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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jun > Jun 15

Re: Martian Colours [was: Mars Rover Finds

From: Nick Balaskas <Nikolaos.nul>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 21:06:42 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
Fwd Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 07:11:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Martian Colours [was: Mars Rover Finds


>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 19:24:45 +0100
>Subject: Re: Mars Rover Finds 'Puddles' On The Planet's Surface

>>From: Nick Balaskas <Nikolaos.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 12:36:14 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
>>Subject: Re: Mars Rover Finds 'Puddles' On The Planet's Surface

>>>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>>Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 22:47:47 +0100
>>>Subject: Re: Mars Rover Finds 'Puddles' On The Planet's Surface

>>>>From: Nick Balaskas <Nikolaos.nul>
>>>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>>>>Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 15:06:26 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
>>>>Subject: Re: Mars Rover Finds 'Puddles' On The Planet's
>>>>Surface

<snip>

>>>>For further evidence as to why I believe that the original
>>>>colour Viking images were the correct ones you simply have to
>>>>look at the red, white and blue U.S. flag printed on the two
>>>>Viking Mars landers. The U.S. flag's colours look much closer
>>>>to the true colours when seen in the original images than in
>>>>those corrected reddish tinted ones.

<snip>

>You said that we "simply" have to look at which Mars images show
>the American flag with the "true" colours of a flag on Earth to
>see which are genuine. But the comparison is far from simple, it
>seems to me.

Thank you Martin for taking the time to properly research and
write-up a long but very informative reply. To keep my reply
short, I will focus on the colours of the U.S. flag on the many
Mars landers that NASA has released and argue that they cannot
be the true colours.

Just what would the red, white and blue "Old Glory" look like to
Martians (with eyes similar to our own) or future visitors from
Earth? The red stripes would still look red, but would the white
stars and strips look pinkish and the blue background look more
purplish? I don't think so.

I have seen pictures of Mars with whitish haze within deep
craters and valleys and pictures of Martian rocks taken by the
two Viking landers that are covered by a layer of white frost.
Why were these clouds and layers of frost not pinkish in
apprearance just like the pinkish looking white stripes of the
U.S. flag? Were NASA's colour censors caught off guard this time
or, more likely, are NASA's colour adjustments purely arbitrary
and misleading?

>What you seem to be alleging is that the sky of Mars seen by an
>average human eye _should_ be what you call "a blue Earth-like
>sky". But the pressure, gas composition and general cleanliness
>of the Earth's atmosphere and the sun brightness are (surprise,
>surpise!) 'just right' for producing a bright blue Earth-like
>sky (Google a rather famous paper by Bohren and Fraser 1985),
>whereas Mars is probably not.

Probably not? If you, Bohren and Fraser are not sure, then just
do this simple experiment. To replicate the lower air density or
pressure of Mars, just simply recall what you have seen sitting
in the window seat of a Boeing 747 that was flying higher than
Mount Everest - a blue sky!

Although the two most abundant gases in Earth's atmosphere are
Nitrogen and Oxygen, the introduction of other gases such as
water vapour and carbon dioxide, two key ingredient in Mars'
atmosphere, would not make Earth's sky look red too.

As for general cleanliness, there are dust storms on Earth and
dust storms on Mars (from the many dust devils that are a common
sight on Mars to planet-wide dust storms that last for weeks and
reach altitudes higher than the tallest peaks obsuring the every
surface feature) and this will make the skies on both planets
look red - but not always.

Finally, as for the lower sun brightness on Mars, just recall
that the colour of the sky on Earth at midday is the same colour
as the sky at dawn - blue! (even when the Sun is still below the
horizon and Sun brightness is even much less than when the Sun
is high above the Martian sky).

>>This morning commuters from the suburbs driving to work in
>>Toronto will have noticed a brown haze low over the city. Like
>>the Mars landers pictures, if a commuter were to snap a picture
>>of the city skyline and send it to a friend who has never been
>>to Toronto, he/she may also come to the erroneous conclusion
>>that the colour of the sky over Toronto is brown! In fact, the
>>sky above the brown haze all the way to the zenith was a bright
>>clear blue colour.

>So you acknowledge that even on a planet with your bright and
>clear "blue Earth-like sky", photos could show a sepia-coloured
>skyline caused by dust haze. How much _more_ likely is this
>under a much darker Mars-like sky filled with suspended oxide
>dust? The Viking sky colour therefore doesn't make your case for
>a conspiracy of suppression, even if your guess about the bright
>blue of the Martian zenith is correct.

This brown haze seen over cities is a gas or photochemical smog
that is created when Nitrogen and Oxygen gas molecules in our
atmophere are combined together to form NOx gas molecules from
the heat energy inside the internal combustion engines of cars.
Since NOx quickly breaks down in sunlight to form Nitrogen and
Oxygen gases again, brown haze is most evident during early
morning rush hour and again at dusk when people are driving home
from work.

As for your Martian sky filled with suspended oxide dust (not
the same as NOx which is a gas and not particulate matter), how
could Mars' atmosphere which is supposed to be 1/100 times the
pressure of Earth's keep all that dust suspended for very long?

>The Levins themselves (father and son) wrote a paper in 2003
>called Solving The Color Callibration Problem which (by
>definition), acknowledges that there is a problem and points out
>that there is "no consensus" on what are the properly
>callibrated colours of soil, rocks and sky on Mars, precisely

>"great uncertainty in the illumination spectrum"

>which means that

>"whilst the reflectivity of the [callibration] charts is well
> known, the spectrum of their illumination on Mars is not."

<snip>

>Maybe soon someone will be able to go there and have a proper
>look. Then they can paint the scene for us. We'll just have to
>hope they have 'normal' colour vision.

The weather station on the Phoenix Mars lander which will be
launched towards the Red Planet this summer was designed and
built by planetary scientists here at York University in Toronto
where I work. Using Lidar technology that was perfected here,
Pheonix will, for the first time, be able to accurately measure
the thickness of the Martian atmosphere and the amounts of
particulate matter at various elevations. I think that there
will be big and unexpected surprises and many old beliefs that
atmospheric scientists had about Mars will have to be discarded
or revised.

If Phoenix has a successful landing (its the resurrection of the
failed Mars Polar Lander) we will not have much longer to wait
before we can confidently say if either you or I are correct.


Nick Balaskas



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