posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 05:55 PM
I have some more time to think about this thread and it won't leave my mind. If there was ever life on mars. There quite possibly could still be
Mars (Greek: Ares) is the god of War. (An interesting side note: the Roman god Mars was a god of agriculture before becoming associated with the
Greek Ares; those in favor of colonizing and terraforming Mars may prefer this symbolism.) The name of the month March derives from Mars.
Mars has been known since prehistoric times. Of course, it has been extensively studied with ground-based observatories. But even very large
telescopes find Mars a difficult target, it's just too small. So we've never really studied traces of life yet (with all the solar bombardment due
to lack of atmosphere they may never find any).
Viking 2 Landing Site
Pathfinder Landing Site
The first spacecraft to visit Mars was Mariner 4 in 1965. Several others followed including Mars 2, the first spacecraft to land on Mars and the two
Viking landers in 1976. Ending a long 20 year hiatus, Mars Pathfinder landed successfully on Mars on 1997 July 4. In 2004 the Mars Expedition
Rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity" landed on Mars sending back geologic data and many pictures; they are still operating after more than a year on
Mars. Three Mars orbiters (Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Express) are also currently in operation.
Mars' orbit is significantly elliptical. One result of this is a temperature variation of about 30 C at the subsolar point between aphelion and
perihelion. This has a major influence on Mars' climate. While the average temperature on Mars is about 218 K (-55 C, -67 F), Martian surface
temperatures range widely from as little as 140 K (-133 C, -207 F) at the winter pole to almost 300 K (27 C, 80 F) on the day side during summer. (If
you knew the climate shifts it could seem bareable)
Though Mars is much smaller than Earth, its surface area is about the same as the land surface area of Earth.
Mars has some of the most highly varied and interesting terrain of any of the terrestrial planets, some of it quite spectacular:
Olympus Mons: the largest mountain in the Solar System rising 24 km (78,000 ft.) above the surrounding plain. Its base is more than 500 km in diameter
and is rimmed by a cliff 6 km (20,000 ft) high.
Tharsis: a huge bulge on the Martian surface that is about 4000 km across and 10 km high.
Valles Marineris: a system of canyons 4000 km long and from 2 to 7 km deep (top of page);
Hellas Planitia: an impact crater in the southern hemisphere over 6 km deep and 2000 km in diameter.
Much of the Martian surface is very old and cratered, but there are also much younger rift valleys, ridges, hills and plains. (None of this is visible
in any detail with a telescope, even the Hubble Space Telescope; all this information comes from the spacecraft that we've sent to Mars.)
So if you stripped Earth of its water, it would look just as ragged, but bigger. I think it is almost naive to think that Mars had never sustained
functioning life. Adaptation is a strong natural wonder. If I had to bet, I'd put $5 that if someone started digging the surface of the planet,
we'd run into a stranger.