OK, by now, you've probably all seen the pictures of the cloud plumes on Mars, and the perfectly rectangular icerberg(s) in Antarctica. So, before we crawl out to the end of the twig of high octane speculation about either one, let me just go on record ab initio as being very skeptical of the explanations for both stories, particularly the cloud plume on Mars. Do I think it's "terraforming"? No. Do I think it's more evidence of life? Maybe. And so on and so on. Similarly with the rectangular iceberg(s) or ice cubes in Antarctica. Part of me thinks "This is just too perfect and someone is having a bit of fun by planting a fake story in the media." Well, to be honest, I wouldn't put it past "them" to have a little fun like that from time to time. After all, the infamous British Alternative 3 ITV/East Anglia TV "documentary" started off as an elaborate April Fools' Day joke.
So, here more than usual, my approach is "let's speculate on 'what does it mean?' as if both stories are genuine." I don't doubt both are, I just have that bit of mental reservation about the Antarctic ice cube thing.
So let's look at that Mars cloud plume and at RT's presentation of the story in particular(and thanks to all of you who sent this story):
Most regular readers who've been following this site for a few years know that I'm very skeptical about almost anything NASA ever says about Mars, much less when it shows us pictures and offers explanations (remember the "Litter Box" view of "the Face" and the "explanations" for that one?). "It's not really a fossil, it just looks like one; that's really not rectilinearity with perfectly formed cylinders like a motor; it's merely a happenstance appearance due the angle of the camera and blah blah blah." Oh, and let's not forget Iapetus. "We have no explanation for how geological processes could lead to the formation of three perfectly parallel ridges around the equator of that Saturnian satellite... but we're working on it!" Of course, NASA didn't really say those things, but they might as well have, because their explanations were almost as ridiculous as the "ice particles" explanation for the space shuttle 48 video of all those UFOs flying around, and someone apparently shooting at them.
And then there's the other side, wherein every strange or odd thing about Mars is taken as stunning proof that someone is up there doing strange and odd things, like having cloud plumes appear near Martian volcanoes which are supposed to be inactive. Now, what's interesting to me about the cloud plume story is RT's rather bland, slightly tongue in cheek, but ultimately non-committal approach to the story:
Conspiracy theorists went into overdrive after spotting a ‘mysterious plume of smoke’ near a dormant Martian volcano, with many claiming this as proof that alien life exists on the red planet and we’re being lied to here on Earth.
Allegations of a NASA-led cover up spread like wildfire online, with popular conspiracy theory YouTube channel secureteam10 producing an eight-minute long exposé entitled, ‘Something MAJOR Happened On Mars.. Are They Hiding It?’
One commenter(sic) on the video drew upon his welding experience to lay bare the terraforming operations already underway on Mars, citing craters formed by lightning strikes as evidence of alien technology reshaping the planet’s atmosphere. “Too many coincidences here to ignore any more. NASA needs to stop being the police of the scientific community.” (Boldface emphasis added)
Now, obviously, RT is not of the view that what is taking place is terraforming.
But, it is also apparently willing to admit that something strange is taking place. When I was first told about the strange plume, my first thought was that the volcano may not be so inactive after all, and that we were looking at outgassing. But of what? One colleague told me she thought that mere steam would seem to be quite improbable, given the thinness - and dryness - of the Martian atmosphere. A 2000 kilometer-long plume probably couldn't form because it simply couldn't last that long. I had to agree. And so, apparently, does RT:
To spoil the fun and settle the debate, RT.com contacted the ESA for an explanation of the contentious images of the red planet.
“No ground or space based observations of Mars or its atmosphere have produced any credible evidence for active volcanism occurring in the present day or recent history,” party-pooper and planetary scientist Elliot Sefton-Nash, who works on several ESA projects including Mars Sample Return, ExoMars and Mars Express, told RT.com.
Oh... wait... no good evidence for active volcanism? Well, that leaves essentially two options: (1) either were looking at that evidence now, which means that Mars is still geothermally and geophysically active, or (2) the plume is the result of something else. Then there is (3) the "Nothing to see here move along" explanation:
“Clouds are known to form seasonally in this region, and are associated with the volcanoes because their topography influences atmospheric conditions,” he continues. “This is a well documented phenomenon and several scientific articles exist documenting and explaining the process and highlight the seasonal regularity of the occurrence in this region.”
But wait, clouds forming on Mars? How? Why? What are they made of? How do they form in such a thin atmosphere? Or is it as thin as we've been told?
What we're left with is a mystery any way one slices it, and the mystery might just be due to the fact we may not have been told everything about Mars' atmosphere itself.
After all, it took some time before we saw actual real color images of the planet, you know, the images that were not run through the "red filter" that we were all exposed to during the 1960s' through the 1990s.
The bottom line is: it does appear that we're not being told everything, and in that vacuum, the conspiracy theories abound. And "they" have no one to blame but themselves.
Which leaves the Antarctic ice cubes...
...but that's for tomorrow...
See you on the flip side...