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Mysterious Mars

Today, 27 August, at 9.51 am GMT, Mars will be a mere 56 million kilometres from
Earth, the closest it has been since 57,617 BC.

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Mars as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope

The claim that Neanderthals 60 millennia ago witnessed a Mars approach similar to what we
are seeing today should be re-evaluated on two counts, one astronomical and one
historical.

First: the equations used by astronomers produce the numbers which tell us where the
planets have been (or will be) for millions of years, provided nothing has changed.
Mathematically, these equations can be trusted for only a few centuries into the past, and
not at all into the future. It is only the astronomers faith in the unchanged orbits of the
planets that allows them to assume that the equations will yield accurate records of where
the planets were tens of thousands of years ago.

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Second: to solve the mysteries of Mars astronomers must first answer the following
historical questions posed by Ev Cochrane in Martian Metamorphoses: The Planet Mars in
Ancient Myth and Religion:

“Earthlings have long been fascinated by the planet Mars. Well before modern science fiction
speculated about advanced civilizations upon Mars and the dire threat of invasion by little green
men, the red planet was regarded as a malevolent agent of war, pestilence, and apocalyptic disaster.
In an attempt to appease the capricious planet-god, various ancient cultures offered it human
sacrifices. What is there about this distant speck of light that could inspire such bizarre conceptions
culminating in ritual murder? And how do we account for the fact that virtually identical beliefs are
to be found around the globe, in the New World as well as the Old?”

Cochrane continues:

“For untold millennia prior to the advent of scientific astronomy


and well before there were any records which could properly be
called historical, human beings recounted myths surrounding
their favorite heroes and gods. Prominent themes in these sacred
traditions include the Creation, the Deluge, the wars of the gods,
and the dragon-combat. Despite the passage of eons and the
destruction of countless cultures, such myths were committed to
memory and told again and again primarily because they
represented sacred knowledge regarding the history of the world.
Until recently, however, such traditions have been given short
shrift by scholars in general and all but ignored by mainstream science. This is most apparent,
perhaps, in the modern astronomer’s faith that more can be learned about the recent history of our
solar system from running computer simulations than from considering what our ancestors had to
say on the matter.”

Precisely. The date given with computer generated accuracy for Mars’ last closest approach
to Earth is worthless. The computer has not been programmed with the real history of this
world or that of Mars. Astronomers simply assume that the solar system is a Newtonian
timepiece with no real history for billions of years. If that is wrong – and our ancestors
obsessively repeat a different story – then the first law of computing applies to the
computed date: Garbage in = garbage out.

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An artist’s picture appearing on Space.com of Neanderthalers having a barbeque under the
peaceful glow of a reddish spot in the sky is pure fantasy.

Cochrane again:

“..many of the greatest mythical themes reflect ancient man’s obsession with the red planet. Indeed,
we will attempt to show that Mars’ prominence in ancient consciousness is directly attributable to
the peculiar behavior of the red planet, which only recently participated in a series of spectacular
cataclysms involving the Earth and various neighboring planetary bodies. If our thesis has any
validity, it follows that the orthodox version of the recent history of the solar system is itself little
more than a modern ‘myth’ and stands in dire need of revision. With implications this far-reaching,
the ancient traditions surrounding the planet Mars suddenly take on new significance.”

Science is supposed to consider all relevant data in attempting to find the truth. It is
unscientific to ignore the references to Mars passed down by our ancestors worldwide, and
which they considered of paramount significance. “We instinctively dismiss the idea that five
or ten thousand years ago there may very well have been thinkers of the order of Kepler,
Gauss or Einstein, working with the means at hand,” wrote De Santillana & Von Dechend in
Hamlet’s Mill.

In addition, it is naïve to think that our infinitesimally small time window of modern scientific
investigation can be extrapolated back over 60,000 years, let alone over millions or billions
of years. Mars is a mystery simply because of our unscientific and naïve approach.

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In New Scientist of 23 August 2003, in an article by David L. Chandler titled “All eyes
on Mars,” some of the mysteries faced by experts were outlined.

“..Mars is proving more enigmatic than ever at the moment. The latest images of the Martian
surface taken by NASA’s orbiting Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) have revealed profoundly
mysterious landforms that have left geologists scratching their heads. The features include a
combination of surprisingly stable dunes, canyons without craters and rapidly eroding ice caps. All
point to amazingly fast processes taking place on the surface. Mars has changed considerably in the
past few thousand years – in some places, even the past two years. Yet nobody knows why.
Unraveling the mystery will require a radical leap in theoretical thinking, says Michael Malin, the
geologist in charge of the MGS camera.”

No amount of theorizing based on slow evolutionary geological principles will explain how
the giant canyons on Mars are so young that they have no craters in their walls. The very
formation mechanism of Valles Marineris is a mystery to geologists. However, if we make
use of the forensic evidence from the past, the formation of Valles Marineris was witnessed
by modern humans in late prehistory. We don’t need to theorize. Mars, the god of war, was
memorialized as the heroic figure in a celestial battle fought with thunderbolts. Mars was
struck and a visible scar remained. For the scar of Valles Marineris to be seen by the
naked eye requires that Mars was about one hundred times closer to the Earth than
it is on this closest approach!

Unfortunately, such a radical overhaul of astronomy and geology are implied by such
information that it’s just not going to happen any day soon. Arthur Koestler wrote, in The
Ghost in the Machine:

“The revolutions in the history of science are successful escapes from blind alleys. The evolution of
knowledge is continuous only during those periods of consolidation and elaboration which follow a
major breakthrough. Sooner or later, however, consolidation leads to increasing rigidity, orthodoxy,
and so into the dead end of overspecialization – to the koala bear.”

So it is left to a few adventurous seekers after the truth to scout far ahead and to find the
way out of the blind alley into which science has led us.

Based on an interdisciplinary approach to the mysteries of Mars, some suggested


solutions to the problems follow the excerpts from the new Scientist article.

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“On Mars today, it looks as if glaciers are receding after an ice age. At the planet’s south pole,
alternate layers of ice and dust are vanishing before our eyes. These long, sweeping, arm-like
peninsulas were deposited as a result of past climate oscillations. According to MGS images from
1999 and 2001, they are eroding at a rate of 3 metres per year or more. The images show peninsulas
of ice narrowing, and occasionally being pinched off into islands, with some islands disappearing
altogether. By measuring the amount of erosion seen over two years, Malin calculates one entire
layer will disappear within 20 years.

“We were absolutely shocked by that,” said Malin when he presented his results at a meeting of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science in Denver, Colorado, in February. The
magnitude of the changes implies an enormous amount of energy is being pumped into the ice to
melt and vaporise it. And the speed of the vaporisation has helped to resolve a long-standing
controversy over whether the ice is frozen water or carbon dioxide. “Calculations showed the only
material that could have changed that rapidly is carbon dioxide,” says Malin. It is hard to tell from
above how thick each layer of ice is, but best estimates are that with every layer eroded, the
thickness of the Martian atmosphere increases by 1 per cent.

More questions remain. How many layers were there in the first place, before the erosion started?
How many remain below? Nobody knows. But the implications for one of Mars’s best-known
surface features are astounding. “All the visible ice, all the carbon dioxide that we see in this
‘permanent’ ice cap could be eroded in less than a century,” Malin says.”

COMMENT: The fact that thunderbolts were remembered by the ancients as a cause of
surface scarring on Mars opens a whole new realm of rapid electrical deposition and
erosion to explain surface features. It happened yesterday in geological terms so that we
may expect faster adjustments today than otherwise expected. Electric discharges tend to
remove matter from the cathode and transfer it to the anode. Electrical deposition from
another body would explain the global layering seen on Mars. Electric discharge machining
would tend to remove surface material by an etching process. That has resulted in many
weird surface features.

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This enigmatic landform on Mars shows the extensive layering followed by powerful electric discharge etching
of the surface. On the right is an electric discharge machined surface viewed under an electron microscope.
The scalability law of plasma phenomena allows a direct comparison

The Earth today suffers minor electrical interaction with the solar plasma, which results in
lightning at mid to lower latitudes and a diffuse auroral discharge at the poles. Another
form of diffuse atmospheric electric discharge is the more energetic tornado. Mars was also
depicted by the ancients as sitting within a glowing tornadic column for a period. That
would explain the huge swirling erosion patterns at both of the Martian poles. It also means
that the polar caps are only about 10,000 years old and probably still accommodating to
Mars’ “new” environment. The puzzling difference between the northern and southern
hemispheres of Mars is explained simply if the north pole was the cathode in the tornadic
electrical exchange. Material would then have been removed from the northern hemisphere
to give the low, flat and relatively uncratered terrain found there.

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On the left is the raised swirling terrain at the Martian north pole. At right, we see that the layers of the martian north
polar cap are divided into upper, light-toned layers and lower, darker layers. It shows the deposition process to have
been discontinuous. Streamers of dark sand join a nearby "dune field" a few kilometers away. Erosion of the lower
layered unit liberates sand that was long ago deposited in these layers. The upper unit, by contrast, contains almost
no sand. Wind may have created the dunes or they may have been shaped by earlier spark "pitting" of the surface.
Mars Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

For comparison, this surface has been pitted by the process of electric spark machining.

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“Other features indicate a [recently] changing world, too. For example, huge fields of granular
dunes preserve detailed features that show that they once marched across the landscape like sand
dunes on Earth, blown by the wind. Yet these dunes are frozen in place, without a trace of motion
over a two-year interval.

The only plausible explanation is, again, climate change. If the atmosphere was much thicker in the
recent past, its winds may have been able to push along dunes that today’s winds can no longer
even ruffle. Mars may have lost much of that thicker atmosphere in the past and perhaps it is now
regaining it from the evaporation of its polar caps.”

COMMENT: It was the most catastrophic climate change imaginable involving a drastic shift
of orbit as a result of the close electrical and gravitational encounters with other planets.
Electrical forces in an essentially chaotic gravitational system can quickly change and
stabilize planetary orbits. It renders computer orbital retro-calculations invalid. No such
computation will place Mars near the Earth only 10,000 years ago! The tornadic circumpolar
winds mentioned above were capable of moving heavy sand grains and forming vast fields
of sand dunes around the polar caps. However, the electrical interactions were capable of
stripping much of Mars’ atmosphere too. The final result was a tenuous atmosphere no
longer capable of moving sand dunes.

“Perhaps the most mysterious new-found feature on Mars lies inside its version of the Grand
Canyon, the huge Valles Marineris, a 2000-kilometre-long canyon near the equator. In a side
canyon called Candor Chasma, the floor lies 3.5 kilometres below the surrounding plateau and the
walls are spectacularly layered. But there are few impact craters on Candor Chasma’s floor,
implying that it is less than a million years old, as it has not had time to be bombarded by many
meteorites. But if it is that young, Malin asks, “how did it get exposed from under three and a half
kilometres of material?” So far, there is no answer.”

COMMENT: I have explained how a powerful cosmic thunderbolt tore out the canyons of
Valles Marineris and the event was witnessed by humans. As for dating surfaces by crater
counting, almost all of the craters on Mars are electrical. Impacts do not form such neat
circular craters. Because they are electrical craters they tend to form on high points. That is
why they are often seen perched on the raised rims of earlier craters (earlier possibly only
by minutes) and the edges of canyons and not on the walls of existing craters and canyons.

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“ ‘Altogether,’ says Malin, ‘we have maybe eight to ten landforms that indicate that what you see
on Mars today, in terms of the environment, is not what formed the features we see.’ That points to
climate change, agrees planetary scientist Chris McKay of NASA’s Ames Research Center in
California, who viewed Malin’s images at a Mars conference in Pasadena, California, last month.
But until scientists develop a detailed hypothesis that describes the type of climate change and links
it to the features observed, the images don’t make sense, says McKay. ‘We’ve reached a point of
diminishing returns from orbital imaging,’ he says.

Malin and McKay aren’t the only ones feeling puzzled. ‘The problems are becoming more difficult,
instead of becoming easier,’ said Bruce Jakosky, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado
at Boulder, who was at the meeting in Pasadena. ‘People are seeing things they just don’t
understand, and coming up with wild ideas to try to explain them,’ he says. Many suggestions
invoke glaciation, but none can explain all the enigmatic features.”

COMMENT: Malin is correct. The present environment of Mars did not form the features on
Mars. Unfortunately, as specialists, geologists have little else to work with other than climate
change to explain recent surface changes. For Koestler’s “koala bears,” more orbital imaging
just adds to the confusion. However, continued orbital imaging remains valuable for
interdisciplinary advance scouts. They have the entire remembered experience of the
human race to assist their understanding of the images. They are not limited by the myths
created by modern science. They can see beyond to an interdisciplinary science created by
the study of myths.

We must use myths to create a new science, not science to create new myths.

“The most ‘ancient treasure’ -in Aristotle’s words- that was left to us by our predecessors of the
High and Far-off Times was the idea that the gods are really stars, and that there are no others. The
forces reside in the starry heavens, and all the stories, characters and adventures narrated by
mythology concentrate on the active powers among the stars, who are planets.”
— Giorgio Di Santillana and Hertha Von Dechend, Hamlet’s Mill

Wal Thornhill

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