Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Is it me, or is NASA clueless about muddy tracks?

Seems funny that the scientists at NASA haven't picked up on obvious clues showing that mud is what is causing the wheel problems on one of the Mars rovers. (I don't have a civil engineering degree, but all my experience with similar appearing environments here point to the obvious.) There's a nice muddy dirt clod fouling the wheel. With all that science and engineering, you think they'd have at least one person with a decent understanding of hydrology and/or geomorphology in relation to surface soil behavior. But nope, they're still moping around thinking that Mars is a perfectly bone dry world. Compared to Earth, Mars is indeed dried up (no large surface lakes or oceans) - but by no means bone dry. There are plenty of signs of soil water, puddles of standing water, and water caused erosion. It's a damp red clay permafrost mudball. The next probe they send should have instrumentation needed to fully evaluate soil moisture content.

This is a good sign for anyone interested or advocating the colonization of Mars. If the soil is indeed as sticky with moisture as it appears to be, then there should be enough water in the dirt to support a colony with a decent supply of potable water.

Anyhow, if you don't believe me - take a look at NASA's latest rover images showing tracks and mud stuck to the wheels. Or take a look at xenotech's website, he's been cataloging the stuff in detail. (He's even got a case going that Mars could be considered Earth's twin that ended up stillborn in the precambrian era as its atmosphere faded away.)

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