The uncertainty of science: New research using the boulders found on the top of Martian glaciers has now strengthened the evidence that Mars must have undergone many previous ice age cycles going back as much as 800 million years, with those glaciers waxing and waning during each cycle.
This new data helps map the cycles earlier than 20 million years ago, which have been difficult to map out based solely on the orbital data available from Earth and from Mars orbit. The results suggest that before then there were from six to twenty additional cycles during the last 300 to 800 million years.
These numbers are decidedly uncertain. It is likely that there were many more cycles, as suggested by the many layers seen at the edges of the north and south polar ice caps.
Be aware as well that if you read the press release you should know that it falsely implies that this research is the first to map out these ice age cycles. This is not true. All this research has done is provide more evidence for cycles prior to 20 million years ago, cycles that scientists have long believed must have happened based on other data.
In the end, for us to map out the full climate history of Mars will require numerous ice core samples at the planet’s poles, something that will not be possible until people are living and working on Mars routinely.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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