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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Jan > Jan 5

Re: Those 'Canals' On Mars

From: Nick Balaskas <nikolaos.nul>
Date: Tue, 04 Jan 2011 17:29:35 -0500
Archived: Wed, 05 Jan 2011 09:18:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Those 'Canals' On Mars


>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 15:11:10 -0000
>Subject: Re: Those 'Canals' On Mars

>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 14:44:44 -0600
>>Subject: Re: Those 'Canals' On Mars

>>>From: Ray Dickenson  <r.dickenson.nul>
>>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>>>Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 05:02:13 -0000
>>>Subject: Those 'Canals' On Mars

>>>Was just watching part of one of Carl Sagan's commentaries on
>>>astro-fizz:

>>>http://tinyurl.com/3xktdex

>>>'Cosmos Pt 5 - Blues for a Red Planet'

>>>where he was talking - somewhat patronisingly - about the
>>>observations of Mars by Giovanni Schiaparelli and subsequently
>>>by Percival Lowell.

>>>It suddenly struck me that, from photographic evidence, Mars has
>>>an extremely changeable surface, even viewed over recent years.

<snip>

>>Though it pains me to have to agree with Sagan about anything,
>>he's right: the "canals" _were_ optical illusions of the sort
>>generated by the mind's effort to make sense of ambiguous
>>stimuli.

>>Late 19th-C. astronomers who participated in the controversy
>>were far from unanimous in detecting canals on the Martian
>>surface.  There's no reason, in other words, to think the
>>"canals" once existed but later vanished.

<snip>

>And we've gone over exactly the same ground before on this List,
>several years ago. We were told that proven real canals had
>lately vanished, with the usual tedious claim being made that
>the great discoveries of Schiaparelli & co had been suppressed
>by NASA etc. Real historical detail didn't seem to weigh much in
>the balance as I recall. Plus ca change...


Happy 2011 Everyone!

As far as those canals (or channels) that Giovanni Schiaparelli,
Percival Lowell and others saw through their telescopes from
Earth (maps of canals that evolved with time and which there was
even little agreement between the different observers), it is
reasonable to dismiss them as optical illusions.

That said, Martian dust specialists and vision research experts
at York University where I work have studied these imaginary
canals in their attempt to understand the physically real (not
imaginary) "ambiguous stimuli" that produced them.

Ray is right that "Mars has an extremely changeable surface". It
is these changes in the colour and brightness or albedo of the
different regions on the surface of Mars that we believe to be
responsible SOME of the long, often straight, lines or canals
seen and recorded by Schiaparelli and Lowell - similar to fences
separating farm fields with different crops or soil on Earth
that are "seen" from an airplane when the actual fence itself is
not resolvable to the observer.

Although the canals were once considered as compelling evidence
of intelligent life on Mars, we have found that the changes in
the colour and brightness of the surface vary with the Martian
seasons - compelling new evidence for plant life on Mars.

York's next next mission to Mars, after Phoenix where we found
lots of water just below the surface and were the first to see
it snow on Mars, will be to identify the distinct sources of the
methane gas that's not uniformly distributed in the Martian
atmosphere. Since one biological source of methane on Earth are
farting cows, we may discover mammal-like creatures there too.

Today I submitted the names of over 1,000 York scientists,
staff, students and friends (including Dorion Sagan, the eldest
son of the late American Mars expert, Carl Sagan) to Guinness
Book of World Records. Over the past year they all visited my
office, removed their shoes and did what no man/woman has ever
done before - literally walk on Mars! The fragments of Mars
meteorite NWA 998 that they all walked on originated on the
surface of Mars. We found that it also contains large root-like
microfossils which may make space history twice for these 1,000
Mars walkers since they may have unintentionally trampled on
Martians too!


Nick Balaskas



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