Dec 012005

Like Hell itself, Darwin’s theory of evolution is often said to be protected by walls that are at least seven miles thick, in that it is not only true, but unassailable. — David Berlinski

None are so blind as those who will not see. Consider these articles on the findings from Mars.

Little Green Martian Mineral
The Olivine Mystery
One unexpected finding was the Mossbauer spectrometer’s detection of a mineral called olivine, which does not survive weathering well. Olivine is a shiny green rock commonly found in lava on Earth. This spectrometer identifies different types of iron-containing minerals; scientists believe many of the minerals on Mars contain iron. “This soil contains a mixture of minerals, and each mineral has its own distinctive Mossbauer pattern, like a fingerprint,” said Dr. Goestar Klingelhoefer of Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany, lead scientist for this instrument.

Scientists were puzzled by the discovery of olivine because it implies the soil consists at least partially of ground up rocks that have not been weathered or chemically altered. The lack of weathering suggested by the presence of olivine might be evidence that the soil particles are finely ground volcanic material, Squyres said. Another possible explanation is that the soil layer where the measurements were taken is extremely thin, and the olivine is actually in a rock under the soil. The other two iron-bearing minerals have yet to be pinned down.

Then you have this article.

Early Mars Had Substantial Quantities of Water
From previous observations, Mars must have undergone water-driven processes, which left their signature in surface structures such as channel systems and signs of extensive aqueous erosion. However, such observations do not necessarily imply the stable presence of liquid water on the surface over extended periods of time during the Martian history.

The data collected by OMEGA unambiguously reveal the presence of specific surface minerals which imply the long-term presence of large amounts of liquid water on the planet.

These ‘hydrated’ minerals, so called because they contain water in their crystalline structure, provide a clear ‘mineralogical’ record of water-related processes on Mars.

In the first article the scientists are puzzled by the discovery of olivine. So you have a discovery then the rationalization maybe we are not really seeing what we see.

In the second article the scientists excitedly proclaim their confidence that it unambiguously reveal the presence of specific surface minerals. These minerals naturally imply the long-term presence of large amounts of liquid water on the planet.

So what happen to the first finding that showed there was no water? The scientists are puzzled because that is not possible. We already know there must be water on Mars so finding olivine must have been wrong or some other explanation that we have not yet imagined. When we do enough research eventually we will be able to make up an explanation so the data would not conflict with the fact that there was water.

I wonder what they will do with this article

” Evidence for magmatic evolution and diversity on Mars from infrared observations” .

Compositional mapping of Mars at the 100-metre scale with the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) has revealed a wide diversity of igneous materials. Volcanic evolution produced compositions from low-silica basalts to high-silica dacite in the Syrtis Major caldera. The existence of dacite demonstrates that highly evolved lavas have been produced, at least locally, by magma evolution through fractional crystallization. Olivine basalts are observed on crater floors and in layers exposed in canyon walls up to 4.5 km beneath the surface. This vertical distribution suggests that olivine-rich lavas were emplaced at various times throughout the formation of the upper crust, with their growing inventory suggesting that such ultramafic (picritic) basalts may be relatively common. Quartz-bearing granitoid rocks have also been discovered, demonstrating that extreme differentiation has occurred. These observations show that the martian crust, while dominated by basalt, contains a diversity of igneous materials whose range in composition from picritic basalts to granitoids rivals that found on the Earth.

I was alerted to this article from RTB’s website.

    Martian Olivine Distribution Confirms Lack of Martian Water

  • Recent research provides additional evidence against Mars as a candidate for the existence-much less origin-of life. Liquid water is almost universally recognized as being critical for the existence of life-thus the “follow the water” mantra in astrobiology research. A team of American scientists found a large number of olivine (a silicate mineral with magnesium and iron) basalts on the surface of Mars in both ancient and recent geological formations. In liquid water environments, olivine basalts weather rapidly, so their presence on Mars argues against liquid water being present when they were formed. Without liquid water, Mars cannot be seriously considered as a location to search for life or to understand the origin of life.
    • P. R. Christensen et al., “Evidence for Magmatic Evolution and Diversity on Mars from Infrared Observations,” Nature 436 (2005): 504-09.

Do you know what else was different between the way these two discoveries were reported? The discovery of olivine was reported with skepticism and it makes no mention of the implication of life on Mars. The discovery of the other minerals is confidence and the quick conclusion of life on Mars.

“If we look at today’s evidence, the era in which Mars could have been habitable and sustained life would be the early Noachian, traced by the phyllosilicates, rather than the sulphates. The clay minerals we have mapped could still retain traces of a possible biochemical development on Mars,” Bibring concludes.

With a twist from Mr. Spock of Star Trek, “It’s science Jim, but not as we know it.”

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14 years ago

Notice how the “contrary” findings are reported, however. In contrast to ID journals, the contrary results are reported.

Once again, ID scientists trail the pack on reporting what’s going on.