July 16, 2021

The Mystery of the Martian South Pole

The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 81
*The mystery of the Martian south pole
Scientists taking another look at data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter have had a rethink about what...

The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 81
*The mystery of the Martian south pole
Scientists taking another look at data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter have had a rethink about what they’re seeing under the Martian south pole.
*Mars helicopter most challenging flight yet
NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter has successfully completed its ninth and most challenging flight yet on the Red Planet.
*NASA’s exoplanet watch for citizen scientists
If you have access to a small backyard telescope and you want to help NASA -- they have a citizen scientist project for you.
*China launches five new satellites
China has launched another five spy satellites as it continues its build up towards war.
*The Science Report
New study confirms earlier reports that COVID-19 emerged in China on November 17 2019.
Scientists find an Antarctic lake has suddenly disappeared.
A new study has found that around two in every three Australians are now overweight or obese.
A new study claims day dreaming may simply be a sign that your brain is falling asleep.
Skeptic's guide to anti-maskers ready to start masking

For more SpaceTime and show links: https://linktr.ee/biteszHQ

The Astronomy, Space, Technology & Science News Podcast.


SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 81 AI Transcript

[00:00:00] Stuart: [00:00:00] This is space-time series 24 episode 81 for broadcast from the 16th of July, 2020 81. Coming up on space time, the mystery of the Martian south pole, the Mars engineer, the helicopter undetected, most challenging flight yet. And China launches another five spy satellites as it continues, it spilled up towards war, all that, and more coming out.

Oh, I'm time. Welcome to space time with Stewart, Gary.

Scientists taking another look at data from the European space agencies, Mars express orbiter have had a rethink about what they're seeing under the Martian south pole. What was originally thought to be lakes of liquid [00:01:00] subsurface water, and now thought to be bright reflections caused by subsurface clays metal bearing minerals or sailing eyes.

The findings reported by the journal. Geophysical research letters are based on a re-interpretation of radar reflection data taken by the Mars express masses instrument in 2018. Scientists have since found dozens of similar radar reflections around the south pole, many in areas, which would simply be too cold for water to remain.

Mars express is the second longest surviving, continually active spacecraft in orbit around the red planet outpaced only by NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey. As the spacecraft orbits, Mars, it continues to provide important data on the red planet, subsurface surface and atmosphere building up a three-dimensional view of the planet, including itself polar region.

Usually radar waves lose energy when they travel through a material. So reflections from deeper down should be less bright than those from the [00:02:00] surface. Although there are a few possible reasons for unusually bright sub-service reflections, liquid water, which appears bright to radar was always thought to be the cause of these bright reflections.

The radar signals originally interpreted as liquid water were found in a region of Mars known as the south pole layer deposit name for the alternating layers of waterized frozen carbon dioxide and dust that have settled there over millions of years. These layers are believed to hold a record of how the tilt of Mars has access has shifted over time, just as changes in Earth's tilt.

Of course I say, just in warmer periods, threat out planet's history. When Mars had a low axial tilt, snowfall and layers of dust accumulated in the region and eventually formed a thick layer. I sheet found that today, the areas originally our patho sized to contain liquid water span about 10 to 20 kilometers in a relatively small region of the marsh and the south pole layer deposits.

Scientists [00:03:00] expanded the search for similar strong radio signals. The 44,000 measurements spanned across 15 years of master's data over the entirety of the marsh and south pole region. And the new expanded study revealed dozens of additional bright radar reflections over a far greater range of area in depth than before.

In some places, they were less than a kilometer from the surface where temperatures are estimated to be around minus 63 degrees Celsius. So cold that water would have to be frozen, even if it contains salty minerals known as perchlorates, which can lower the freezing point of water. One possibility is widespread geothermal activity from recent vulcanism under the surface.

However, scientists haven't really seen any strong evidence for recent volcanism at the south pole. So it seems unlikely that volcanic activity would allow subsurface liquid water tip assist throughout this region. The studies authors are now looking at a second deeper layer on the [00:04:00] parts of the marsh and south pole, which scientists think represents an old buried terrain called the Dorsa T formation.

It's thought to be modified by ancient glaciers once present across the region. And they intend on trying to more accurately determine its composition in a. This is space time still the calm neces, Mars, ingenuity, helicopter, complete this most challenging flight yet on the red planet. And China has launched another five spy satellites as it continues.

It spilled up towards war or that are more store to count. Um, space time.

NASA's Mars, ingenuity helicopter has completed its ninth, the most challenging flight yet on the red planet. The 166.4. Second journey was also the tissue box sized [00:05:00] rider copters longest flight today. The aircraft reached the speed of five meters per second. As it flew 625 meters over uncharted terrain landing further away from the perseverance Rover than any previous flight.

Perseverance is currently traveling along the Eastern edge of Mazda SITA region, which is characterized by Sandy ripples. Mission managers at NASA's jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, California, opted to make the most of ingenuity aerial capabilities and do something that only an aircraft on Mars could do.

Take a shortcut straight across a portion of the seat or region and land on a plane to the south. But the 80 kilogram helicopter faced a terrain full of high slopes and undulations something. The artificial intelligence controlled chopper has not previously encountered. Well, ingenuity could fly sufficiently high enough above the terrain to minimize altitude clearance issues.

Mission managers were concerned that it could experience a large lateral area at the [00:06:00] destination landing site ending up touching down in difficult terrain. However, in the end, ingenuity handled the flight well finding a good landing spot. And once again, demonstrating the advantage of an aerial component to future planetary mission.

This is space time still the com we explore NASA exoplanet watch program and China launches five more spy satellites as it continues. It's brought up towards war, all that, and more sort of calm on space. Time.

Well, if you have access to a small backyard telescope, and you want to help NASA, they have a citizen science project for you. It's called exoplanet watch and it's designed for amateur astronomers and astronomy [00:07:00] students to help observe transiting exoplanets using small telescope. Uh, transiting exoplanet is the planet outside our solar system that periodically passes in front of its host star is seen from earth causing the start or pair to dim slightly typically by just a percent or so observing except planet transits is important is they provide direct measurements of a planet's radius and composition.

Ground-based observations. Even those with small telescopes can help constrain and exoplanets over the period. That is how quickly a planet orbits around its host star. And this in turn provides better. Mass measurements. Exoplanet watch will help increase the efficiency of exoplanet studies by large telescopes to characterize XR poetry atmospheres by reducing uncertainty about the predicted timing of transit events.

It also helped discover new exoplanets, easy transit timing, variations to infer the existence of existing exoplanets in a star system. A guide to exoplanet watch [00:08:00] is one of the features in this month's edition of Australian sky and telescope magazine. And joining us now with the details is the magazine's editor Jonathan.

Now NASA wants you as a citizen scientist. Exactly. Right. So citizen science is a big thing these days with the internet and everything. It's, it's very easy to get involved in all sorts of projects and programs that, uh, professional scientists need help with ordinary people. Do real science, which is great.

Now astronomy has always actually been into this probably more so than any other science perhaps, perhaps apart from, well, this is the thing most, many of the most famous astronomers in fact, throughout history were simply passionate amateurs, amateurs in the sense that they weren't getting paid. Um, they had other sources of income and they could afford to build themselves observatories and artspeak devil's guts and things.

And I really wanted to do astronomy. So that's, that's what a lot of the early astronomers were getting paid to do astronomy actually, it's a fairly recent invention. I don't know, 150 200 years ago. It really started to take. And certainly throughout the 20th century, if you want to get involved, [00:09:00] you've got a small telescope and you've got a camera that works with it.

Well, you can get involved in a NASA project called NASA exoplanet. Watch. This might be the right program for you. This program is actually studying planets, circling. Now, this would have been unheard of. This is just unimaginable to the amateur astronomers to get involved in something like this 20 years ago, but the sort of gear you get now, fairly inexpensive camera gear and stuff.

It's just tremendous. You can get involved in this. So the idea is that you use your channel, scrapping your camera to measure the brightness of the light coming from certain stars. And when the light dips, even by any one or two. That's when you can tell that one of the stars planets has briefly moved in front of it and caused like a little mini eclipse and by the light drop a little bit, the transit method.

Exactly. And you can do this with you backing out total step. Can you believe it? So, uh, NASA wants lots and lots of people to get involved in this because the more data they get, the better they can improve their measurements and things. So any data you take it's international is joined up and combined and analyzed.

Di different people all over the world and then might available for personal strong is to, to use in [00:10:00] their research. Professionals really rely upon dedicated amateurs for quite a lot of different kinds of things in astronomy, because let's face it. There are lots and lots of backyard telescopes setups out there, lots and lots of amateur astronomers who are quite capable of doing this work.

Certain number of professional observatories, and it's very competitive to get time for your project on a professional, in a professional observatory. You know, usually they arrive a subscribed by three to one or something. And if the professional observatory is there and problem has got time on it and they go up to do their observing.

If it's cloudy that night, while they're out of luck, aren't they, but if you've got a high. Amateur astronomers around the world or monitoring a particular star. Well, you know, a lot of them are going to have clear skies. Of course, then you're going to get some daughter, at least. So yeah, if you really want to get involved, look up NASA exoplanet watch, we got more details and more human action about it.

Sell in the July issue in Australia's gone telescope that's Jonathan, Nalli the editor of Australian sky and telescope magazine. And don't forget if you're having trouble getting your copy of Australian sky and telescope magazine from your usual retailer because of the [00:11:00] current lockdown and travel restrictions, you can always get a print or digital subscription and have the magazine delivered directly to your letterbox or inbox.

Subscribing is easy. Just go to sky and telescope.com.you that sky and telescope.com.edu. And you'll never be left in the dark again. This is space time still the com China launches, five new satellites, and later in the science report. And you study confirms that two in every three Australians are now either overweight or obese, all that and more store to car.

Um, space time.

China has launched them at a five spy satellites as it continues. Its build up to. The latest group of earth observation spacecraft were launched the [00:12:00] board along March day, rocket from the Thai UN satellite launch center in Northern China's Shanxi province. The latest launch comes as China continues flying its war planes over Taiwanese air space.

Part of a deliberate provocation designed to trigger the identity and location of Taiwan's anti aircraft defense radar system. The payload for this latest long March rocket launch included the Q fan zero one B wide band high resolution earth imaging satellite three, go Fang, zero 3d high resolution, narrow field earth, observation satellites, and the judging sheet.

I 10 on you. Aerate 10 earth imaging satellite, which is testing new miniaturized earth observation equipment. Since 2016, Beijing has launched more than 135 earth observation satellites designed to provide near continuous high resolution monitoring of areas of interest to China. It's also launched more than 34 Cygnet or electronic signals and intelligence gathering [00:13:00] satellites.

They're designed to eavesdrop in other countries, confidential communication system. This is space time

and take another brief. Look at some of the other stories making use in science this week with the science. New muddling reported in the journal. Plus pathogens has confirmed earliest studies that the first cases of COVID-19 most likely emerged in China on November the 17th, 2019, the findings, which mirror, what we first reported in April, 2020 is based the muddling previously used the map species heading towards extinction in order to estimate the earliest cases of COVID-19 in China and some of the first cadres the virus was spread to.

The modeling shows that the virus likely emerged in China in early October to mid November, 2019 would November 17 being the [00:14:00] most likely date. It then spread to Japan on January the third, 2020, before reaching Europe and north America in mid January with the first Australian case reported on January the 25th, 2020.

The world health organization estimates more than 8 million people have been killed by the COVID-19 Corona virus with over 4.1 million confirmed fatalities and more than 186 million people infected since the deadly disease for spread out of Warhammer. China scientists have discovered that an Antarctic lake has suddenly disappeared.

A report in the journal of the geophysical research letters found that an estimated 600 to 750 million cubic meters of water has been lost to the ocean. Following the sudden demise of the lake red, our images show the entire body of water drain in less than a week back in 2019, leaving just a fractured surface ice behind.

Scientists believe the [00:15:00] massive water accumulated in the deep lake cracked open the ice shelf beneath causing the water to drain away into the ocean below. And you study is found that around two in every three Australians and now overweight or obese. The findings reported by the Australian Institute of health and welfare also found that people with lower levels of education, living in an original areas, paying off a mortgage or renting a more likely to be overweight or obese.

The report brings together data from the Australian bureau of statistics. National health surveys held between 2007, 2008 and 2017 2018. In order to look at the associations between being overweight and obese and other social determinants of health, the circumstances in which people grow live, work in age, and you study claims that daydreaming could simply be a sign that your brain's falling asleep.

The [00:16:00] findings reported in the journal major communications are based on monitoring brain activity in 26 people, as they performed a series of predetermined tasks, researchers found slow brainwaves, recurring different paths of the brain. Before the subjects lost focus on the task, they were meant to be performing slow.

Brain waves are a type of brain activity, which typically occurs as you begin to fall asleep. The researchers say that Winslow brainwaves appeared in the front of the brain, the participants who are about to begin daydreaming or responding positively. And when the same slow waves occurred further back in the brain, their minds are about to go blank.

And anti-vaccine conspiracy about the vaccinated is leading some anti maskers and anti-vaxxers to contemplate wearing a mask and social distancing in order to protect themselves from the vaccinated. Confused. Well, they certainly must. Tim Mendham from Australian skeptics says it now seems they don't want to get [00:17:00] infected from a virus, which they've insisted doesn't exist.

Cause they let the anti-vaccination people COVID denies the same mask. Right? Do you any good to get all this, this sort of scientific advice to wear maps, social distance, et cetera, and suddenly with the increase of vaccination. You a new conspiracy. That's saying that the vaccination people will ship certain proteins onto the unvaccinated who will then suffer adverse effects.

Is that hairdresser in Queensland? That's uh, just banned vaccinated people from her. That's right? Yeah, because they supposedly are shedding the virus because it's not going to hit . So wearing masks and you think, why are you wearing them off? This is to protect you from the viruses that the vaccinated people are shedding.

And yet earlier you were saying there was no need to wear masks because the virus is not real slight logic problem here, which is surprising. But, uh, yeah, there was an issue that, that one viruses viruses. Honestly, the [00:18:00] hypocrisy of people who were one day abusing people who were wearing masks by saying, you're a car, whether you're piping, you I'll take away my rights as a free citizen.

And now they're wearing masks because they're frightened that the vaccine, because they frightened that the virus that they said wasn't there in the first place launching at the window. Well, those same people are also concerned about five J spreading the virus. That's not there. That's a different story.

WhatsApp. Yeah. And they'll be using finds that through projects. That's the, that's the thing that they consistently, that's Tim Mendham from Australian skeptics.

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Your window on the universe. You've been listening to space-time with Stuart Gary. This has been another quality podcast production from bitesz.com.

Tim MendhamProfile Photo

Tim Mendham


Editor with Australian Skeptics