Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

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Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby aardvark_admin » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:25 am

This column is archived at: http://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2017/1003.shtml

Could the history of Mars hold the secrets to the long-term survival of mankind here on planet Earth?

Are we more likely to discover evidence of long-disappeared life on Mars than actual living organisms?

Do Mars and Venus serve as sobering reminders of just how fragile our planet and the life it supports really is?
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby Muscular Jam » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:51 am

aardvark_admin wrote:Do Mars and Venus serve as sobering reminders of just how fragile our planet and the life it supports really is?
I think everything we discover is a sobering reminder of just how fragile our planet and the life it supports really is. The 1961 Drake Equation has taken a pounding and of the various solutions proposed for the Fermi Paradox it seems that the Rare Earth Hypothesis is the one gaining ground. It isn't just our solar system that has a goldilocks zone, it has about 7 different goldilocks zones, galaxies have goldilocks zones, clusters and super clusters have goldilocks zones, and the history of the universe has a goldilocks zone. How much more sober can it get?
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby hagfish » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:35 am

There seems to be lots of effort to find 'Goldilocks-zone' exo-planets, and lots of effort around colonising Mars. I can't imagine our species wanting to head back down a gravity well, having finally escaped Earth. I think it's more likely that we will 'stay' in space. There's plenty of room for large structures, the environment can be tightly controlled, and there's an abundance of energy and resources floating about. One day, going 'planetside' for a week might be an adventure, but then it will be straight back to the safety, convenience and comforts of a hab.
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby Hiro Protagonist » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:21 am

The issue of the Martian atmosphere isn't exactly a mystery, Mars is small, and the evidence is that it has cooled internally to the point where it no longer has a liquid core, and hence its magnetic field is very weak. As a consequence the atmosphere is no longer protected from the solar wind, and has been stripped away.

I have seen a proposal that a solar powered magnetic device at the Mars/Sun L1 would be capable of deflecting the solar wind away sufficiently to permit atmospheric regeneration.

Over long timespans, the habitable zone will move outwards as suns luminosity increases with age, the situation on Venus will inevitably be played out on Earth in time.
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby par_annoyed » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:37 am

As a skeptic of nearly everything - I think an awful lot of 'evidence' and 'proof' about Venus and Mars is still missing, and much of the stories about "Mars once had liquid water and a dense atmosphere" is nothing but speculation.
It *might* be true, but it's probably not. The other Mars theory is that without a good magnetic field, the Solar wind can simply siphon off the atmosphere (and water vapour). Again, may be true, may not.

Venus - who is to say it wasn't ALWAYS stinking hot ?? Perhaps it has an internal heat source, or something else we don't understand.... The Earth is heated internally too !!

I could even attack the view that the Sun will automatically get hotter - this is only according to our current 'fusion' model which, frankly, has some serious holes in it as well.
Our understanding continues to increase, but I think we still have heaps of stuff to learn, and perhaps our models of the sun, solar system, and universe are still wrong.

Personally I think there are more immediate issues than 'climate change' even if it even exists. At the rate we are using up resources (fresh water, rare earth metals, oil, wood, food) and the rate we are polluting the place, (plastic in oceans, atmospheric pollution, radiation, bugs, etc) I reckon we'll kill ourselves as a result of one or more of those things first.
Last edited by par_annoyed on Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby Muscular Jam » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:39 am

hagfish wrote:There seems to be lots of effort to find 'Goldilocks-zone' exo-planets, and lots of effort around colonising Mars. I can't imagine our species wanting to head back down a gravity well, having finally escaped Earth. I think it's more likely that we will 'stay' in space. There's plenty of room for large structures, the environment can be tightly controlled, and there's an abundance of energy and resources floating about. One day, going 'planetside' for a week might be an adventure, but then it will be straight back to the safety, convenience and comforts of a hab.
yeah, but the effort to build, run and maintain such structures might be prohibitive. Whereas a nice planet pretty much looks after itself.
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby Muscular Jam » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:42 am

par_annoyed wrote:At the rate we are using up resources (fresh water, rare earth metals, oil, wood, food) and the rate we are polluting the place, (plastic in oceans, atmospheric pollution, radiation, bugs, etc) I reckon we'll kill ourselves as a result of one or more of those things first.
Sadly I think you are right about that.
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby Malcolm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:39 pm

par_annoyed wrote:As a skeptic of nearly everything - I think an awful lot of 'evidence' and 'proof' about Venus and Mars is still missing, and much of the stories about "Mars once had liquid water and a dense atmosphere" is nothing but speculation.
It *might* be true, but it's probably not. The other Mars theory is that without a good magnetic field, the Solar wind can simply siphon off the atmosphere (and water vapour). Again, may be true, may not.

Venus - who is to say it wasn't ALWAYS stinking hot ?? Perhaps it has an internal heat source, or something else we don't understand.... The Earth is heated internally too !!

I could even attack the view that the Sun will automatically get hotter - this is only according to our current 'fusion' model which, frankly, has some serious holes in it as well.
Our understanding continues to increase, but I think we still have heaps of stuff to learn, and perhaps our models of the sun, solar system, and universe are still wrong.

Personally I think there are more immediate issues than 'climate change' even if it even exists. At the rate we are using up resources (fresh water, rare earth metals, oil, wood, food) and the rate we are polluting the place, (plastic in oceans, atmospheric pollution, radiation, bugs, etc) I reckon we'll kill ourselves as a result of one or more of those things first.


A lot of those issues are connected. Stop using up petrochemical resources for energy and carbon emissions will drop. Also people are now feeling the teeth of climate change biting. Just ask people in low lying coastal areas about how much erosion has increased in recent memory.
I remember a chemistry major at uni once told me that future generations will look back on how we are just burning oil as almost criminal. There are so many complex hydrocarbons in there that we have not really begun to fully understand and all we seem intent on doing is burning it for energy. Probably the least interesting thing we can do with these.
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby phill » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:05 pm

it always amazes me that most of the self described conservatives ( lets call them anti environmentalists )
seem to have enough intelligence not to go all in on a busted flush
but
give them a planet to play with and they seem happy to take any risks .... charging forth with the battle cry .. i havnt seen proof of change .. it must be ok ( rather like grandad stirring the garden sprays with his hands .. )

always forgetting the simple fact

its the only one we've got
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )
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Re: Looking back at the future (3 Oct, 2017)

Postby Muscular Jam » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:08 pm

Here's something to lighten the sombre mood, the history of exoplanet hunting sung a capella in 8 minutes, set to the music from Aladdin.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gai8dMA19Sw
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