Posts Tagged ‘Organics’

Organics on Mars? More Importantly, Water Long Ago, Now Ice Cliffs!

June 15, 2018

On this site, all sorts of essays are found. Some are on the cutting edge of research (and a subset of those may even be right! After all just one somewhat right, on a subject of significance, would justify all my efforts…). We live in times when, for the first time ever, the social Machiavellianism of a biological species, yours truly, has the fate of the biosphere, and maybe even of intelligent life in this galaxies, in its paws. That has got to have happened many times in the billions of galaxies, long ago and far away. But this is here now, and philosophy and its practical side, politics, are in the driver seat of the honor of intelligence in the Milky Way…

So here is the time to celebrate the little world next door, Mars. Mars, although half the linear dimensions of Earth, has exactly as much land as Earth (2/3 of Earth is sea). Recent discoveries have put Mars in a more habitable light.

Big picture for Mars remains that the rover is in what used to be a giant lake one hundred kilometers across. So Mars WAS HABITABLE. For about a billion years. Whether life evolved there is not clear: Earth is a giant churning engine of creation, with perhaps kilometer high tides at some point, every couple of hours or so… That forcefully mixed continent, sea, volcanoes, lightning, etc. If life had evolved on Mars, though, it would have transferred on Earth… thanks to impacts…

Ice Cliffs on Mars, 100 meters tall, took me by surprise… A happy surprise: without water on Mars, colonization a no-go

All this is much more agitated and eventful than the old picture…
Those towering, 100 meters high cliffs of ice on Mars. Last year. That makes Mars colonization feasible (once we have a huge energy source, like portable thermonuclear fusion…

NASA announced the discovery of organics on Mars. Ian Miller’s blog put that into perspective.
This sort of discoveries, ice cliffs now, and water four billion years ago, are more impactful than whether life evolved there. Hunting for fossils is how to solve that one… And will not be easy: 4 billion year old fossils on Earth are very controversial…

I am a bit impact and significance obsessed… in all matters. The hierarchy of all values comes from the hierarchy of significance. That Mars is colonizable, because it has water, is a huge piece of information, full of hope. A hope to spread humanity beyond our endangered cradle. But we don’t have all the technology we need yet: even if the cost of launches is brought as low as Elon Musk hopes (6 million dollars per launch of his giant BFR rocket, he claimed…), we don’t have an energy source for Mars: a worldwide dust storm has just plunged the planet in obscurity, and a solar powered rover had to shut itself down. (the Curiosity rover is nuclear powered, so it’s not affected… It was the last nuclear power pack, or so… Nuclear ain’t PC, you know…)

Pretty much we will need to develop controlled nuclear fusion to go melt those huge cliffs of ice… Some will scream at ecological devastation. Not so: right now, the European Union, this high temple of hypocrisy and things not being what they seem to be, import enough palm oil from South East Asia to kill all the Orangutans there… Among other life forms. And what does it do with all this food? Fuel! Fuel which the EU, in its colossal madness and criminal alacrity to invert all values, view as more important than life itself! Yes, most of the palm oil imported to Europe is turn into car exhausts…

Palm oil is one of the main engines of environmental destruction. Found in food and cosmetics, its growing use is destroying rainforests and endangering all species of much of the world. And indeed, more than half of all the palm oil imported by Europe is turned into biodiesel and blended into fuel (the US does the same with corn, but that’s more honest, less colonialist, as it is the US Middle West itself that is devastated by growing too much corn…)

Conquering the Solar System, colonizing it, will force us to use much more efficient techniques. Then we can recycle those new technologies on Earth, to reduce our impact on the home planet…So it is highly moral, not just games in space to feel better about ourselves, and distract us from gravitas. For example Photovoltaics (“PV”) used in space have nearly 50% efficiency, more than twice the one realized on the ground (they are also more expensive…) On the ISS, sweat and urine are 100% recycled…

Art, morality are children of our technology, itself the expression of science.

Patrice Ayme

 


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