Readers!
 

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


 

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


Scientists: Gale Crater never had flowing surface water and was always cold

The uncertainty of science: According to a new analysis of the data from Curiosity and Martian orbiters, scientists now propose that the climate in Gale Crater was never warm, but ranged from Icelandic conditions to far colder.

More importantly, the data suggests that none of chemistry there that required the presence of water was formed by fluvial processes, or flowing water. From the abstract:

We show that the geochemistry and mineralogy of most of the fine‐grained sedimentary rocks in Gale crater display first order similarities with sediments generated in climates that resemble those of present‐day Iceland, while other parts of the stratigraphy indicate even colder baseline climate conditions. None of the lithologies examined at Gale crater resemble fluvial sediments or weathering profiles from warm (temperate to tropical) terrestrial climates. [emphasis mine]

As must be repeated, the mineralogy found by Curiosity points to the presence of water once in Gale Crater, now gone. The initial assumption has always been that this water must have been liquid, as found on Earth. This new research is noting that the conditions show little evidence that liquid water ever existed, but was instead held in frozen lakes and glaciers.

In the coming years I think we are going to learn a lot about the glaciers and ice on Mars, both past and present, and how they reshaped Mars in ways that are alien to processes found on Earth.

Pioneer cover

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.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

One comment

  • LocalFluff

    This is pretty big news: “NO liquid water found on Mars!”

    In Scandinavia the glaciers of the last ice age grinded the bedrock into smooth wavelike forms. Where I grew up there was a very comfortable “sofa” at the lake, smoothly polished out of the dead hard granite. Here’s a random picture of an archipelago.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFHmmCpW1yY&t=3s

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *