September 27, 2010

Volcanic activity and water likely on Mars

A recent article published in the journal “Science” documents findings from scientists at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which include evidence of volcanic eruptions and water flow on Mars’ surface in the past 100 million years. Lead author Dr. Paul Niles of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston,

USA and colleagues analyzed what they affirmed to be the most precise measurements of the planet’s carbon dioxide to date. Collected by the Mars Phoenix Lander, the recent CO2 data indicated to researchers that the gas was not escaping into space as was previously thought, but instead was being continuously replenished, likely through volcanic activity.

In addition, scientists found that certain oxygen isotopes were being enriched in proportions that would naturally occur in the presence of not only CO2 but also liquid water.

Dr. Niles stated, “This is a quantifiable effect, and we see it in the carbon dioxide on Mars. This means that liquid water has been present on the surface of Mars in the recent geological past.”

Many thanks, Dr. Niles and fellow National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists for these new discoveries that highlight the eventful history of Mars. May such detailed observations of our neighbors in space expand our insights for sustaining life on the beautiful planet Earth. During an August 2009 climate change
videoconference in Thailand,Supreme Master Ching Hai referred to past events on Mars as a cautionto humankind, especially in light of the growing predicament presented by climate change.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We only need to look at our own neighboring planets, Mars and Venus, to see that the vision is bleak, is disastrous, if we don’t make the right choice, the right change now. Any planetary scientist knows that Mars and Venus went through dramatic atmospheric changes in the past, similar to what we have begun to experience right now.

Long ago, Mars and Venus were once a lot like our planet - they had water, life, and people similar to us. But the inhabitants of Mars and Venus destroyed their respective planetary homes because they raised too much livestock, and the gases released triggered an irreversible greenhouse gas effect, plus poisonous hydrogen sulfide in the case of Mars.

So let’s not end up like either Mars or Venus, our neighboring planets. Humanity must uphold a gentler, higher standard for the Earth to continue supporting life.

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