The first thing I thought about when I heard this major news story about Mars slowly becoming more inhabitable is the revelation by Dr. Michael Wolf several years ago that the Star Visitors are engaged in a project to terra-form (make Earth-like) Mars. The Visitors have the technology to alter climate and atmosphere on a planetary basis.
This Reuters and Associated Press news wire story was given big play. I read such big-news treatment as another piece of the government's Public Acclimation Program, this time through NASA, to ready the public for formal acknowledgment of Star Visitor presence.
It is interesting what the story does not say, too. Why do planetary scientists state that Mars's ice caps are melting beyond seasonal fluctuations? They have not been studying Mars long enough to know its macro-cycles of variation. Indeed, hard-nosed Earth scientists try to reject the global-warming phenomenon by claiming that we haven't studied Earth climatology long enough to be sure that recent warming is not a macro-cycle fluctuation. Why the sudden certitude that Mars's ice caps are undergoing a permanent melting? Although the story includes the obligatory skeptic debunking the report, the story clearly goes with the NASA (Malin Associates contractor) report.
Indeed, Malin himself forecasts surface water on Mars at the rate atmospheric thickening is going. And Caplinger states that, instead of Mars's previously reported status as a planet where you would freeze and asphixiate outside a spacesuit, we can look forward to a time when you can walk Mars wearing a coat and breathing its atmosphere.
Not mentioned, of course, in this report is Dr. Wolf's other revelation that the U.S. has a tiny forward Station on Mars, staffed by astronauts from a secret space program operated by a military black project agency. Nor the fact that the Star Visitors have a long-term presence on Mars.
Why are the Star Visitors terra-forming Mars? Is it another ace-in-the-hole to assure that human survivors of a global ecological or war catastrophe could have another planet on which to make a new start? (Like the Zeta Reticulan ace-in-the-hole program of creating some human-Visitor hybrids to reseed Earth with, in case the current crop of humans blow ourselves up.)
Or is Mars an "escape hatch", a place the Visitors might evacuate humans to, in case that incoming asteroid cannot be deflected, or the return of the Tenth Planet damages Earth severely?
Or perhaps we are seeing a bit more of Visitor Ethic: "A planet is a terrible thing to waste." Just as they bioengineered modern human from primate stock about 350,000 years ago, to hasten the time when intelligent life could work out its destiny on this Earth, the Visitors may want to hasten Mars' recovery from the past catastrophe that ripped away most of its atmosphere and boiled off its oceans, and give Mars another chance to harbor intelligent life.
> WASHINGTON (AP) - Vast fields of carbon dioxide ice are
> eroding from the poles of Mars, suggesting that the
> climate of the Red Planet is warming and the atmosphere is
> becoming slightly more dense.
> Experts say that over time such changes could allow water > to return to the Martian surface and turn the frigid > planet into a ``shirt-sleeve environment.''
> Michael A. Caplinger, a scientist with Malin Space Science > Systems, said that if the rate of carbon dioxide erosion > from the Mars poles continues for thousands of years, > ``then it could profoundly amend the climate of Mars.''
> ``You would go from having to wear a spacesuit to just > wearing a coat and an oxygen atmosphere,'' said Caplinger. > Caplinger is co-author of a study appearing in the journal > Science that analyzes photos of Mars taken by an orbiting > spacecraft. The photos were taken in 1999 and in 2001, a > period of time that represents one Martian year. Mars is > farther from the sun than the Earth and it takes the Red > Planet about 23 months to complete one year, a single > solar orbit.
> Observers have long known that in the Martian winter there > is a snow of carbon dioxide caused as temperatures plunge > and the gas freezes out of Mars' thin atmosphere. > But the new study suggests that a dense cap of frozen > carbon dioxide thought to be permanent at each of the Mars > poles may not be all that permanent, said Caplinger.
> ``It is eroding away at a rapid pace and is going to > continue to do that,'' said Caplinger. ``This is not a > seasonal change.''
> He said the photos suggest that the polar caps are dense > slabs of frozen carbon dioxide that may have been > deposited over centuries, much like the way seasonal snow > on Earth accumulates to form a glacier.
> ``This stuff has been there for quite a while,'' he said. > ``It is packed down and very smooth. We don't see evidence > that it is blowing around or drifting.'' > Instead, said Caplinger, the glacier-like carbon dioxide > ice is eroding, rather like the way a glacier melts on Earth.
> The key clue, he said, comes from examining the light > patterns on pits at the Martian south pole. Comparing > pictures taken a Martian year apart show that the pits are > getting wider and deeper as a result of the retreat of the > carbon dioxide ice, said Caplinger.
> As the C02 ice erodes, it adds carbon dioxide to the > Martian atmosphere, causing the ``air'' to get thicker > over time. This would enable the planet to hold more of > the sun's heat and, perhaps, eventually warm the whole > planet enough for water to return to the Martian surface.
> Caplinger said it is not known if there is enough carbon > dioxide in the polar caps to bring about such an > atmospheric change.
> But his co-author, Michael C. Malin, said in a statement > that if the atmosphere of Mars becomes dense enough, it > would ``permit liquid water to persist at or near the > surface.''
> Other studies have shown that Mars was once awash with > great basins of water, but the water is thought to have > disappeared or become subsurface ice as the planet cooled > and developed a thin C02 atmosphere.
> Some experts suggested that any speculation about a > Martian climate change is premature.
> ``This is a really neat observation,'' said Allan H. > Treiman of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. > But he said the pictures span a time too short to make > predictions about permanent changes in the Mars climate.
> ``We don't have enough data on Mars to draw any clear > conclusions about climate change,'' he said.