A huge ocean may formerly have covered nearly one-third of the Martian surface two scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder suggest.

In Nature Geoscience today, Gaetano di Achille and Bryan Hynek report how they analysed data that imply Mars was once covered by a huge ocean of water. Their evidence is a range of dry river deltas and valleys all at a similar elevation, meaning that the rivers fed into a single, great, body of water. This supports the idea that what are now the northern lowlands of Mars could have supported an ocean and therefore a water/atmosphere cycle much like Earth's.

Twenty years ago scientists scrutinising pictures of the Martian surface claimed to recognize extensive shorelines and networks of river valleys and outflow channels feeding in the same direction. Other scientists using thermal physics considered that such networks were likely carved by the workings of a complete water cycle, fuelled by an ocean of water.

So much water on Mars for many hundreds of millions of years may have helped originate, develop and sustain life forms, fossils of which could remain to be discovered by visiting space scientists. Where is the water now? How much remains on Mars? Might a useful fraction remain frozen in the subsoil?

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what if L. Ron Hubbard was right .......We're doomed.

That's not something I lay awake at nights worrying about, Jim. That religion began with a bet over a drink in a bar (well authenticated, even though Scientology angrily disputes it), and it has been downhill religiously ever since. I don't think it was inspired by any kind of spiritual über-insight, unless ethanol facilitates such experiences. Somehow, I don't think so.
Fredrick Pohl said, that in a conversation with Hubbard he said, "If you want to make some real money- start your own religion."
I don't really worry about them, in fact, I prefer to ignore them b/c they are LOONS.
I have no doubt that the vast bulk of extraterrestrial life is single-celled microorganisms. Look at the history of life on earth - mutlicellular forms are a relatively recent innovation.

As regards the problem of the speed limit, we are assuming it to be a problem because we are assuming that other multicellular life forms face the same life-limits we do; i.e., around a hundred years or so at best. But we know from examples of life even on this planet that some plants live for thousands, and even some animals are now known to live for several hundred. So if you are life form with a lifespan of, say, ten thousand years, taking four and a half to go check out the next star system ain't no big deal, any more than taking an ocean voyage may have been for our own ancestors.

That, also, presumes that no way around the Einstein limit is possible. It may be that it is; we know that space-time "wormholes" are possible at least in concept. Even in our own case, a thousand years from now, our current level of ignorance will be positively amusing, and that may extend to our understanding of methods of space travel as well.
The manipulation of time and space is exactly the kind of sophistication I am talking about when faced with the Fermi Paradox and the wishful thinking of benign visitation.
Another Fermi Paradox solution is possible: maybe they haven't made contact because we're simply uninteresting, and are a common sort of species throughout the galaxy. Do we intervene in the society of pond snails, even though we know they exist? There are many snails in many ponds who have no experience whatever of humans.
maybe they haven't made contact because we're simply uninteresting

Or because they're meatophobes.
Quite probable.
That, also, presumes that no way around the Einstein limit is possible. It may be that it is; we know that space-time "wormholes" are possible at least in concept.

That's certainly true it is, however, just mathematical modeling. I don't discount any possible technical advancement that is not even concevible at this point in time sometime in the future.
I read Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation In 1986 and thought nanotechnology was a cool but highly improbable (bordering on fantasy) technology, but a quarter a century later it's up and running. The same was true of genetic engineering or for that matter a cellular phone - who knows what tomorrow will spring on us.
There are hypothosis about binary stars indicating their having a high probability of planetary formation. I know the term Hubble Effect is used for the red shift. However i once, quite a few years ago, heard it used in reference to a disturbance around our Solar system. So if you'll allow me to use such a simplistic notion at this juncture.
Professor Kevin Luhman's work on binary stars, in particular in this context, indicates that the brown star exists for a shorter time within this binary system. If our Solar system was part of a binary star system, and NASA are looking at binary systems for other planets then the collapse of our binary star system would have shrunk the gravitational field we existed in. This would have compressed the Solar system and moved the planets closer to the Sun having a noticable effect on planetary conditions. Perhaps also giving the impetus to the creation of continents on Earth as opposed to one super continent.
Ur the super continent was formed about 3 billion years ago, i know some of the timings can seem questionable, however your 3.5 billion years timing for water on Mars must also be an hypothosis. It's just a question of rationalising some of the time lines.
There is a coincidence in the geophysical attributes of mars and the theoretical beginnings of continents on Earth. Such an obvious change on two planets at 3~3.5 billion years ago points to an event common to the whole solar system. I am now going to argue for the possibility of a binary star collapse and if we've been through one of them and survived 'eat yer heart out Universe'.
If we did have a Brown Dwarf as part of a binary star configuratioun that would give us in the first instance a further distance from the sun. That would make us a colder more ice bound planet; where did all the ice come from if it equates more than all the volume of the water on Earth.
On top of that we would be held more stable within the pressures of a binary star system, so if I have to concede a point about rotation what about a much slower rotation.
One of the first clues, that as we advance may have been a little off centre, was that Haleys Comet passed about a m miles from earth, and that it contained water. Now because my education was stunted it may be an advantage. For my childhood lessons water involved oxygen and the only scource of oxygen was terrestial.
So we have two planets undergoing huge change at the same time. So I used this as a reference point and wondered if the earth could have hade a huge ice field as a counterweight to a single land mass. So I thought non-rotating planet but as I said ansd would ask you to consider we were at least a m miles from our present position.
The key point I'd like to make is that I'm behind in developments because of the synchriosity in momentus upheavals on the same scale and because i've read reports (sorry that's vague but it was a while ago and I can't remember the link), that NASA were looking at Binary Stars as having the higher percentage of havinmg planetary systems. Something happened to both Planets within a similatr time scale.
I'd never heard of this idea of Sol being part of a binary star system at one point. Also, not sure by what you're saying here, did you know there is lots of frozen water out in space and models suggest we were easily seeded with this ice from debris, I saw an interesting computer simulation of it on the National Geographic channel.
Another little snippet i've just come accross on youtube is a video considering the two states necessary for evolution. A change in enviroment and the levels of radiation.
So we have two shattering events on Earth and Mars ie; the beginnings of the formation of land mass on Earth and the Noachian period on Mars.
If there is any possibility that I am right about the collapse of the binary star system then we should remember the geological timescales for our solar system to re-achieve 'stability', quite a relative term considering the flux our universe is in.
So we have undergone a number of states to get here. Moving towards the Sun on geoligical time scales as well as the change in radiation from being closer to the Sun satisfies the two criteria of change in enviroment and alterations in radiation levels. The effects of which if we consider it in evolutionary and geological timescale could explain the series of species extinction the world has gone through.
I have'nt posted the link because it has one of those awful synthetic voices so just on principal I have'nt put the link in.



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