Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Science Vindicates Edgar Rice Burroughs

ESA's Mars Express has returned strong evidence for an ocean once covering part of Mars. Using radar, it has detected sediments reminiscent of an ocean floor within the boundaries of previously identified, ancient shorelines on Mars.

The MARSIS radar was deployed in 2005 and has been collecting data ever since. Jérémie Mouginot, Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) and the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues have analysed more than two years of data and found that the northern plains are covered in low-density material.

Joe Jusko - In Defense of Dejah Thoris

"We interpret these as sedimentary deposits, maybe ice-rich," says Dr Mouginot. "It is a strong new indication that there was once an ocean here."  The existence of oceans on ancient Mars has been suspected before and features reminiscent of shorelines have been tentatively identified in images from various spacecraft. But it remains a controversial issue. Two oceans have been proposed: 4 billion years ago, when warmer conditions prevailed, and also 3 billion years ago when subsurface ice melted, possibly as a result of enhanced geothermal activity, creating outflow channels that drained the water into areas of low elevation.
Frank Frazetta - Thuvia, Maid of Mars

What with all the promotion for the "John Carter" movie, I was inspired to pick up the Edgar Rice Burrough's Mars novels on Kindle for the commute(for free), and I've been reading them for the past few days.  The books tell of Mars as a dying,drying planet, with oceans back in the dim history of it's long lived inhabitants. 
Michael Whelan - Swords of Mars

I had read a couple of his Tarzan books as a kid so I was not totally unprepared for the nearly comical level of nonsense in his "science fiction", or the antiquated and relatively stilted language, but it has been fun in a kind of "reverting to teenhood" sort of way.  I thought to jazz up this post, I'd use few F&SF type pictures rather loosely based on the Mars books...

Oh, and I still haven't seen the movie.  I might have to wait for cable, since I didn't get to it while it was in Prince Frederick.

Wombat-Socho at "The Other McCain included this in two weeks worth of Rule 5 links "Master of Puppets."

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