by Wal Thornhill | August 27, 2003 7:43 am
Today, 27 August, at 9.51 am GMT, Mars will be a mere 56 million kilometres from Earth, the closest it has been since 57,617 BC.
The claim that Neanderthals 60 millennia ago witnessed a Mars approach similar to what we are seeing today should be re-evaluated on two counts, one astronomical and one historical.
First: the equations used by astronomers produce the numbers which tell us where the planets have been (or will be) for millions of years, provided nothing has changed. Mathematically, these equations can be trusted for only a few centuries into the past, and not at all into the future. It is only the astronomers faith in the unchanged orbits of the planets that allows them to assume that the equations will yield accurate records of where the planets were tens of thousands of years ago.
Second: to solve the mysteries of Mars astronomers must first answer the following historical questions posed by Ev Cochrane in Martian Metamorphoses: The Planet Mars in Ancient Myth and Religion:
“Earthlings have long been fascinated by the planet Mars. Well before modern science fiction speculated about advanced civilizations upon Mars and the dire threat of invasion by little green men, the red planet was regarded as a malevolent agent of war, pestilence, and apocalyptic disaster. In an attempt to appease the capricious planet-god, various ancient cultures offered it human sacrifices. What is there about this distant speck of light that could inspire such bizarre conceptions culminating in ritual murder? And how do we account for the fact that virtually identical beliefs are to be found around the globe, in the New World as well as the Old?”
“For untold millennia prior to the advent of scientific astronomy and well before there were any records which could properly be called historical, human beings recounted myths surrounding their favorite heroes and gods. Prominent themes in these sacred traditions include the Creation, the Deluge, the wars of the gods, and the dragon-combat. Despite the passage of eons and the destruction of countless cultures, such myths were committed to memory and told again and again primarily because they represented sacred knowledge regarding the history of the world. Until recently, however, such traditions have been given short shrift by scholars in general and all but ignored by mainstream science. This is most apparent, perhaps, in the modern astronomer’s faith that more can be learned about the recent history of our solar system from running computer simulations than from considering what our ancestors had to say on the matter.”
Precisely. The date given with computer generated accuracy for Mars’ last closest approach to Earth is worthless. The computer has not been programmed with the real history of this world or that of Mars. Astronomers simply assume that the solar system is a Newtonian timepiece with no real history for billions of years. If that is wrong – and our ancestors obsessively repeat a different story – then the first law of computing applies to the computed date: Garbage in = garbage out.
“..many of the greatest mythical themes reflect ancient man’s obsession with the red planet. Indeed, we will attempt to show that Mars’ prominence in ancient consciousness is directly attributable to the peculiar behavior of the red planet, which only recently participated in a series of spectacular cataclysms involving the Earth and various neighboring planetary bodies. If our thesis has any validity, it follows that the orthodox version of the recent history of the solar system is itself little more than a modern ‘myth’ and stands in dire need of revision. With implications this far-reaching, the ancient traditions surrounding the planet Mars suddenly take on new significance.”
Science is supposed to consider all relevant data in attempting to find the truth. It is unscientific to ignore the references to Mars passed down by our ancestors worldwide, and which they considered of paramount significance. “We instinctively dismiss the idea that five or ten thousand years ago there may very well have been thinkers of the order of Kepler, Gauss or Einstein, working with the means at hand,” wrote De Santillana & Von Dechend in Hamlet’s Mill.
In addition, it is naïve to think that our infinitesimally small time window of modern scientific investigation can be extrapolated back over 60,000 years, let alone over millions or billions of years. Mars is a mystery simply because of our unscientific and naïve approach.
In New Scientist of 23 August 2003, in an article by David L. Chandler titled “All eyes on Mars,” some of the mysteries faced by experts were outlined.
“..Mars is proving more enigmatic than ever at the moment. The latest images of the Martian surface taken by NASA’s orbiting Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) have revealed profoundly mysterious landforms that have left geologists scratching their heads. The features include a combination of surprisingly stable dunes, canyons without craters and rapidly eroding ice caps. All point to amazingly fast processes taking place on the surface. Mars has changed considerably in the past few thousand years – in some places, even the past two years. Yet nobody knows why. Unraveling the mystery will require a radical leap in theoretical thinking, says Michael Malin, the geologist in charge of the MGS camera.”
No amount of theorizing based on slow evolutionary geological principles will explain how the giant canyons on Mars are so young that they have no craters in their walls. The very formation mechanism of Valles Marineris is a mystery to geologists. However, if we make use of the forensic evidence from the past, the formation of Valles Marineris was witnessed by modern humans in late prehistory. We don’t need to theorize. Mars, the god of war, was memorialized as the heroic figure in a celestial battle fought with thunderbolts. Mars was struck and a visible scar remained. For the scar of Valles Marineris to be seen by the naked eye requires that Mars was about one hundred times closer to the Earth than it is on this closest approach!
Unfortunately, such a radical overhaul of astronomy and geology are implied by such information that it’s just not going to happen any day soon. Arthur Koestler wrote, in The Ghost in the Machine:
“The revolutions in the history of science are successful escapes from blind alleys. The evolution of knowledge is continuous only during those periods of consolidation and elaboration which follow a major breakthrough. Sooner or later, however, consolidation leads to increasing rigidity, orthodoxy, and so into the dead end of overspecialization – to the koala bear.”
So it is left to a few adventurous seekers after the truth to scout far ahead and to find the way out of the blind alley into which science has led us.
Based on an interdisciplinary approach to the mysteries of Mars, some suggested solutions to the problems follow the excerpts from the new Scientist article.
“On Mars today, it looks as if glaciers are receding after an ice age. At the planet’s south pole, alternate layers of ice and dust are vanishing before our eyes. These long, sweeping, arm-like peninsulas were deposited as a result of past climate oscillations. According to MGS images from 1999 and 2001, they are eroding at a rate of 3 metres per year or more. The images show peninsulas of ice narrowing, and occasionally being pinched off into islands, with some islands disappearing altogether. By measuring the amount of erosion seen over two years, Malin calculates one entire layer will disappear within 20 years.
“We were absolutely shocked by that,” said Malin when he presented his results at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Denver, Colorado, in February. The magnitude of the changes implies an enormous amount of energy is being pumped into the ice to melt and vaporise it. And the speed of the vaporisation has helped to resolve a long-standing controversy over whether the ice is frozen water or carbon dioxide. “Calculations showed the only material that could have changed that rapidly is carbon dioxide,” says Malin. It is hard to tell from above how thick each layer of ice is, but best estimates are that with every layer eroded, the thickness of the Martian atmosphere increases by 1 per cent.
More questions remain. How many layers were there in the first place, before the erosion started? How many remain below? Nobody knows. But the implications for one of Mars’s best-known surface features are astounding. “All the visible ice, all the carbon dioxide that we see in this ‘permanent’ ice cap could be eroded in less than a century,” Malin says.”
COMMENT: The fact that thunderbolts were remembered by the ancients as a cause of surface scarring on Mars opens a whole new realm of rapid electrical deposition and erosion to explain surface features. It happened yesterday in geological terms so that we may expect faster adjustments today than otherwise expected. Electric discharges tend to remove matter from the cathode and transfer it to the anode. Electrical deposition from another body would explain the global layering seen on Mars. Electric discharge machining would tend to remove surface material by an etching process. That has resulted in many weird surface features.
The Earth today suffers minor electrical interaction with the solar plasma, which results in lightning at mid to lower latitudes and a diffuse auroral discharge at the poles. Another form of diffuse atmospheric electric discharge is the more energetic tornado. Mars was also depicted by the ancients as sitting within a glowing tornadic column for a period. That would explain the huge swirling erosion patterns at both of the Martian poles. It also means that the polar caps are only about 10,000 years old and probably still accommodating to Mars’ “new” environment. The puzzling difference between the northern and southern hemispheres of Mars is explained simply if the north pole was the cathode in the tornadic electrical exchange. Material would then have been removed from the northern hemisphere to give the low, flat and relatively uncratered terrain found there.
“Other features indicate a [recently] changing world, too. For example, huge fields of granular dunes preserve detailed features that show that they once marched across the landscape like sand dunes on Earth, blown by the wind. Yet these dunes are frozen in place, without a trace of motion over a two-year interval.
The only plausible explanation is, again, climate change. If the atmosphere was much thicker in the recent past, its winds may have been able to push along dunes that today’s winds can no longer even ruffle. Mars may have lost much of that thicker atmosphere in the past and perhaps it is now regaining it from the evaporation of its polar caps.”
COMMENT: It was the most catastrophic climate change imaginable involving a drastic shift of orbit as a result of the close electrical and gravitational encounters with other planets. Electrical forces in an essentially chaotic gravitational system can quickly change and stabilize planetary orbits. It renders computer orbital retro-calculations invalid. No such computation will place Mars near the Earth only 10,000 years ago! The tornadic circumpolar winds mentioned above were capable of moving heavy sand grains and forming vast fields of sand dunes around the polar caps. However, the electrical interactions were capable of stripping much of Mars’ atmosphere too. The final result was a tenuous atmosphere no longer capable of moving sand dunes.
“Perhaps the most mysterious new-found feature on Mars lies inside its version of the Grand Canyon, the huge Valles Marineris, a 2000-kilometre-long canyon near the equator. In a side canyon called Candor Chasma, the floor lies 3.5 kilometres below the surrounding plateau and the walls are spectacularly layered. But there are few impact craters on Candor Chasma’s floor, implying that it is less than a million years old, as it has not had time to be bombarded by many meteorites. But if it is that young, Malin asks, “how did it get exposed from under three and a half kilometres of material?” So far, there is no answer.”
COMMENT: I have explained how a powerful cosmic thunderbolt tore out the canyons of Valles Marineris and the event was witnessed by humans. As for dating surfaces by crater counting, almost all of the craters on Mars are electrical. Impacts do not form such neat circular craters. Because they are electrical craters they tend to form on high points. That is why they are often seen perched on the raised rims of earlier craters (earlier possibly only by minutes) and the edges of canyons and not on the walls of existing craters and canyons.
“ ‘Altogether,’ says Malin, ‘we have maybe eight to ten landforms that indicate that what you see on Mars today, in terms of the environment, is not what formed the features we see.’ That points to climate change, agrees planetary scientist Chris McKay of NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, who viewed Malin’s images at a Mars conference in Pasadena, California, last month. But until scientists develop a detailed hypothesis that describes the type of climate change and links it to the features observed, the images don’t make sense, says McKay. ‘We’ve reached a point of diminishing returns from orbital imaging,’ he says.
Malin and McKay aren’t the only ones feeling puzzled. ‘The problems are becoming more difficult, instead of becoming easier,’ said Bruce Jakosky, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who was at the meeting in Pasadena. ‘People are seeing things they just don’t understand, and coming up with wild ideas to try to explain them,’ he says. Many suggestions invoke glaciation, but none can explain all the enigmatic features.”
COMMENT: Malin is correct. The present environment of Mars did not form the features on Mars. Unfortunately, as specialists, geologists have little else to work with other than climate change to explain recent surface changes. For Koestler’s “koala bears,” more orbital imaging just adds to the confusion. However, continued orbital imaging remains valuable for interdisciplinary advance scouts. They have the entire remembered experience of the human race to assist their understanding of the images. They are not limited by the myths created by modern science. They can see beyond to an interdisciplinary science created by the study of myths.
We must use myths to create a new science, not science to create new myths.
“The most ‘ancient treasure’ -in Aristotle’s words- that was left to us by our predecessors of the High and Far-off Times was the idea that the gods are really stars, and that there are no others. The forces reside in the starry heavens, and all the stories, characters and adventures narrated by mythology concentrate on the active powers among the stars, who are planets.”
— Giorgio Di Santillana and Hertha Von Dechend, Hamlet’s Mill
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