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etLux
2004-Feb-19, 03:52 AM
"Well, I think they've already found life [on Mars]. There's some pictures from the laboratories which seem to me to be unmistakably vegetation様eaves and stems and things. I don't see what else it could possibly be. And where there's vegetation, you can bet there'll be something nibbling on it. I'm still hoping we'll find some Martians up there, holding up a sign that says 'Yankee go home.' [Laughs.]" - Arthur C. Clarke

http://www.theonionavclub.com/4007/feature1.html

Ian Goddard
2004-Feb-19, 04:34 AM
"Well, I think they've already found life [on Mars]. There's some pictures from the laboratories which seem to me to be unmistakably vegetation様eaves and stems and things. I don't see what else it could possibly be. And where there's vegetation, you can bet there'll be something nibbling on it. I'm still hoping we'll find some Martians up there, holding up a sign that says 'Yankee go home.' [Laughs.]" - Arthur C. Clarke
Clarke is talking at least in part about what are known as "spiders (http://www.martianspiders.com/may2003/e1301971b.jpg.htm)" -- remarkable radial "branching" formations on Mars. Look at the graphic linked-to in my last sentence and what you'll see looks like tree branches, albeit running along the Martian surface. However, I believe there's a better geological explanation: Hugh Kieffer's theory corroborated by the following detailed study by Piqueux, Byrne, and Richardson published in the Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets (108.8, 2003):

Sublimation of Mar's southern seasonal CO2 ice cap and the formation of spiders

In this paper we define and describe morphological features that have colloquially been termed "spiders" and map their distribution in the south polar region of Mars. We show that these features go through a distinct seasonal evolution, exhibiting dark plumes and associated fan-shaped deposits during the local defrosting of the seasonal cap. We have documented the seasonal evolution of the cryptic region and have found that spiders only occur within this terrain. These observations are consistent with a geyser-like model for spider formation. Association with the transparent (cryptic) portion of the seasonal cap is consistent with basal sublimation and the resulting venting of CO2 gas. Also consistent with such venting is the observation of dark fan-shaped deposits apparently emanating from spider centers. Spiders are additionally confined to the polar layered deposits presumably due to the poorly consolidated and easily eroded nature of their upper surface.

See the full Martian-spiders study: www.gps.caltech.edu/~shane/2002JE002007.pdf

etLux
2004-Feb-19, 04:55 AM
I'm not sure what Clarke is talking about, Ian; but given his generally astute take on things, it seems unlikely he would mistake the spider formations for plants.

informant
2004-Feb-19, 11:07 AM
O: The CD-ROM that comes with Time's Eye includes an interview with you, in which you say that gamma-radiation bursts in other galaxies may be indicative of interstellar warfare...

ACC: No, no, I've changed my mind. I think they're industrial accidents.
;)

etLux
2004-Feb-19, 02:54 PM
O: The CD-ROM that comes with Time's Eye includes an interview with you, in which you say that gamma-radiation bursts in other galaxies may be indicative of interstellar warfare...

ACC: No, no, I've changed my mind. I think they're industrial accidents.
;)

I'd go with that.

You have to be really careful when machining black holes.

Not enough cutting oil, and -- bang, up they go.

Ian Goddard
2004-Feb-19, 03:54 PM
I'm not sure what Clarke is talking about, Ian; but given his generally astute take on things, it seems unlikely he would mistake the spider formations for plants.
Spiders appear to be what Clarke refers to as looking like "Banyan trees" seen here (http://www.space.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?pic=v_mars_banyon_02.jpg&cap=Odd%2 0looking%20structures%20on%20Mars%20look%20like%20 Banyan%20trees%20explains%20noted%20writer,%20Arth ur%20Clarke.) (which links from a Clarke interview here (http://www.martianspiders.com/Images%20Stir%20Life%20on%20Mars%20Debate.htm)). Spiders take on different appearances through the Martian seasons as a result of ice formation and melting and display an outlined appearance in the linked-to image. There are several other Clarke interviews linked-to at the following site along with biogenic argumentation regarding the spiders:

http://MartianSpiders.com

As I noted, I favor this geogenic explanation:
http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~shane/2002JE002007.pdf

Daffy
2004-Feb-19, 04:43 PM
I'm not sure what Clarke is talking about, Ian; but given his generally astute take on things, it seems unlikely he would mistake the spider formations for plants.
Spiders appear to be what Clarke refers to as looking like "Banyan trees" seen here (http://www.space.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?pic=v_mars_banyon_02.jpg&cap=Odd%2 0looking%20structures%20on%20Mars%20look%20like%20 Banyan%20trees%20explains%20noted%20writer,%20Arth ur%20Clarke.) (which links from a Clarke interview here (http://www.martianspiders.com/Images%20Stir%20Life%20on%20Mars%20Debate.htm)). Spiders take on different appearances through the Martian seasons as a result of ice formation and melting and display an outlined appearance in the linked-to image. There are several other Clarke interviews linked-to at the following site along with biogenic argumentation regarding the spiders:

http://MartianSpiders.com

As I noted, I favor this geogenic explanation:
http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~shane/2002JE002007.pdf

What about the argument that much of the "growth" appears in areas that are the most sheltered from the sun? Wouldn't that indicate melting ice can't be the correct explanation?

Dancar
2004-Feb-19, 05:20 PM
No, polar areas receieve more sunlightt during the summer, and little or no sun during the winter. Just as on earth, it is the polar regions where you'd expect to see frequent forming and melting of ice.

As for Clarke, I really enjoyed reading his older books when I was growing up, but he seems to have leaned a bit woo-woo in his old age. I was also very dissapointed in the last couple novels I read.

Daffy
2004-Feb-19, 05:33 PM
No, polar areas receieve more sunlightt during the summer, and little or no sun during the winter. Just as on earth, it is the polar regions where you'd expect to see frequent forming and melting of ice.

As for Clarke, I really enjoyed reading his older books when I was growing up, but he seems to have leaned a bit woo-woo in his old age. I was also very dissapointed in the last couple novels I read.

Right. But the argument wasn't about the polar regions as such...it was that the most rapid "growth" occurs in areas that are in shadow. Nothing to do with the polar regions and seasons. Not directly, anyway.

Calling Clarke names does not address this issue.

SciFi Chick
2004-Feb-19, 05:49 PM
Calling Clarke names does not address this issue.

No one called Clarke a name. It's just that not all of his ideas are exactly scientifically minded.

Daffy
2004-Feb-19, 05:54 PM
Calling Clarke names does not address this issue.

No one called Clarke a name. It's just that not all of his ideas are exactly scientifically minded.

I don't want to hijack the thread. Suffice to say that I find the term "woo woo" when used by most people to mean, "I disagree with what you said, therefore you are an idiot." That is certainly unscientific, wouldn't you say?

SciFi Chick
2004-Feb-19, 06:10 PM
I do not wish to hijack the thread either, so I'll just recommend that you go here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=11115&postdays=0&postorder=asc&sta rt=25) for a discussion about the definition of woo woo.
It's not idiot. :)

Ian Goddard
2004-Feb-19, 06:18 PM
Right. But the argument wasn't about the polar regions as such...it was that the most rapid "growth" occurs in areas that are in shadow. Nothing to do with the polar regions and seasons. Not directly, anyway.
Again, changes associated with spiders are changes associated with ice formation and melting (read this study (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~shane/2002JE002007.pdf)). What is the source for your claim that "the most rapid 'growth' occurs in areas that are in shadow"?

While ice certainly grows in shadow, spiders appear to be patterns carved into the Martian surface that do not perceptibly "grow" over the seasons. The Kieffer theory is that spiders are carved by pressurized CO2 gas seeking escape routes from under CO2 ice caps. If you read the linked-to study you'll see that the centers of spiders are associated with CO2 geysers, ie, they are where pressurized CO2 has found an escape route from under transparent CO2 ice. It seems to me that, ipso facto, spiders are CO2-gas-escape channels. Again, please read this study (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~shane/2002JE002007.pdf).

Daffy
2004-Feb-19, 06:19 PM
I do not wish to hijack the thread either, so I'll just recommend that you go here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=11115&postdays=0&postorder=asc&sta rt=25) for a discussion about the definition of woo woo.
It's not idiot. :)

Well, back on track, I think the "trees" are probably not alive...but there is enough question that I think they are absolutely worth a closer study.

Daffy
2004-Feb-19, 06:21 PM
Right. But the argument wasn't about the polar regions as such...it was that the most rapid "growth" occurs in areas that are in shadow. Nothing to do with the polar regions and seasons. Not directly, anyway.
Again, changes associated with spiders are changes associated with ice formation and melting (read this study (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~shane/2002JE002007.pdf)). What is the source for your claim that "the most rapid 'growth' occurs in areas that are in shadow"?

While ice certainly grows in shadow, spiders appear to be patterns carved into the Martian surface that do not perceptibly "grow" over the seasons. The Kieffer theory is that spiders are carved by pressurized CO2 gas seeking escape routes from under CO2 ice caps. If you read the linked-to study you'll see that the centers of spiders are associated with CO2 geysers, ie, they are where pressurized CO2 has found an escape route from under transparent CO2 ice. It seems to me that, ipso facto, spiders are CO2-gas-escape channels. Again, please read this study (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~shane/2002JE002007.pdf).

It was on Space.com. I'll try to find a link.

etLux
2004-Feb-19, 07:17 PM
"Well, I think they've already found life [on Mars]. There's some pictures from the laboratories which seem to me to be unmistakably vegetation様eaves and stems and things. I don't see what else it could possibly be. And where there's vegetation, you can bet there'll be something nibbling on it. I'm still hoping we'll find some Martians up there, holding up a sign that says 'Yankee go home.' [Laughs.]" - Arthur C. Clarke

http://www.theonionavclub.com/4007/feature1.html

Just to clarify:

I am not citing Arthur C. Clarke as an expert; but in view of his stature and longevity, thought his comments might be of general interest.

One might also wonder, with Clarke being rather "well connected", if his mention of "pictures from the laboratories" might perhaps refer to images that are less commonly in circulation.

TinFoilHat
2004-Feb-19, 08:55 PM
IMHO, Clarke has either gone senile, has lost the ability to distinguish between science fiction and reality, or just doesn't care. A while ago he was going on about the giant worms on mars, which were actually sand dunes that looked kind of like worms in certain carefully selected photos. IIRC he's also a big believer in zero point energy devices.

Amadeus
2004-Feb-19, 08:59 PM
IMHO He's earned the right to go outside the mainstream every now and again. But that does not mean everything he says is true.

informant
2004-Feb-19, 09:09 PM
"Well, I think they've already found life [on Mars]. There's some pictures from the laboratories which seem to me to be unmistakably vegetation様eaves and stems and things. I don't see what else it could possibly be.
My interpretation is that he was simply expressing his conviction that the pictures will be proven to be of vegetation.
Perhaps that sounds overly optimistic to a scientist's ears, but, hey... he's a science fiction author!

(Edited.)

Swift
2004-Feb-19, 09:27 PM
This seems to be associated with The Onion, which is a sarcastic, joke website (which is why I like it). How serious then is The Onion AV Club?

R.A.F.
2004-Feb-19, 09:30 PM
...but, hey... he's a science fiction author!

Now, now...Arthur is also known for writing science fact essays.

It's a shame that Isaac Asimov is no longer "with us". He would have kidded Arthur about this, mercilessly. :)

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-19, 09:43 PM
This seems to be associated with The Onion, which is a sarcastic, joke website (which is why I like it). How serious then is The Onion AV Club?

The AV Club is pretty straight. The closest they come to that kind of messing around is things like "Justify Your Existence" or "Make us laugh" (if those mean anything to you).

And I should know, I've been in the Onion twice. Anyone care to try to guess how?

Dancar
2004-Feb-19, 09:52 PM
Sorry I offended some Clarke fans. While I'm a huge fan of his pre-1980 work, that doesn't mean I have to praise everything he says or does. For exmple, I'm dissapointed that he licenseed his name to that 1980s TV show "Aurther C. Clarke's Mysterious Planet" or whatever it was that dished up tripe about UFOs, Bigfoot or ancient astronauts every week. (Would Phil the Bad Astronomer be associated with a show like that?)

Interpreting Mars pictures as worms or trees (miles across) tells me his mind doesn't have the scientific discipline it used to have.

Dancar

etLux
2004-Feb-19, 10:40 PM
It's a shame that Isaac Asimov is no longer "with us".
Can you imagine! Asimov would have died to live long enough to see this...

informant
2004-Feb-20, 12:32 PM
I'm dissapointed that he licenseed his name to that 1980s TV show "Aurther C. Clarke's Mysterious Planet" or whatever it was that dished up tripe about UFOs, Bigfoot or ancient astronauts every week. (Would Phil the Bad Astronomer be associated with a show like that?)
If I remember correctly, The Mysterious World of Arthur C. Clarke took a rather skeptical look at paranormal phenomena. Should that be criticised?


This seems to be associated with The Onion, which is a sarcastic, joke website (which is why I like it). How serious then is The Onion AV Club?
I thought about that too, but the rest of the interview seems fairly serious, except, perhaps, the part in my first quote, above.

Dancar
2004-Feb-20, 04:53 PM
If I remember correctly, The Mysterious World of Arthur C. Clarke took a rather skeptical look at paranormal phenomena. Should that be criticised?

That's not how I remember it. Although it may have taken a so-called "balanced" approach between scientific and woo-woo explanations, sort of like classrooms in the South where Evolution and Creationism are taught as equally valid "theories."

informant
2004-Feb-20, 05:00 PM
I admit that I don't remember the series well enough to argue with that. Still, that shouldn't really matter. The question is: are his suggestions about Mars outrageous, or are they respectable speculation? Judging from Ian Goddard's posts, I'd say the latter.

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Feb-20, 06:24 PM
Clarke is a brilliant man, but fallible. His interpretation of these "trees" is almost certainly wrong. He also has commented on the "glass worm" on Mars as well... I have a page about the worm just about ready to go, but I had almost forgotten about the "trees". Now I have another page to write. Sigh...

ToSeek
2004-Feb-20, 07:37 PM
Clarke is a brilliant man, but fallible. His interpretation of these "trees" is almost certainly wrong. He also has commented on the "glass worm" on Mars as well... I have a page about the worm just about ready to go, but I had almost forgotten about the "trees". Now I have another page to write. Sigh...

A debunker's work is never done. Unfortunately.

Mellow
2004-Feb-20, 07:39 PM
I guess I agree with Amadeus, Arthur has probably earned the right to think outside the box, I expect that sometimes he could end up holding the wrong end of the stick, but sometimes the right end.

majic
2004-Feb-20, 09:13 PM
Clarke is a brilliant man, but fallible. His interpretation of these "trees" is almost certainly wrong. He also has commented on the "glass worm" on Mars as well... I have a page about the worm just about ready to go, but I had almost forgotten about the "trees". Now I have another page to write. Sigh...

Leave out some room phil for alternative conclusions, dont pin yourself down on allllll Martian patterns, features and objects....the future is a mercyless teacher.

etLux
2004-Feb-20, 10:34 PM
Anyone have Arthur C. Clarke's telephone number? Maybe we could just give him a call and ask him about a few of these things...

Dancar
2004-Feb-20, 11:08 PM
Many years ago, I read a Clarke essay about UFO phenomena. He said that the reason he was skeptical about UFOs was because he's seen too many of them. Anyone who spends a reasonable amount of time looking in the sky is going to see something unusual, he wrote. But in his case, every initially unidentified object in the sky turned out to be terrestrial, if uncommon, phenomena such as temparature inversion mirage effects, Venus during the day or distant aircraft.

That essay was a great influence in my own change from believing in aliens and the paranomal (because such beliefs are fun) to keeping my thinking grounded in verifyable science.

That's why I'm dissapoint to read about Clarke talking about glass worms and trees on Mars. Now if he were writing a story about a manned mission to Mars that discoveres that features thought to be natural were actually artifical (what if Hoaglan is right!), that would be great. IMHO, good sci-fi can propose alternate explanations for for what real science observes, but the fantastic explantion shouldn't be the primary interpretation.

Dancar

etLux
2004-Feb-21, 12:08 AM
what if Hoaglan[d] is right!
If anyone would know, Hoagland should.
As you know, it was recently discovered that he, himself, is an alien being...
http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=11233

majic
2004-Feb-21, 03:40 AM
Anyone have Arthur C. Clarke's telephone number? Maybe we could just give him a call and ask him about a few of these things...

I can entrust you that is impossible to contact him in any direct way - either email, forums, telephone or fax. Best shot is contacting his agency, and asking a couple of questions through them although it is unlikely they will engage him for it..

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Mar-10, 09:47 PM
http://www.cardmagnets.com/TotalRecall/TRECALL029.JPG

I don't know, Mars is so hostile today it's hard to see how anything could have lived there, Mars is dead, a cold sandy rock...but there is evidence that Mars had another type of climate during the past, so maybe.