As shown in my last blog, the photos Mars’ rovers send back display some weird—albeit explainable—images. In today’s blog, I will update the latest information on Mars’ findings.
NASA doubts there’s life on Mars. However, there is still a lot we need to investigate on the Red Planet says Heather Graham, astrobiologist for NASA. “We have found evidence that suggests Mars could have once supported life in its ancient past,” she says.
Recently skywatchers have reported an uptick in Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena/UAP (formerly UFO) activity. Add to this, ex Air Force intelligence officer David Grusch’s report to the House Oversight Committee; and it’s easy to understand how this increase has piqued NASA’s interest (BBC).
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. — Arthur C. Clarke’s third law in his 1962 book Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible
Recent Mars’ Weirdness
Since I’m updating Mars’ weirdness, I visited Scott Waring’s website, UFO Daily Sightings. It’s always fun. Following are recent NASA rover images, in which Scott points out significant could-be and what-ifs.
Whether you believe in ETs, a once-upon-a-time life on Mars, or Mars’s monkeys; the speculation and questions that invade our imagination can be powerful.
Connections to Mars
Earlier this summer, an intelligence officer (turned-whistleblower) and two pilots gave a shocking report to Congress about their encounters with UAPs.
UAP is a catch-all term used to label flying objects pilots see or sensors pick up in the sky, sea, or space that have no straightforward explanation. I’m guessing officials wanted to get away from of the usage of UFO because it can conjure up images of little green men.
“The office tracking reports of UFOs has added nearly 400 additional sightings to its catalog over the last year, either because of new sightings or older sightings discovered in existing files, bringing the total number of UFO sightings to over 500.” —CBS News January 12, 2023.
(Note, earlier in 2023, CBS was still referring the unidentified objects as UFOs.)
Scientist explain some of these UAP are balloon-like objects, drones, or aerial clutter. But some:
“exhibited unusual flight characteristics or performance, and require further analysis.”—CBS News, January 12, 2023
Considering the proximity of Earth to Mars, perhaps if these anomalous objects are from an extraterrestrial source, it’s not too far-fetched to wonder if their origins could be Mars.
The HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took the above photo of our Earth and Moon from Mars. The Orbiter’s mission is to capture photos of Mars’ surface, but sometimes it’s pointed at our home to calibrate HiRise data. We are familiar with Earth’s characteristics like color and reflectance, so it makes an excellent subject for the camera.
HiRISE takes images in three wavelength bands: infrared, red, and blue-green, which are displayed here as red, green, and blue, respectively. This treatment of the data causes green vegetation to appear red. The landmass shown in the middle of Earth is Australia. Northwest of it, the lush vegetation of Southeast Asia and Asia gives that continent a red hue. The bright area near Earth’s southern pole is Antarctica. Other bright areas are clouds. The image also shows the western near-side of the Moon, which has large, dark, basaltic plains called maria.” — NASA Earth Observatory
Mars in Fiction
According to educator Emily Lakdawalla with The Planetary Society, the TV series Star Trek Picard comes closest to portraying Mars in its truest form.
Lakdawala was present at CBS’s screening of the first three episodes. These episodes open, showing orbitals of Mars. They were instantly recognizable, she said.
“Not just as in—hey, I get that this is supposed to be Mars, but—hey, I know that place and that place, and there’s Schiaparelli crater which means Opportunity landed right there to the left…”— Emily Lakdawala
Fiction Not so Much
NASA explains the impact glass deposits (green) in the above photo were formed from the heat of a blast.
Such deposits might provide a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet. NASA News
Scientist Peter Schultz of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, led a 2014 study which found organic molecules and plant matter entombed in glass formed by an impact that occurred millions of years ago in Argentina. Schultz suggested that similar processes might preserve signs of life on Mars, if they were present at the time of an impact.
Other Mars News
Some say this recent Mars’ image resembles the face of a bear.
“possibly the remains of a buried impact crater”—NASA explains.