Yesterday, the big news was that NASA has solved a “mystery”.
What they found: There is, in the present, not just the distant past, a small amount of unfrozen water in a small number of places on or near the surface of Mars. It’s oozing around, creating a signature form of salt called perchlorate.
In order to whip up enthusiasm about their work, and to gain attention for themselves as individuals, NASA scientists were willing to make definite predictions about future scientific studies, claiming to know what will happen before it happens. When scientists engage in this kind of exaggerated claim to knowledge, they cast doubt on their credibility as individuals and as a collective work. […]
The NASA Curiosity Rover team calls the findings “incredibly exciting”. Yesterday, they reported finding organic compounds in Martian soil, as well dramatic fluctuations in atmospheric methane – “the first in-situ detection of methane on Mars”. Given that methane breaks down quickly in the Martian atmosphere, these fluctuations suggest that a dynamic methanogenic system of some […]
A map, using the Solar System Simulator v4.0, showing where the spaceship carrying Curiosity is today, in relation to Earth, Mars, the Sun and the rest of the planets in the Solar System. […]
Whatever the source, the methane on Mars could serve as a source of energy for future exploration and eventual colonization of the red planet. […]