Monday, 1 December 2008

Well, I think it's a scale model of the Mary Celeste.

I see Episode Two of the funniest ever post on Chris's blog coming up.

"A plank of wood" is the latest miracle spied on Mars - now that is an interesting piece of wishful thinking. It was also seen in 2004. I think the total quota of annoyingness depends on what the reporters make of it - I can't find anything on the BBC website this time round, but Nancy Atkinson has provided an extremely sympathetic and understanding explanation in Universe Today. Perhaps I could learn from her.

Update! Thanks to Geoff on the Galaxy Zoo Forum for helping me find this picture:

This is from May 2004, at

I wonder why she says "don't think for a minute these scientists wouldn't be jumping for joy if they found something as amazing as a log on Mars"? I know they want to find life, but why can't we just accept that Mars is not Earth, and probably doesn't have Earth-like life, and we shouldn't need miracles to get excited? If we found wood on Mars, I'd be . . . scared.

In the meantime, I recommend geology. Trying to get a copy of the pictures I could reference properly [before Geoff found that one above], I instead stumbled upon this wonderful picture of what rocks are doing on Mars, from NASA Mars Picture of the Day.

If rocks are tilting on Mars, that demonstrates that something interesting geologically is happening on large scales. On the Earth, it might mean plate tectonics at work, or huge icecaps melting and taking their weight off the Earth's crust, or many other processes. Its largest volcano, Olympus Mons, is twice as large as any volcano on Earth. But its magnetic field is completely different from the Earth's, which suggests that it doesn't have a molten iron core like the Earth's (or at least not as large or hot), and Mars does not have tectonic plates. Isn't that enough mystery to be going on with?

For a simpler start to geology, may I recommend a visit to a beach very near me, Broad Haven. There are tilted, layered rocks sticking up all over it - I must go back there to photograph them. Credit to this page for this one:

1 comment:

JeffR said...

The following link may explain where this Martian "log" came from:
Martian Vegetation