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'Climate shift' is reason for newly announced trip to Mars

So NASA is going once again to the Red Planet... without humans... to study climate change...  I kid you not:

The US space agency NASA announced Tuesday it has given the green light to a mission to Mars aimed at investigating the mystery of how the "red planet" lost its atmosphere.

NASA gave the approval Monday for "the development and 2013 launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission," the agency said in a statement, noting that the project may also show Mars' history of supporting life.

"A better understanding of the upper atmosphere and the role that escape to space has played is required to plug a major hole in our understanding of Mars," said MAVEN's lead investigator Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

"We're really excited about having the opportunity to address these fundamental science questions," he added.

Three main scientific instruments will be launched to Earth's neighbor aboard a craft in November 2013 as part of the 438-million-dollar project.

Clues on Mars' surface, including features that resemble ancient riverbeds and minerals that could only form in the presence of liquid water, suggest the planet "once had a denser atmosphere, which supported the presence of liquid water on the surface," said NASA.

However, most of the Martian atmosphere was lost as part of a dramatic climate shift.

Due in part I'm sure to the carbon footprint of all those little green men. 

Damned Holocaust deniers.

I can think of a lot of reasons to go to Mars... this didn't make the top 10 for me...

Sigh.


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Comments (8)

NASA now reaching out to Ma... (Below threshold)
jbinnout:

NASA now reaching out to Martians not Muslims.

What the heck do they expec... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

What the heck do they expect to find?

Last I heard, the most plausible theory is that solar flare activity just blew it away because Mars lacked the strong magnetic field Earth enjoys which partially protects us from such effects, and is so much smaller in mass as well.

Again, what is NASA looking for? Evidence the Martians drove too many SUVs and didn't have solar panels and wind farms for alternative green energy, so global warming offed their atmosphere?

Oh, well, at least this has a chance of happening, unlike Obama's lie about a moon base in 2020, for which there is no plan, no research, and no funding, and no plan to ever have a plan, research, or funding. It was all just a ruse to fool the very stupid.

That's always been the prob... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

That's always been the problem with publicly funded exploration. You're at the mercy of those who control the purse strings. So you've automatically enlisted in the 'cause of the day'.

Jim, you're right about the... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

Jim, you're right about the current theory, which the article makes clear is what NASA is going to study:

"Mars can't protect itself from the solar wind because it no longer has a shield, the planet's global magnetic field is dead," said Jakosky, describing how the magnetic field disappeared and the atmosphere then exposed to the punishing solar wind.

Joseph Grebowsky, also of the Goddard Space Flight Center, said that previous observations "gave us 'proof of the crime' but only provided tantalizing hints at how the sun pulls it off -- the various ways Mars can lose its atmosphere to solar activity."
This trip has nothing to do with AGW malarkey.

I think you guys are way of... (Below threshold)
Brett:

I think you guys are way off base. I am likely to be firt up against the wall when Algore gets his way, as a "denier". But the loss of the atmosphere on Mars, and the current state of it (with large seasonal methane variations), is a quite legitimate and valid scientific question. Maybe the press release is pandering but the underlying question is entirely valid and of significant scientific relevance.

Don't be fooled.They... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Don't be fooled.
They're going there to build a mosque.

- Secret Video Leaked / We ... (Below threshold)
Alex:

- Secret Video Leaked / We Have Been To Mars...NASA: Evidence of life on Mars...Pravda: Stunning Images of Martian Surface...CNN/CBS NEWS... We may know Mars as the Red Planet, but many of the HiRise images are studies in blue...MARS COLOSSAL PLANTS REVISITED... Buzz Aldrin stokes the mystery of the monolith on Mars... First direct evidence of lightning on Mars detected...Nat.Geographic: Liquid Water Recently Seen on Mars?...The Guardian: It's snowing on Mars:
http://cristiannegureanu.blogspot.com/2010/09/first-mars-landers-might-have-found.html

As far as this mission is c... (Below threshold)
DaveK:

As far as this mission is concerned, I would (really) like to think that (seeing the handwriting on the wall, and the general kookiness of the current administration) someone high up in NASA- fed up with hearing his scientists whine and moan about lack of funds and being turned into a Muslim outreach program and actual space exploration being put on the shelf- got a bright idea along the lines of "Hey, I know how we can get back to doing what we were trained and educated for! We will say we are doing this for Mother Gaia! We can say that by studying Mars' atmosphere, we can figure out how to stop global warming and save our own planet! And, at the same time, we can take pictures and collect rocks and dirt and do the really important stuff." A bit farfetched, granted, but its the scenario that I really want to believe.




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