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NWA 7034

Yesterday, January 3, a paper was published online in Science Express entitled "Unique Meteorite from Early Amazonian Mars: Water-Rich Basaltic Breccia Northwest Africa 7034."  

The paper, by a team of NASA-funded scientists who have been studying this particular meteorite (known as NWA 7034, because it was found in Northwest Africa) for over a year, concludes based on the meteorite's mineral composition and other characteristics that it came to earth from Mars, and that based on its high water content it must have formed during Mars' distant past.  The paper's authors report that its water content is an order of magnitude greater than any of the other thirty or so meteorites collected on earth which scientists believe to have come from Mars.

The oxygen isotopes in the meteorite also differ from other meteorites thought to be from Mars.  This oxygen evidence leads the scientists to hypothesize that "oxygen reservoirs" may exist in some parts of Mars, in the thin Martian atmosphere.

All of these findings are consistent with the reports sent to Edgar Rice Burroughs from John Carter and other earth-men who had managed to make the leap to Mars (or Barsoom), which he published in his fantastic Mars series, beginning in 1912.  Readers of those books know that Mars once had mighty oceans (now all dry) and that the thin Martian atmosphere was enriched with oxygen from an oxygen factory, which kept the Barsoomians alive.  Some have argued that these works were science fiction stories made up by Burroughs himself, although they seem too real for that.

Readers of this blog will also know that there is actually abundant evidence that water once flowed on Mars in large quantities, and that this fact is explained quite well by the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown, while posing challenges for conventional theories (see the discussion in this previous post entitled "Let's Go to Mars").  

According to the hydroplate theory, the origin of all or almost all meteorites which land on the earth today is the earth itself, which explains a great many aspects of meteorites (including the water and oxygen in NWA 7034).  In this webpage from the online version of his book, Dr. Brown explains that the force of the water erupting from beneath the surface of the earth (the "fountains of the great deep" described in Genesis and recorded in the sacred traditions of numerous peoples around the globe) launched fragments into the air with such velocity that some of them escaped earth's atmosphere.  He explains that many meteorites are apparently pillar fragments from the subterranean pillars that existed before the catastrophic flood event, which explains the iron-nickel composition of many meteorites, a composition that is extremely difficult to explain using other theories of meteorite origin.

In his recent Christmas letter (sent out before the publication of yesterday's paper about NWA 7034, of course), Dr. Brown mentions this aspect of his theory in conjunction with a discussion of the Curiosity rover:
The 7th and 8th editions explained how, during the early weeks of the flood, the fountains of the great deep launched water, rocks, and vegetation; bacteria accompanied the vegetation.  Some of that material impacted Mars, our neighboring planet.  The bacteria's food source, primarily vegetation, came with them.  (I know many reasonably intelligent people, relying on intuition, who have balked at the thought that the fountains could have been that powerful.  The 9th edition clearly explains the physics.
The 9th edition is the edition which Dr. Brown graciously makes available for reading online for no charge on his website.  Other aspects of Dr. Brown's remarkable Christmas letter from last month are discussed in this previous post.

In spite of the fact that his theory provides a scientifically supportable explanation for water and oxygen on Mars long ago, Dr. Brown does not believe that any meteorites which have landed on the earth originated from Mars.  In spite of the confident declaration that NWA 7034 originated from Mars made in articles published about this meteorite in the media, such as this one, or on NASA's own website (here), the scientists themselves admit that they have to deduce the origin of the meteorite, just as they do with all other meteorites (no meteorite so far has come stamped with a "Made on Mars" label).  

Here is an earlier scientific paper written by five of the same scientists who wrote the paper linked above, entitled "Basaltic Breccia NWA 7034: New Ungrouped Planetary Achondrite," in which they discuss the characteristics of the meteorite that help them surmise its origin, and give their arguments for the conclusion that it came from Mars.  The paper argues that its characteristics in many ways resemble the other meteorites that have been determined by scientists to be from Mars, but concludes with a final paragraph that begins with the word "if" in the sentence beginning "If NWA 7034 is a martian meteorite [. . .]"  

The scientists are now more convinced that NWA 7034 is in fact from Mars, but in a different part of his book, Dr. Brown provides some strong arguments against the conclusion that any meteorites found on earth actually came from Mars, including the meteorites these scientists used for comparison as they tried to determine where NWA 7034 came from.  See his discussion entitled "Are some meteorites from Mars?" at the bottom of this webpage in his online book.

Some of the arguments Dr. Brown gives against the possibility of Martian meteorites include:
To escape the gravity of Mars requires a launch velocity of 3 miles per second. Additional velocity is then needed to transfer to an orbit intersecting Earth, 34–236 million miles away. Supposedly, one or more asteroids slammed into Mars and blasted off millions of meteoroids. Millions are needed, because less than one in a million111 would ever hit Earth, be large enough to survive reentry, be found, be turned over to scientists, and be analyzed in detail. Besides, if meteorites can come to Earth from Mars, many more should have come from the Moon—but haven’t.112 Furthermore, all the so-called Martian meteorites are magnetic,113 whereas Mars has no magnetic field.113

For an impact to accelerate, in a fraction of a second, any solid from rest to a velocity of 3 miles per second requires such extreme shock pressures that much of the material would melt, if not vaporize.114 All 30 meteorites should at least show shock effects. Some do not. Also, Mars should have at least six giant craters if such powerful blasts occurred, because six different launch dates are needed to explain the six age groupings the meteorites fall into (based on evolutionary dating methods). Such craters are hard to find, and large, recent impacts on Mars should have been rare. 
These are serious objections to the hypothesis that NWA 7034, or any other meteorite, came from Mars.  They are by no means all of the objections that Dr. Brown presents -- interested readers are invited to go to his website using the link above and read all of his arguments on this subject.

It is important to realize that many conclusions which are presented to us as "fact" or "settled science" in the media and on the webpages of government agencies such as NASA are actually based upon the analysis of evidence by people who are doing the best they can based on the evidence that they have available and the paradigms or models that they are using to understand the universe.  Those paradigms or models may be flawed, and they certainly employ assumptions when necessary.  Analysts approaching the evidence using a completely different paradigm or model (and different assumptions) may well come to an entirely different conclusion.

In the case of the idea that meteorites could have somehow "broken free" from the surface of Mars and made the lonely voyage through space to land in Morocco in North Africa, it may be that more analysis is necessary by those who have reached this tentative conclusion. 

My recommendation would be to investigate the "Gridley wave" device described by Edgar Rice Burroughs, by which he was able to receive communications from Barsoom over a sort of ticker tape in Morse Code -- with such a device, we might be able to ask the Barsoomians if they know of any forces which might have been capable of launching rocks from Mars into space at a velocity sufficient to escape the Martian gravity and at a trajectory capable of intersecting Jasoom (their name for our planet).

Barring that, I would suggest that they consider the explanation -- backed by extensive evidence -- offered by Dr. Brown in his work.


The amazing feat of safely landing the one-ton Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars has captured our imaginations and pushed forward the boundaries of science, promising to expand the horizons of what we know about our solar system and the universe.

After the so-called "seven minutes of terror," in which the hurtling piece of high-tech equipment entered the thin atmosphere of Mars at speeds of 13,000 miles per hour and then deploying a super-sonic parachute to slow its descent to a mere 200 miles per hour, the rocket-powered sky-crane platform holding Curiosity broke loose from the parachute and maneuvered itself into position to gently lower the two-point-five billion dollar vehicle to the surface, where it landed on its sophisticated tires and Lego-toy-like suspension system.

Here is a link to an article containing a good video showing the innovative landing maneuver, and here is another link to an excellent ten-minute video discussing Curiosity and its mission, as well as some excellent description of the Gale Crater on Mars that was selected as the site for Curiosity's exploration.

Here is a more detailed discussion about the 96-mile-wide crater and why NASA selected that site as the most promising location for investigation into the question of "whether, when, and for how long Mars might have been habitable," in the words of Mars Science Lab Deputy Project Scientist Joy Crisp (the Curiosity rover is also known as the Mars Science Lab or MSL).

The purpose of the Curiosity mission is to discover evidence that Mars could once have supported life, and the presence of water is crucial to that investigation.  Gale Crater contains intriguing evidence of ancient liquid water on Mars, as well as a massif in its center that might preserve in its layers some clues regarding where this water came from and where it might have gone.

The question of large volumes of liquid water on Mars in the ancient past is a tricky one, and one that presents numerous difficulties for conventional theories, as discussed in detail in this blog post from a year ago entitled "Let's go to Mars!"  Not only are conditions there extremely inhospitable to liquid water, but the evidence appears to suggest that even in the ancient past, Mars did have cycles of rainfall and evaporation like we have on earth, because as NASA scientist Dr. Joseph Boyce explains, "If it was atmospheric, such as the rain here on Earth, there should be a lot of tributaries flowing into the channels. There aren't. Oh, there are a few, but not nearly as many as there should be."

That previous post also points out that the massive terrain features on Mars that appear to be the product of huge flows of liquid water show signs that the water flowed through each channel only once, not for long periods.  This suggests a catastrophic event, rather than long millions of years of activity.

As it turns out, the hydroplate theory of West Point graduate and retired Air Force officer Dr. Walt Brown, which explains so many of the geologic features on our planet, also suggests a solution to the puzzling water features on Mars.  He posits that the violent eruption of trapped water beneath earth's crust which flooded the earth actually launched debris and water into space, where it became asteroids and comets, and (for the debris that encountered them) spattered the face of the moon, Mars, and even Mercury (all of which have crater patterns on one side which are markedly different from the crater patterns on the other side).

Dr. Brown discusses the evidence in our solar system which supports this explanation on this page and this page of his book, among other places.  His website contains the entire text of his book for anyone to access free of charge.  

Dr. Brown notes that the force of the catastrophic release of the water that he believes was trapped below the surface of the earth prior to this flood event would have been equivalent to 1,800 trillion one-megaton hydrogen bombs (see note 89 on this page).  This force could certainly have launched huge amounts of earth and water beyond our planet's orbit.  In fact, Dr. Brown points to evidence suggesting that most of the crust that originally lay above what are now the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas was completely blasted away (see note 92 on the same page).

While this may or may not be the explanation for the strange features on Mars and other bodies in our solar system, it should certainly be considered.

Wouldn't it be remarkable if Curiosity finds part of the Mediterranean crust on Mars?

What can Maat Mons on Venus tell us about the origins of radioactivity on earth?

The presence of radioactivity on earth, and its unique characteristics, cause a multitude of problems for conventional theories of earth's origins and geological history.  Some of these difficulties have been mentioned in previous blog posts, such as "The important questions surrounding earth's radioactive isotopes."  

Many more are discussed in much greater detail in the section of Dr. Walt Brown's book about the hydroplate theory, in which he examines numerous pieces of evidence related to radioactivity and compares the conventional explanation for this evidence to the hydroplate theory's explanation.  This page in particular in the online version of his book (all of which is available online for examination by anyone for free) goes through numerous pieces of evidence point-by-point.

On that page, Dr. Brown explains the evidence which supports his assertion that: "The inner earth is hot, because the flood produced large-scale movements, frictional heating, electrical activity, and radioactivity within the earth. Similar events never happened on Mars or Venus. Therefore, the interiors of Mars and Venus should be colder."

This assertion is quite startling, and if correct quite significant.  It flies in the face of the assertions of conventional theorists that almost all of the radioactive material in the universe (including that found on earth) was produced inside stars and supernovas in particular, then expelled (some of it finding its way into forming planets).  Whereas the conventional theory argues that radioactive material was present in the original formation of the planets of our solar system (including our earth), the hydroplate theory says that unique and powerful forces on earth (accompanying cataclysmic geological events surrounding a global flood) created most of the radioactive elements on earth.  

Dr. Brown does not argue that no other forces can produce radioactive isotopes -- for example, it is obvious that the sun's radiation does create isotopes in the atmosphere.  However, while the sun's radiation does produce some radioactive isotopes as well, it is not responsible for all or even most of the radioactive elements on earth (it is not responsible for uranium, for instance).

The hydroplate theory argues that powerful forces surrounding the flood created intense electrical discharges.  The massive electrical forces created plasma discharges and bremsstrahlung radiation which created the radioactive isotopes in earth's crust.  They were not uniformly concentrated throughout the earth but only in the crust, and where this activity took place, the crust is still warmer than average to this day.

These forces, as well as other massive movements of rock (for more on those see here) caused by forces surrounding the global flood heated up the core of the earth to levels not found on our neighboring rocky planets Mars and Venus, according to the hydroplate theory.

Is there evidence that Mars and Venus are cooler on the inside than we would expect from the conventional theory (which argues that all three originated as molten balls and which denies that earth experienced a catastrophic flood, and would certainly deny that our planet's internal heat -- and radioactivity -- is a result of that catstrophic event)?  There appears to be!

Dr. Brown points out that recent measurements taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows that the crust of Mars deforms less than scientists expect during seasonal shifts of its ice caps, and that in fact the weight of the cap does not deform the crust as much as it should if the interior were as warm as scientists expected.  This evidence is discussed in a 2008 article by Dr. Matthias Grott entitled "Is Mars Geodynamically Dead?"

Dr. Brown also points out that evidence from the surface of Venus imply that its interior is nowhere near as hot as we would expect based upon conventional theories.  For example, the enormous terrain feature shown above, Maat Mons, on the surface of Venus rises five miles in height (26,400 feet).  By comparison, Mt. Everest rises only about 12,000 feet to 15,000 feet from its base (depending on estimates).  If the crust interior of Venus were as hot as it should be based upon most conventional theories, it would not support such a massive mountain.  

Dr. Brown points out that the atmosphere of Venus is about "860°F—so hot its surface rocks must be weak or 'tarlike.' (Lead melts at 622°F and zinc at 787°F)."  If the planet really evolved the way conventional theories say that it did, then much of this heat should have seeped into the crust over the billions of years that it has been orbiting the sun, and Maat Mons would not be expected to hold its steep-sided shape, and the crust would not be expected to support this five-mile-high massif.  

Not only does Maat Mons pose problems for those who argue for a billions-of-years-old Venus, but it also appears to be additional evidence from our other planetary neighbor which supports the idea that earth's interior heat -- and radioactivity -- originated in a catastrophic flood event which did not take place on either of our two neighbors in space.

There are other startling ramifications of the idea that earth's radioactivity may have originated in a cataclysmic event.  For one thing, if humans existed prior to this event, then those who lived prior to the creation of so much radioactive material may have lived longer than we do today.  For another thing, the plasma events that surrounded the cataclysm (perhaps continuing for some centuries afterwards) might have been memorialized in the rock art around the world that many authorities in the emerging science of plasma physics have noticed bear a striking resemblance to plasma phenomena.

In fact, the tremendous impact of this event on human consciousness would be so important that we probably could not understand the evidence of ancient history without taking it into account.  The Mathisen Corollary book attempts to begin the exploration of the important new perspectives that Dr. Brown's theory offers on the mysteries of mankind's ancient past.  Many other examinations of this kind are needed.  The compelling evidence that supports the hydroplate theory is extensive, both on this planet and throughout the solar system.

Mars' closest approach 2012

Mars made its closest pass by the earth today at about 12 noon Eastern (US) time, which was about 9am this morning for those of us on the west coast of North America.

Thus, observers on the side of the earth that was turned towards the sun (most of the western hemisphere) at that time would not be able to observe Mars at the moment of closest approach.

However, readers who have been following the posts in this blog about Mars and its retrograde motion (still underway) should have no problem locating the brilliant Red Planet in the constellation Leo. Previous posts on the subject have included "Mars retrograde motion for 2012" on January 27 and "Have you been watching retrograde Mars?" on February 15.

The moon is currently very close to the stars of Leo, and waxing towards a full moon on March 8, so it tends to drown out the constellation somewhat, but if you've been watching Mars over the past few nights (and as you can even see tonight, despite the moon's increasing glow), Mars has now moved dramatically retrograde in the direction of Regulus, as seen in the diagrams above.

Mars is always near its closest approach to earth when it is at "opposition" to earth from the sun, as this article from EarthSky explains (because opposition occurs when earth is between Mars and the sun, or when Mars is "opposite" to the sun from the earth, as happens once in a period of just over two earth years). However, due to the complexities caused by the fact that the planets orbit the sun on elliptical paths (with the ellipse of Mars being much more "eccentric" than that of earth), Mars actually reached true opposition on March 3rd and its closest point to earth (for its current lap around the sun) on March 5.

This excellent article from Professor Courtney Seligman on his website explains why the opposition of Mars takes place some days prior to the closest approach of Mars to our earth when Mars is on its way from its aphelion (furthest point in its orbit) to its perihelion (closest point in its orbit) -- as it is now -- and why the opposition of Mars takes place some days after its closest approach to earth when Mars is on its way from its perihelion towards its aphelion again.

After reading Professor Seligman's detailed explanation of the orbital mechanics of the two planets around the sun, you may also want to go back and review the earlier post entitled "The chariot race in Ben-Hur and the motion of the planets." Then, as soon as the earth is turned away from the sun and towards the planet Mars in your part of the globe, go out and marvel at the nearby planet Mars!