Sunday, October 19, 2014

Death Of A Planet

The below is a false color map of Mars taken by MOLA, the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter. Because of MOLA, we actually know more about Mars topography than we do of Earth.

The darker the color, the lower the altitude.

We now know that Mars once had a large ocean (the deep blue at top) and a useful atmosphere.

So what happened?

That huge dark blue crater was caused by an impact from a very large something. When it hit, it literally blew the Mars atmosphere into deep space. Without an atmosphere, the ocean rapidly "boiled" away into space.

I am told that the shock waves from the impact radiated away in all directions, meeting at the opposite side of the planet, creating the solar systems largest known volcano, Olympus Mons. It's not at the exact opposite of the impact crater, mass concentrations here and there slowed some of the shock waves, causing the volcano to erupt off-center.

And these shock waves were mind-boggling. They were like massive Tsunamis on Earths oceans, thousands of feet high, but consisting of dirt and rock instead of water, lifting and destroying everything on the surface as they sped around the planet,  to meet in yet another tremendous cataclysm where Olympus Mons is now, a twelve-mile-high monument to that day.

If there was life on Mars at the time - and there most likely was - it was most certainly extinguished almost instantly on that fateful day.

There is a fanciful theory that the Martians, seeing this monster of an impactor approaching,  built one or more - possibly many -  lifeboat spaceships and headed for Earth, giving Earths indigenous lifeforms a jumpstart to civilization.

Maybe the Martins were already here, and were a part of a two-planet civilization.

True or not, it's good stuff. It would make a good movie.


texlahoma said...

That would make a good movie.
I like to think about things like that. And this: Who Built the Moon?
... Their persuasive conclusion: if higher life only developed on Earth because the Moon is exactly what it is and where it is, it becomes unreasonable to cling to the idea that the Moon is a natural object—an idea with profound implications.

Bob said...

Who built the moon?

Must not have been those Martians...

If they could have successfully built the moon - or moved it into orbit around earth - that relatively smaller Mars impacter would have been a piece of cake for them to divert.

The universe is a stranger place than we imagine. It is a stranger place then we CAN imagine.

Maybe the moon is hollow, we do know that it "rings" like a bell when hit by something. Maybe it was/is a death star sized space ship that brought humanity to earth, a reality lost to us when we descended into the stone age.

That would make another good movie!

texlahoma said...

Yeah, it would.
I thought I was going to have to tell you it rings like a bell, that will teach me to underestimate your knowledge.

Bob said...



Galt-in-Da-Box said...

Amazing! Thanks...Kinda wonder if the same asteroid shower didn't send one our way and take out the dinosaurs.