Curiosity’s Amazing Exploration of Mars

Last month entailed one of the most interesting adventures in space exploration, where the landing became a hot topic. For the first time, a very heavy spacecraft (about 2 tons) was going to land on the planet Mars. It was quite the challenge considering that Mars contains a thin atmosphere.

After its 7 minute solo landing on August 6, 2012, Curiosity’s orbiting partner transmitted the first dusty thumbnail images the rover had taken with her rear hazmat cameras. Two hours later, during the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s second flyover, high-resolution images came down showing rocks and the rim of Gale Crater, where the rover landed at a site named after the late science fiction writer Ray Bradbury.

Curiousity’s mission is to detect conditions for habitability. A quest that man has been imaging about since my grandma’s young years. Of course it went from a full-scale invasion (world of the worlds on radio) to looking for microorganisms to just ingredients which astrobiology would consider natural creators for life from the past despite the fact that never observed non-living chemicals creating life in the present.

Was there water on Mars, some point in its history? Well as the data has come in, the clays on Mars are not from water, but rather they were formed by volcanoes. Astrobiology magazine writes…

“Alain Meunier of the University of Poitiers in France has found that some Mars minerals from the Noachian period are a good chemical match to clays at the Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia, which formed from cooling of water-rich lava.” 

“What’s more, these ancient Martian clays can be up to hundreds of metres thick, which is more likely to be associated with lava flows than soil interacting with water.” 

“Such a result would imply that early Mars may not have been as habitable as previously thought at the time when Earth’s life was taking hold,” wrote Brian Hynek of the University of Colorado in Boulder, who was not involved in the new work, in an accompanying commentary.”

John Grotzinger (in live science), who is the project scientist for the Curiosity rover is still hoping to discover water in the Gale Crater.  He tries to rationalize history as a guide for optimism, so he concludes that scientists expect to find water-lain deposits in Gusev Crater where the earlier Spirit rover landed.  Which is strange, because Spirit only detected volcanic ash with some windblown dust back in August of 2004.

Even the rocks indicate otherwise because they would have degraded in the presence of standing water along with of showing no signs of having been transported by water through Ma’adim Vallis, the valley that appears from orbit like a flood channel leading into the crater.  But yet even with this emerging picture of a salt-laden, often corroded planet there was still hope that it had standing water early in its history.

Keep in mind, this is an amazing exploration of Mars even by spirit back in 2004, but the mission is not to study Mars per say which it should be, but rather trying to find data that might give them ideas for life like discovering water. Curiosity is the best spacecraft ever made with remarkable intelligent engineering by highly skilled people.

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7 thoughts on “Curiosity’s Amazing Exploration of Mars

  1. Yes, Curiosity was a wonderful success.

    And it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with creationism or a god of any kind.

  2. Eelco,

    I’m glad you agree that Curiosity has been a success. The rover is using operational science rather than speculation. As far as it having nothing to do with creationism, it sure does. Back on March 16, 2001, NY Times reported a “Noachian” event on Mars. Meaning a global flood.

    The article states…

    “The total release of gases from Tharsis magma may have produced the equivalent of a global layer of water nearly 400 feet deep, although much of the water would have been lost to space. . .At the very end of the Noachian epoch, volcanic activity dissipated and carbon dioxide and water were removed from the atmosphere by a combination of factors…”

    At the Creation Institute Of Research, they also agreed with secular scientists about the water on Mars…

    “There is no longer any doubt that the surface of Mars has in the past been covered by huge volumes of water which spread over vast areas. These resulted from cataclysmic outflows, which were also responsible for catastrophic erosion of channels and valleys, on a scale far greater than anything comparable on Earth, and deposition of sedimentary strata. It appears that much of this water still resides near the Martian surface in permafrost and as ice. Mars has in the past also experienced huge volcanic eruptions and vast lava outpourings across its surface, perhaps on a greater scale than those on the earth.”

    The funny part of this is that evolutionists balked at the idea of a global flood on Earth (because of their bias) but yet were willing to embrace a global flood on Mars were there was no real detection of water, just interpretations of appearance. While some well-known creationist decided to embrace it as well using it for an argument for a global flood on earth. But not all creationists, like myself, I had doubts of water being on Mars, but even if there was, that is hardly evidence for alien life forms.

    Space exploration is truly a remarkable thing as we learn more about the planets and stars, but marketing the Curiosity mission as something to detect life from the past is not. There were no life forms there, and this mission has been confirming that. There were good data from Spirit that also was starting to confirm that. There was no water on Mars, so does that mean we shouldn’t send anymore spacecraft there to learn more about it? No! But I will like to see other moons or planets explored too without the hype of trying to find alien life to justify its mission.

  3. Keep in mind, this is an amazing exploration of Mars even by spirit [sic] back in 2004, but the mission is not to study Mars per say [sic] which it should be, but rather trying to find data that might give them ideas for life like discovering water.

    Michael believes that the main purpose of the Curiosity rover is to find life on Mars. This is yet another example of his abyssal ignorance about how science operates.

    Here are two scenarios from a Senate hearing to appropriate our hard-earned tax dollars for a new Mars explorer:

    Scenario the First—

    > Prof. Noitall: “NASA would like to have $2.3 billion for a mission to explore Mars.”
    > Sen. Belchfire: “What do you hope to find with this mission?”
    > Prof Noitall” “The chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials. The 4-billion-year Martian atmospheric evolution processes. The broad spectrum of surface radiation. The long-term distribution and cycling of carbon dioxide and water.”
    > Sen. Belchfire: “Git outta here. NEXT! (Besides, I don’t buh-lieve in evilution.)”

    Scenario the Second—

    > Prof. Noitall: “NASA would like to have $2.3 billion for a mission to explore Mars.”
    > Sen..Belchfire: “What do you hope to find with this mission?”
    > Pro. Noitall: “We hope to find evidence for LIFE ON MARS. And, um, a coupla other things, too.
    Sen. Belchfire: “Are you sure $2.3 billion will be enough? How about $3 billion?”

    Remember that the scientific objectives of the Apollo project could have been accomplished much faster and less expensively with a robot explorer to the Moon.[1] So what was the real purpose of President Kennedy’s decade-long project to send a man to the Moon? To unite the American people in a long-term goal after a period of national malaise. To restore a sense of pride in America. Apollo was primarily a political project, not a scientific one.

    In other words, Apollo was a wampeter.[2]

    ==================

    [1] This humble commenter worked on a tiny piece of Apollo while in graduate school.

    [2] From Kurt Vonnegut’s book Wampeters, Foma, & Granfalloons (Delta 1974). Vonnegut defines a wampeter as an otherwise useless and irrelevant object around which a group of otherwise unrelated people coalesce in a common objective. His prime example is the Holy Grail. (Foma are small lies for comforting the common people. Such as creationism.) The terms originally came from Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle (Holt, Rinehart 1963). Cat’s Cradle formed the basis for Vonnegut’s MA in anthropology from the University of Chicago.

  4. Michael had to reach deep into the swamp to find something–anything!—to avoid answering the charge that creationists’ claim that evolution requires junk DNA is a bare-faced lie. Will this rambling, disorganized, and misleading post about the new Mars explorer serve the purpose, take the heat off? I don’t see any other point to this post.

  5. As far as it having nothing to do with creationism, it sure does. Back on March 16, 2001, NY Times [0] reported a “Noachian” event on Mars. Meaning a global flood.

    When I try to picture Michael’s mental processes, I see a railroad switching yard, with dozens of tracks. But Michael’s locomotive cuts across the tracks, lurching from one to another to reach a destination that is not on any of the tracks.

    Where to start? The NYT Times article says nothing about a “Noachian event.” or a “global flood.”

    Th history of Mars is divided into 3 epochs. The first, the “Noachian epoch,” lasted a billion years. It was named for the legend of Noah because it is the only era in which significant quantities of water were present.[1] Volcanic activity released enormous quantities of gases mixed with water—

    The total release of gases from Tharsis magma may have produced the equivalent of a global layer of water nearly 400 feet deep, although much of the water would have been lost to space, Phillips said.
    ……..
    Phillips said this process could have unfolded in less than a few hundred million years.

    Notice how Michael jumps the tracks. The water NEVER DID ACTUALLY form a 400-foot layer on the planet. Much of it was blown off with the CO2 into space when it emerged from the interior.[2] In addition, this amount of water is the “total release” that occurred over “a few hundred million years.”[3] Michael’s attention span seems not to endure across paragraph boundaries.

    The funny part of this is that evolutionists balked at the idea of a global flood on Earth (because of their bias) but yet were willing to embrace a global flood on Mars were there was no real detection of water,

    No, Michael. The laugh is on you. You misread the article. No scientist thought there was a global flood on Mars.[4]

    While some well-known creationist [sic] decided to embrace it as well using it for an argument for a global flood on earth. But not all creationists, like myself, [sic] I had doubts of water being on Mars,

    Michael just jumped another track. If he’s talking about present water, than he’s wrong about the ICR article: Thieir “flood” was in the past. If Michael is referring to water in he past, then he is wrong. There is no doubt that water did exist on Mars in the past.

    The rest of Michael’s post is equally confusing and pointless. That’s why I think its purpose is to sweep the awkward questions from the previous post under the electronic rug.

    =================

    [0] Michael does not cite the article, so we can’t check his veracity But here it is anyway. As you can see, Michael got it wrong again.

    [1] Michael may be interested that the next epoch, the Hesperian, was named after the Garden of the Hesperides, Gaia’s betrothal gift to Zeus and Hera. The garden contained a tree of golden apples, which they were not to eat. But Eris, the goddess of discord, plucked an apple, and placed it at the wedding party so that Hera would eat it. Thus came evil into the world. Sound familiar? I thought so.

    [2] Michael forgets that Mars’ gravity is much less than Earth’s so escape is much easier. (Even on Earth, some water escapes into space.)

    [3] Thus giving enough time for the Martian Noah to evolve from a lizard to a human without leaving his ark.

    [4] The ICR article Michael cited says that—

    These distinctive water-laid sedimentary layers … were deposited by a body of water which … covered an area of as much as three million square kilometers to average depths of hundreds of meters.

    This is a global flood? The ICR thinks we’re not smart enough to calculate that the total surface area of Mars is about 140,000,000 km2. So, um, let’s see. 3,000,000 km2 would be about 2% of the total surface. Some “global flood”!

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