Mars.

    http://www.dandare.org/dan/stories/redmoon/redmoon.htm

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Interesting science and a cautionary tale for us as well?

    It sounds like Mars could have been quite a lot like Earth at one time, but with taller people.

    But lose 99.9% of your atmosphere and.....

    One wrong move in the great game of celestial pool and the Martians would be saying that about us.

    Thumbs up for 2 paths to this result.

  8. 2nobel2013

    Maybe it was just one impact

    Maybe the Earth impact that created the moon - also created Mars? Makes a lot more sense then these Nasa jokers who don't explain EVERYTHING (how did Mars get its atmosphere and water in the first place? Why is Mars tiled at a similar angle to the Earth? Why are Martian rocks very similar to Earth's mantle rocks?). I have a better theory, read mine. http://rampsontheory.blogspot.com

    1. Geoff Campbell
      WTF?

      Re: Maybe it was just one impact

      Good grief, is it the hot weather bringing them all out, or has there been some change to the Care in the Community rules recently?

      GJC

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Maybe it was just one impact

        Nah it's the public "health" budget cuts (coupled to salary increases for state employees to give full-spectrum austerity) and companies buying up all the lithium for batteries...

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Maybe it was just one impact

        The silly season has arrived, is all.

        1. 2nobel2013

          Re: Maybe it was just one impact

          As Gandi said "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you" - I've made it to stage 2. Did you actually read the theory? What are your objections?

      3. 2nobel2013

        Re: Maybe it was just one impact

        Did you read the blog - or do you just want to see yourself in print? If Earth and Mars both formed in situ, and Earth was hit by a "Mars-sized object" that created the Moon and tilited it on its axis - how then is Mars ALSO tilted a very similar amount? TWO impacts? Is that easier to believe than just one?

        1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Re: Maybe it was just one impact

          @ 2nobel2013

          "...how then is Mars ALSO tilted a very similar amount? TWO impacts? Is that easier to believe than just one?"

          Earth, Mars, Saturn, and Neptune all have axial tilts clustered within 5 degrees of each other, with none of the others anywhere near them.. By your post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument, therefore, one of them MUST have made a cracking good billiard shot to effect that result.

          An at least as likely explanation is that, because the original protoplanetary disk wasn't one molecule thick but rather extended well above and below the mathematical "plane of the ecliptic", millions of impacts -- as well as close encounters with objects from WELL outside the plane that passed through it, such as we still have today -- gradually tugged the axes of rotation out of a strict perpendicular alignment with the plane of the disk into something of a "sweet spot" around 25 degrees.

          1. 2nobel2013

            Re: Maybe it was just one impact

            Yep, haven't spoken about Saturn and Neptune yet. I bet you can guess though - same time, same cause. Must have been a supernova 4.5 billion years ago - HEY WAIT, there WAS a supernova 4.5 Gya ...

        2. Aaron Miller

          I read the blog.

          You're a loon. End of story.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Maybe it was just one impact

      Why is Mars tiled at a similar angle to the Earth?

      Same tiler?

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Alien

      "how did Mars get its atmosphere and water in the first place"

      Let me guess, you think it got them from the Earth right? One question, where did the water on Earth come from?

      I'm not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: "how did Mars get its atmosphere and water in the first place"

        And we know from Half Life 2 that the Combine actually portaled away a whole 3-5 m of sealevel in water mass. That's some serious thirst.

        1. wowfood
          Trollface

          Re: "how did Mars get its atmosphere and water in the first place"

          Isn't it obvious?

          Millions and millions of eyars ago billions even. Earth was lush, and Mars was Lush, then along came some douchebag moon.

          The moon smashed into mars, knocking off its orbit and destroying the ozone completely. Then just to be a prick it crashed into earth as well. This is what killed off the dinosaurs, and created the grand canyon. Lots of dust etc killed off pretty much everything as most of the moon was disintegrated after its second big collision (probably an elderly woman driver)

          So finally the moon tries to make a run for it, but gets snagged in earths gravity. Now the moon is our bitch for killing our sister and they all lived happily ever after, except the martian... Because theyr'e dead.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: "how did Mars get its atmosphere and water in the first place"

            > Millions and millions of eyars ago billions even....

            EPIC STORY BRO!

  9. mbee

    the claim a large object destroyed the atomsphere makes one wonder about the moon, it is understood to have formed from a mars size object hitting the earth yet we have our atomsphere. Either something was left out of this story or it s just nonsense.

  10. ortloffa

    not much

    Actually I think it took a billion years before single cell life developed on Earth.

  11. eArtist

    Read, Zecharia Sitchin "The Earth Chronicles" it has detailed description about the collision that mars went through, all recorded in the Sumerian Text.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Uh, the moon is 1/6th of Earth's mass - maybe that has something to do with its absence of atmosphere, don't you think ?

      As in : doesn't have enough mass to keep one ?

      It's not because YOU don't understand something that it's nonsense.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: not much

      You don't need to think, you can look it up. See the link in above post.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: You don't need to think, you can look it up

        Much as I enjoyed the jibe, I don't think encouraging people not to think is terribly wise in this thread.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: You don't need to think, you can look it up

          My life experience says that it's too late anyway.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      I thought this was by Ron Hubbard?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: I thought this was by Ron Hubbard?

        Nah. Immanuel Velikovsky got there yonks before Hubbard did, and I don't suppose he was the first either.

    4. 2nobel2013

      Let's see, Venus is a bit smaller than Earth and has 93x more dense atmosphere. Who says Earth DIDN'T lose atmosphere in the collision? What if some of that atmosphere was transferred to Mars? Interesting ideas ...

      1. Grikath Silver badge

        venus

        Venus gets a "tad" more radiation from the sun, has an acidic cloud cover that makes for a very comfy blanket, and as such has an atmosphere that is not so much more dense than Earths' but at higher temperature, and thus pressure.

        Put Venus in Earths' orbit, and wait for things to cool down, and you will see something that pretty much resembles the Big Rain our planet went through in its' infancy. You will only have to wait a couple of million years...

        As for Mars, it's pretty clear that there has been a serious geological upheaval in its' past. Serious enough to leave traces of massive global vulcanism. And not unlike we see in the Earths' geological past after confirmed meteor strikes. As opposed to earth, however, Mars has a relatively small gravity well, and the whole picture of low gravity, and large masses of water being vapourised by large volcanic fields into the atmosphere strikes me as a surefire way to bleed a lot of the atmosphere off into space before things "calm down" again.

        And we know for a fact that Phobos and Deimos are captured asteroids ( and we really wouldn't want either of them crashing down here...) Could well be that one of their bigger brethren was captured in a rather more terminal way.

        1. Salafrance Underhill
          Coat

          Re: venus

          I was under the impression that there was very little water in Venus' atmosphere, so the big rain scenario isn't likely to occur. Additionally, using an admittedly very simplistic application of the ideal gas laws, a temperature drop from 735K to 288K would see a pressure drop from 92 atmospheres to 35.

    5. 2nobel2013

      Re: not much

      Actually the last time life developed was a billion years ago (according to fossils and other theories). But who says that it didn't develop before that - and get totally wiped out?

  12. breakwind
    Black Helicopters

    But they never mention the possibility of alien interference in our solar system or even Nixon.

  13. Montreux

    The core solidifying removed the magnetic field

    I remember a different explanation from Professor Brian Cox on Wonders of the Solar System. A planet needs to have a molten iron core to have a magnetic field, and in its history Mars used to have one like our planet and that gave it a magnetic field. A magnetic field protects your planet from the atmosphere being eroded by the solar wind. As Mars is smaller than our planet it couldn't maintain the temperature of the core and it solidified. Hence removing the magnetic field and leaving the atmosphere open to erosion from the solar wind.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: The core solidifying removed the magnetic field

      An interesting theory, right up to the point where he proposes that Mars does not have a molten core....

      http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11962-lab-study-indicates-mars-has-a-molten-core.html refers...

      (However, it does not have a magnetic field, so that bit's true enough... The Universe is a more complex place than we think...)

      1. Sir Sham Cad

        Re: The core solidifying removed the magnetic field

        The core needs to spin in order to generate a magnetic field. Specifically in relation to the solid/liquid core boundary.

        'Tis the Dynamo Effect wot does it.

        1. Erik N.

          Re: The core solidifying removed the magnetic field

          "The core needs to spin in order to generate a magnetic field. Specifically in relation to the solid/liquid core boundary.

          'Tis the Dynamo Effect wot does it."

          Exactly. Mars being smaller cooled enough so that it's core stopped spinning. When the magnetic field stopped, the solar wind started pulling off the atmosphere.

          For what it's worth, in the next one to two billion years the same will happen to Earth. At that point it will very quickly turn into Mars 2.

        2. 2nobel2013

          Re: The core solidifying removed the magnetic field

          Never proven. The Earth's core is THOUGHT to be similar to the Sun's Dynamo. Funny thing is that when you heat up iron, it LOSES its magnetic properties ...

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: The core solidifying removed the magnetic field

        The Earth's core is about 4800C, Mars 1500C - IF it is liquid it looks like its too viscous to be a spinning self sustaining dynamo like Earth's.

        If we do planet building it would be a good idea to make the core Fe3O4 - I wonder how big a core we would need to make a radiation deflecting spacecraft?

  14. Christoph Silver badge
    Coat

    Worlds in Collision

    Velikovsky was right! Right I tell you!!!!!!!!

    Thank you nurse, it's the one with the straps that tie up at the back.

  15. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Mars not killed

    Just mothballed. Now waiting for us to come and turn the lights on...

  16. Z-Eden
    Headmaster

    "planetoid the size of Pluto"

    Plutoid surely?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Never call a planet "hemor"

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so that's what it was......who knows? Ah, nobody!

    I guess that's why there's an ASTEROID belt - debris from one humungous collision maybe?

    Didn't someone once speculate that the Moon was ejected from the hole in the Pacific?

    Perhaps a coalescence of planetary objects that ended up on collision course?

    Maybe the Earth (and Mars) were moons of Jupiter at one time.

    Who really and honestly knows or will ever know?

    1. jzlondon
      WTF?

      Re: so that's what it was......who knows? Ah, nobody!

      As we collect more and more evidence, we can use it to test our ideas. So we probably will know one day.

      Ain't science great? It's not guessing, you know.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: so that's what it was......who knows? Ah, nobody!

      > debris from one humungous collision maybe?

      Asteroid belt mass: 4% of the mass of the Moon.

      NO. It was in "Captain Future" though.

      > Didn't someone once speculate that the Moon was ejected from the hole in the Pacific?

      Words fail.

      > Perhaps a coalescence of planetary objects that ended up on collision course?

      Perhaps an ensemble of neurons firing randomly, forming sounds vaguely resembling a phrase?

      > Maybe the Earth (and Mars) were moons of Jupiter at one time.

      Maybe the Moon is made of cheese.

      NO.

      > Who really and honestly knows or will ever know?

      Spouting CRAP and ending with PSEUDO-OPEN-MINDED PHILOSOPHY will win you friends.

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: so that's what it was......who knows? Ah, nobody!

      Didn't someone once speculate that the Moon was ejected from the hole in the Pacific?

      If there's a hole in the Pacific, why doesn't all the water run out?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: so that's what it was......who knows? Ah, nobody!

        It doesn't know whether to turn clockwise or anticlockwise, so it's still hesitating.

    4. 2nobel2013

      Re: so that's what it was......who knows? Ah, nobody!

      That's why you create a theory that explains everything. If it does a better job of explaining why things are what they are - then it should become THE theory.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So

    we are all martians now

  19. Mage Silver badge

    So

    Ben Bova's 67 Million Years ago was too recent?

    Mars & Return to Mars.

  20. Faux Science Slayer

    Earth's atmosphere is under continuous erosion from solar wind and cosmic ray decay. During the Jurassic period reptiles and insects had double the wingspan of current flying animals. Since 'lift' is a function of wing area, the longer wingspan and increased wing area suggest an atmosphere of between double and four times current atmospheric pressure. The solar wind is blowing the top of the atmosphere into space, modulated by a varying magnetosphere. Cosmic rays cause decay Nitrogen and Oxygen two-atom molecules and lighter molecules reach escape velocity and exit to space from the top of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is partially replaced by fission by-products that are outgassed primarily at under sea volcanic vents. This is described in "Earth's Missing Geothermal Flux" at the Faux Science Slayer site. Find and share Truth...it is your duty as an Earthling.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      do you know what "solar wind" actually is?

      1. Moosealot
        Trollface

        It's when my wife's eaten so much vegetable curry that I decide to sleep in the spare room.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      @Faux Science Slayer

      My knowledge of aeronatics is intuitive at best, but I should have thought that a thicker atmosphere would require smaller, not bigger wings.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        I'm pretty sure that's the case as well.

        As In understand it, the large size of the these ancient critters was due to there being a rather higher oxygen content which allowed the invertebrates to grow bigger. Without lungs there is only a maximum size/area that can be adequately supported through surface oxygen absorption.

        Which is why we don't have 1.2m wide dragon flies* or 5m long centipedes* to deal with. * or modern equivalents.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          The high oxygen content was apparently because of the amount of carbon sequestered in vegetable matter that subsequently turned into coal. The fungi that break down vegetable matter hadn't evolved, so the dead trees and leaves just piled up.

        2. Grikath Silver badge

          Oxygen had something to do with it, but there's some severe limitations to their body plan as well. There's plenty of modern insects that match the size of the *average* critter in the carboniferous period ( and there's some modern beetles that come pretty close to the giants of that age...) The giants are just that. Same as the dinosaurs and the glacial megafauna(s). There's a tendency for life to grow *big* up to the limitations of the bodyplan if there's no competition from other ("superior") bodyplans.

  21. teebie

    made it to 10 figures-worth of birthdays

    It's friday, *don't* make me do thinking

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: made it to 10 figures-worth of birthdays

      It's friday, *don't* make me do thinking

      Some of the preceding posts have clearly come from people who abjure thinking every day, not just Friday.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1

        Re: made it to 10 figures-worth of birthdays

        Also, in any reasonable frame of reference, Mars wouldn't be counting its birthdays in Earth-orbits, i.e. years, but rather in Mars-orbit time. The current ratio is a little over 1.88 to 1, so a billion Earth-orbits is only 531.7M Martian birthdays.

        Furthermore, "10-figures-worth" as a cute name for a billion only applies if we think that Martians count in base 10, which in turn is an artefact of the pentadactyl limb...

        Alright, don't tell me, I know when I've stepped over the line.

  22. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "Tunable" laser? Curiosity has a frikkin' tunable laser beam screwed to it?

    Is this so it can hunt down and kill Spirit and Opportunity once and for all and free up much -needed grant monies from the claws of the wrinklies still controlling them?

    If so, will the Mars Rover Slapdown be filmed and put up on YouTube for all to see?

  23. SirDigalot

    dinosaurs originally evolved on mars and flew to earth before the impact in modified fighter jets....

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Nonsense

      They were actually SPACESHIPS! They just had a remarkable similarity to McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms.

  24. Adam Foxton

    Clearly it was the departure of Mondas

    When the populace of Mondas determined that their planet was dying, they launched a big-ass rocket to bring their population to Earth. This pushed so hard it knocked their planet out of solar orbit and caused no end of problems for the remaining populace, which they helped fix by building a really big vacuum cleaner and sucking away the nacent Mars' atmosphere. The 'spare' atmosphere was used as propellant in a planetary ion-drive.

    This, being based on a shocking ignorance of even Science-Fiction level physics, is still more believable than some of the 'theories' being presented here.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. Martian evolution

    OK so I posted this very early in the AM.

    I meant opposite chirality, besides which even NASA admits that Mars might have had life at some point.

    The latest discoveries show that a combination of the core solidifying and at least one large impact did for Mars, any water is either locked up in the poles, underground or sublimated off into space.

    The interesting thing is that a sufficiently large nuclear explosion *might* start the outer core rotating again even if its centre is solid; the energy needed borders on absurd but my back of the envelope calculations indicate it to be about 500M megatons.

    1. Belardi
      Windows

      Re: RE. Re. Martian evolution

      I think it would be cheaper and easier to take care of out own planet than trying to bring back another from the dead.

      Mars will forever be dead.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019