Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2017 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Looking back at the future

3 October 2017

I read a short but interesting piece on the ScienceDaily website today.

Apparently, scientists now believe that the planet Mars once had a dense atmosphere and seas of liquid water at some time in its past.

According to the article, the presence of this dense atmosphere and the oceans that this supported may have existed as little as four billion years ago.

The question the article asks is "where did that atmosphere go and why?"

But that's not the question I would like answered.

I have a much more interesting question.

I want to know if Venus and Mars are warnings to us here on Earth as to what might go wrong if we, or some other external force, disturb the delicate balance of our environment.

According to what I've read, both Mars and Venus were far more Earth-like than they are today.

For whatever reason, Venus has become a scorching example of the greenhouse effect run amok. The result is a planet which has become like a greenhouse, trapping a huge percentage of the energy that reaches it from the sun and causing surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead.

Where did those blue skies and warm oceans go and why?

Meanwhile, back on Mars, we have a ice planet which has lots its greenhouse capabilities when its atmosphere decided to waft off into the vacuum of space. Much of the sun's heat is simply reflected back into space and daytime surface temperatures at the equator are still well below zero. Nearer the poles, Mars is so cold that even the trace amounts of CO2 in its wispy atmosphere are turned into dry ice.

So here we sit on our little blue sphere with portents of doom to the left and the right so should we be investing more time, effort and money to find out exactly what we can do to avoid a similar fate?

Odds are that we're in our "lucky period" right now where, just like Goldilocks, things aren't too cold and they aren't too hot -- but how much longer will this last?

In the universe, the only constant is change and eventually Earth will swing one way or the other. Of course if that change is due to a solar event or some other natural phenomenon then we will simply be powerless to do anything about it -- but in the short to medium term it might pay us to be a little more careful with this fragile orb we call home.

Perhaps I've read too much scifi but I can't help wondering if Mars wasn't once the home to an advanced civilization that either destroyed itself through neglect of its environment or was destroyed by some natural planet-wide catastrophe. If so, imagine the relics that may still remain, just waiting to be discovered under the Martian sands or deep inside some well-protected underground cavern.

Forget about finding life on Mars... I want to see if there used to be life and if so, exactly what form it took and what we could learn from its mistakes.

What a shame that none of this groundbreaking exploration will occur during my lifetime.

What do readers think?

Could the secret to our future survival lie buried in the sands of Mars?

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

The Missile Man The Missile Man book

Recent Columns

Youtube content creators are revolting
No, I'm not suggesting that those who create content for YouTube inspire feelings of revulsion...

Why so slow MPAA?
I recall a few years ago that the MPAA and other groups representing copyright owners were hot on the heels of anyone using a P2P network to pilfer content...

Fantastic news from SkyTV
Yesterday was a fantastic day for shareholders in Sky Television...

Finally, drone collides with airliner?
If a drone and a plane collide the result is bound to be death and destruction. If a drone and a helicopter collide, the same outcome is inevitable, only more-so...

Elon Musk's Hype-loop
It's going to change the world; apparently...

A stroke of genius
What is it about anti-virus software that attracts so many rogues and bad actors?...

News from your ISP and power company?
I think it's fair to say that the news publishing industry has been adversely affected by the power of the Net...

From the road, for the road
Tesla are pouring gargantuan sums of money into building a factory dedicated to manufacturing the type of 18650 Li-Ion cells used in the growing range of EVs that the company plans to make...

The harder we work, the slower we go?
The transistor was first invented back in 1947 or 48 and took a good 15 or 20 years to find its way from laboratory breakthrough to use in every-day products such as radios, amplifiers, etc...

Doing my bit
Your daily dose is a bit late today because I've been out doing my bit for the community...

The global warming ice-age
A regular reader sent me a link to an interesting piece on climate change, aka global warming, aka climate disruption...