Talk:Mars/Archive 4

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Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5

Mars Ocean

Long ago mars did have an ocean. It was large because their was only one continent and the only other land were small islands. i know that there was probley life on mar the qestion is what? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, August 27, 2007 (UTC)

Please review WP:TALK for the talk page guidelines. Michaelbusch 22:39, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Viewing Mars

Anyone interested, I'm working on a test article at User:Tomruen/Mars_oppositions starting with a compiled list of opposition dates of Mars, perhaps moved to a new article if it works out. I'm attempting to show the varied appearances, from naked-eye retrograde paths, to telescopic appearance, with the orientation, axial tilt, and apparent diameter varying. Interestingly there's no such comprehensive visuals on the web that I could find. Anyway, it's an experiment for now, unsure what it will become, except being focused on earth-based observations. I'm also very interested in showing how the appearance of Mars has changed over decades and centuries, ideally with comparative images, and maps, but unsure what sources I can get. Comments or help is welcome. I figure I'd better get something going while inspired by the coming conjunction in December. Tom Ruen 03:49, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Ancient life on Mars

Since the red colour of Mars is due to rust compounds, is it not likely that the planet's ancient atmosphere once contained a large amount of free oxygen? And if so, wouldn't the existence of ancient life be the most likely explanation for this free oxygen? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I'm no planetologist, but my understanding (see just above) is that the oxygen is believed to have been derived from the photolysis of water. Cheers, --Plumbago 08:37, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Photolysis is the main source (or the only one) for oxygen. In the soil the iron(II) is the main component not the iron(III) (and the concentration is much larger in several cm depth ) clearly stating that the martin atmosphere is not strongly oxidizing and that oxygen or hydroperoxide radicals are only a marginal effect in the atmosphere. A wide range photosynthetic driven biota would give other results. --Stone 08:40, 4 October 2007 (UTC)


The mößbauer spectroscopy indicates that most of the iron on mars is iron(II) not iron (III). In the drenches made by the rover wheels the ratio changed even more to iron(II). Even the red (iron(III)) regolite contains large amounts of iron(II) making it likely that the red colour is created by a thin layer of iron(III)oxide on top of everything. The pictures of the surfaces after the RAT instrument worked on them also shows that the red is not present in the interior of the rocks. This has implications on the atmospheric development and the possibility of oxygen in the atmosphere in the past. It should be mentioned in the article!--Stone 08:51, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

This is discussed in the "Mars surface color" entry. I have accordingly changed the current internal link of "reddish appearance" from "Iron(III) oxide" to "Mars surface color" Suniti 17 Dec 2007 (EST)

Temperature discrepancy

The info box lists the high/low temps as -85C and -5C, while in the article it says -140C and 20C. Is this somehow correct, or a mistake? -- 18:39, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm. They're both sourced. The source for the 20°C high is just an abstract. The abstract indicates an above-zero max, but doesn't specify how above zero. To read the full article, you have to pay. I'm not going to pay nine bucks to check it.
This source also says 20°C, and ESA says 27°C. I think the JPL source is just wrong. I'll leave it the infobox at -5 just in case I'm totally missing something here. --Elliskev 22:28, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Mars' distance from earth

all I wanted to find was mars distance from Earth. It is not easy. Perhaps it changes? --Emesee 01:01, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes it changes. Right now, according to an accurate program of mine, it is .889 astronomical units from the earth. This is about 133 Gm. Saros136 08:59, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely—if you subtract Earth's orbital radius from Mars', you'll (approximately) get the minimum distance. If you add them, you'll (approximately) get the maximum distance. Ben Hocking (talk|contribs) 01:18, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
See Range (AU) 0.591, now. (talk) 13:03, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Good catch. Mars is approaching a minimum, on Dec 18 at 88.2 Gm (.589 AU) it won't be this close until April 29, 2016 Saros136 (talk) 16:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)


Hello, earthlings. Someone is selling Mars. He also sells the Moon! Can we start a section 'bout this? Loolylolly1997 (talk) 01:40, 19 December 2007 (UTC)


Just seen on the news that a asteroid is due to hit Mars real shortly. Trying to get more info. IF confirmed, we may get hit by shrapnel from this impact. (talk) 22:15, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

2007 WD5 and Horizons

1. Go to
2. Make sure "Ephemeris Type" is set to Observer.
3. Click "Observer Location" and change to @mars (Mars (body center) [500@499]).
4. Click "Time Span" and set to 2008-01-29 to 2008-01-31 STEP 1 minute.
5. (if you want) Table Settings: remove 1,9,23,24. Make sure 20 (Obsrv range & rng rate) is checked.
6. Generate away.

Delta is the distance (in AU) from Mars. Deldot is the change in direction in KM/Sec. The closest distance is currently "2008-Jan-30 09:10" at .0003AU. But do keep in mind that the orbit of this object is not well determined.
Kheider (talk) 17:53, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Temperature Contradiction

In the Physical characteristics box it says, the max surface temp is -5 degrees, but further down the article it says in the summer surface temperatures can reach 20 degrees. (talk) 20:37, 22 December 2007 (UTC) Alot of talk in previous archives about this. Not sure what to believe. Most would say that the readings of the rovers are biased due to waste heat from the rovers. But then again there's not alot else on mars to take a temp reading, so what else are we going to use? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:38, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
The article Climate of Mars gives a range of 130 K (-143 Celsius) to 300 K (27 Celsius). Eroica (talk) 14:34, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Eccentricity discussion

I removed the following, which is the bulk of the 1st paragraph in Mars#Orbit and rotation

However, it is known that in the past Mars has had a much more circular orbit than it does currently. At one point 1.35 million Earth years ago, Mars had an eccentricity of only 0.2%, much less than that of Venus or Neptune today.[1] Although Mars takes twice as long as the Earth to orbit the Sun, its main cycle of eccentricity variation is slightly shorter than Earth's, with cycles taking 95,000 Earth years. However, there is a much longer cycle of eccentricity with a period of several million Earth years, and this overshadows the 95,000 year cycle in the eccentricity graph of the past three million years. Presently, Mars is approaching an eccentricity maximum, which will be reached in a thousand years.


  1. Eccentricity is of interest to preparers of ephemerides, and to amateurs who take pleasure in dispensing with an ephemeris. But its mention near the top of the section, and the "Did you know?!" tone suggests a significance that amounts to promoting some kind of neo-astrology (or for all i know, traditional astrology!) or conjuring images of worlds colliding.
  2. This is not common knowledge (even if it's well established). It's a typical case of needing to meet our verification standards, except that it's a clear enuf scientific fact that error would be unforgivable. The sole source offered is an amateur astronomer (tho a prof of chem) discussing with apparent pride a computer program apparently of his own devising. If he submitted the text, it is an open and shut case of WP:OR, and even if he didn't it is (AFAWK so far) so close to OR that we need to overcome the presumption that it is merely his OR. If there's not a peer-reviewed source for the numbers, don't use them. If there's not a peer-reviewed source for such rapid relatively large changes of eccentricity, don't discuss it.

I say all of this in spite of his page having gotten me past my initial stark incredulity about such rapid variation, and now having for me the ring of truth. Let's get a better source.
--Jerzyt 20:45 & 20:53, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Actually, the creator of SOLEX, Aldo Vitagliano, is a leading expert in the subject. One of the true orbital wizards. He was the one who determined the date the last Mars close approach nearer than the 2003 one. No less than the legendary Jean Meeus had invited him to collaborate on When Was Mars Last This Close? which goes into the changes of Mars' eccentricity very thoroughly. In fact the renowned Myles Standish, of JPL, was going to make the calculation, but dropped it after communicating with Vitagliano Because of my confidence in him and his research,... [1]. Meeus and AV have worked together on other long-term investigations, such as future simultaneous transits of Venus and Mercury. Saros136 (talk) 06:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Jerzy, the are exceptions to the peer-review standard. Such as the case of a well-regarded expert, which Vitagliano is. His work agrees with Meeus' (although AV's is on a wider time scale), but even taken alone, his word is sufficient. As for the not-common-knowledge objection, the claim was that it is known, not that the knowledge is common. But the role of changing eccentricity is well known, and the case of Mars became widely discussed before the famous near approach of Mars in 2003. It is significant. Saros136 (talk) 10:41, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The Reference for the above is at "As the eccentricity of Mars becomes bigger, its perihelion becomes closer to the Sun". I don't know if this section should be removed from the article. Earth is suspected of going through ice ages as a result of long-term variations in its orbit. You can also read Large-scale chaos in the solar system from Formation and evolution of the Solar System (Ref #35).
As a potential compromise, perhaps the section could be shortened to say something to the effect: "Long-term computer simulations of Mars orbit shows that the eccentricity of Mars varies more than most other planets with greater changes in the perihelion and aphelion distance. Mars is presently approaching a local eccentricity maximum." -- Kheider (talk) 17:07, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Why so tentative? The eccentricity of all orbits changes over time, this has been known for centuries. It can be predicted too. This variation in eccentricity explains why there are cycles of nearest close approaches. We are approaching a maximum for Mars. Saros136 (talk) 04:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm tentative because I am not sure if people want it included or not. I believe it would be true to say, "Over long time periods, the eccentricity of Mars varies more than any other planet with the exception of Mercury." But I am not sure if that would be a true statement and I do not know the sources to verify it. So I think shortening the statement might make it easier to re-insert without conflict. -- Kheider (talk) 06:17, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

OK. I was too hasty, and my response missed the mark. The source doesn't say that the Red Planet's eccentricity change is greater than most. Neither does the article I cited. But both Meeus and Vitagliano show the great variation of the planet's eccentricity here, and their graphs agree well. The disputed passage is accurate. Saros136 (talk) 09:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I was wrong; the passage is not completely accurate. Mars will not be reaching a maximum in eccentricity in 1000 yr. It's hard to draw such fine distinctions in that graph, but the program shows a continuous increase. So does the graph in When Was Mars Last This Close? Saros136 (talk) 14:27, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

time for permanent semi-protection?

I think we should add a permanent semi-protection to the article already, it's long due IMHO and during the last months most edits were made by ip vandals and users trying to revert them. Add to that the increasing popularity that the 2007_WD5 asteroid is adding and we have a recipe for disaster for the end of this month. Galaad2 (talk) 07:42, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Oh well, since nobody opposed it i went ahead and filed a request for semi-protection. Let's hope it will cut down ip vandalism for a month, until asteroid 2007WD5 either passes clear or impacts it and the news hype dies down. Galaad2 (talk) 20:05, 13 January 2008 (UTC)


Does anybody hear know how long mars takes to return to that closest point to earth that was acheived a few years ago?-- (talk) 08:43, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

The next are in 2287, 2366, 2571,and 2650. Saros136 (talk) 14:02, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
According to nearly 60,000 years.
Van der Hoorn (talk) 09:35, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Mars will be even closer on Aug. 29, 2287 due to changes in Mars perihelion distance. -- Kheider (talk) 10:03, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

The article is wrong. The close approach is on the August 28th, not 29th. in 2287, from SOLEX9.0 (which agrees very, very, well with JPL.) Saros136 (talk) 12:12, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Google shows almost all online sources agree. It was a typo, not a different source. Saros136 (talk) 13:56, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you.-- (talk) 18:14, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Image of Mars in the "atmosphere" heading

Take note that this is a stock image often referred to showing the Martian atmosphere, but this image is actually monochrome and has been colorized. It can lead to the incorrect impression about the true color of the atmosphere. Due to the thinness of the atmosphere, the drag coefficient does not allow the dust particles to remain suspended for long. Only those particles small enough not to show their color can remain aloft. This results in more light scattering in the short wave end of the spectrum. Refer to the raw images from the rovers that show the sky from an angle and the data illustrates that the redder, longer wavelengths are greatly deficient while the shorter, bluer wavelengths dominate.

Another very important factor- due to the lower gravitation, it takes about 2.6 times as many air molecules per column of atmosphere to create an equivalent atmospheric pressure. The result is that the sky has far more Raleigh scattering than we will normally assume for a given pressure. A column of air on Mars containing a known number of air molecules will only weigh 38% as much as it would on Earth. This is why the sky is as brightly lit as it is. I have found no references to this effect, although I have done extensive research to locate any information on it. From first principles of physics, it clearly is something that is being overlooked.

To verify the dust particle concept, here is the terminal velocity equation:

Vterminal  = sqrt { (mg) / (AD1/2P) }

Here is the resistive force or drag equation:

R = (mgv2) / Vterminal

And here is the atmospheric simulator created by NASA to be used as your atmospheric model: (talk) 03:01, 12 February 2008 (UTC)Charles Shults

Proposed Reorganization of Overall Categories

Hello All, Would appreciate you all thinking about the possibility of organizing the overall cagegories into the following 9: 1Geography 2Geology 3Hydrology 4Atmosphere 5Biosphere Search 6Astronomy and Exploration 7Colonization 8Natural Satellites 9Culture --- Notes: Geography is the overall category that should come first, in my opinion. The harder sciences Geology, Hydrology and Atmosphere would come next. Weather and Climate would be put in Atmosphere and or Geography. Astronomy and Exploration are really the same science. I would put moons last as they are not "Mars" in the same way that the Moon of Earth is not "Earth" in my opinion. Histories would be put in the category above the history refers to. For instance Lovell (who was a scientist) could be put under historical Geography, whereas Jules Verne could be put under historical Culture. Thanks for thinking about this. Best wishes to all. MLatham. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MLatham53 (talkcontribs) 17:26, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Enormous Winds?

The atmosphere section mentions the sublimation of dry ice as a source for "enormous" winds of some 400 kph at the poles. Isn't the air pressure on the surface of Mars somewhere in the range of 10 milibars? I'm no scientist, but at such low pressure it would seem that the force exerted by 400 kph winds wouldn't be much to worry about. Am I wrong, or is the word "enormous" a little misleading here? Berberry (talk) 17:04, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


in the side table, some scaliwag has added "2.7% poop" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:17, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Kepler's third law

I would like to point out there is an inconsistency in regards to the orbital period or semi-major axis. If you apply Kepler's third law, combined with the information from Jupiter and isolate TMars, the orbital period for Mars is 1.87921 years. I am not saying which of the two articles is wrong or what the correct information is, but Kepler's third law states the square of the orbital period is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis and is a constant. That means TJupiter2/aJupiter3 is the same as TMars2/aMars3 and TJupiter2/aJupiter3 X aMars3 is the same as the orbital period of Mars. In one of the two or both articles, there is a mistake. --OrbitOne (talk) 19:07, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Not necessarily a mistake. There are different sources used. One for Jupiter's period referred to a page that has been removed. I changed to JPL Horizons numbers, which were slightly different, consistent with the rest of the orbital elements. The Mars article uses the NASA Planetary Fact Sheets They are all respectable sources, though.
In the past I did the same kind Kepler's third law analysis a long time ago (not on Wikipedia). Even within one source, there is not perfect agreement. But that straightforward test may not be valid. Osculating elements continuously, and it might make a difference if, say, the Sun or Solar system barycenter is used for the elements. Also, the equation usually used, which I used,is not the complete one (but in most cases good enough). Saros136 (talk) 21:16, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and there is always a certain amount of uncertainty depending on how many decimal places one uses. However, the numbers should be close together, within a fraction of a percent. And yes, I am an asshole when it comes to accuracy. --OrbitOne (talk) 22:14, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I've put the Horizons numbers (emailed to me) and the Mars article numbers in Excel. For Mars, TMars2/aMars3=1.000037 for either Horizons or the fact sheet numbers used in the Mars. (there is actually a tiny difference). For Jupiter, it is 0.999083856, which combined with the JPL SMA implies a Martian period of 1.879927888 yr, vs. 1.88082484 given by Horizons. The current Mars numbers implies 1.879897013 yr, compared with 1.880793977 yr given (converting from the days figure). Changing the Mars figures to Horizons would reduce the gap by 16 min. Saros136 (talk) 09:10, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
The Mars article now has Horizons elements and data. Saros136 (talk) 04:28, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Life theory

here is my theory of how mars had life. Millions of years ago mars was a hot place. fiery volcanos spouted lava and much of the water was warm and hot. This left a perfect area for Microbes to breed. Over time The Microbes evolved into Bacteria and Algae which populated the first oceans. But as the volcanic activity increased the climate changed leading into an Ice age. However life would not die as easiliy. The Algae and Bacterias adapted into cold resistant cells. As the oceans returned warmer waters transformed the cells into adaptable cells which could live in both warm and cold waters. At this point the first aquatic plants appeared leading into the very first invertabretes and aquatic animals. Soon as time moved on the first land plants appeared and later on the first land animals. Soon habitats were almost that of earths and were crawling with life .However after a volcanic change in the Co2 exchange the planet was plunged into an other ice age. Soon all life was locked up in ice. Because it has a thiner atmosphere martian ice ages are much colder than earth's Glaciations. Over 10,000 years all of the oceans had frozen solid. Eventually the ice sheets were covered up by sand storms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:01, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Nice theory, but that is not how Wikipedia works. You need to reference your theory. A reliable source is needed, such as a research paper.--OrbitOne (talk) 22:22, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, didn't know that. but what do you think of my theroy?

See: Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not#FORUM Tom Ruen (talk) 04:16, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm just a kid i thought this up on my own! But i do have a source that inspired me Alien Planet the tv special. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Unfortunately there is no proof for any of the above. Mars may have had a Proterozoic era, but I doubt it had a Cambrian explosion. Earth did not have complex land life 600 mya. Though it is possible that either Mars or Venus had green algae before the Earth did. -- Kheider (talk) 21:01, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

MP3 "Mars' Salty Past" with Dr. Andrew Knoll at -- Kheider (talk) 03:57, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

We aren't talking about earthlike life forms! Mabye mars had Micro organisims that could live in the salty conditions. Besides it's just a theory. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:31, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Distinction between water and liquid CO2

The Mars article mentions in several places about water that was once on mars, and water contained in the ice caps. From what I've read, it is mostly believed that this underground "water" is Liquid CO2. Also I've heard that the Liquid CO2 is what likely erupted from the surface explosively and carved the chasms and canyons on Mars.

Is what I've read wrong, that it actually is Water that carved the features of Mars? If not, I think there is a very big difference between water in the sense we know it (H2O) and liquid CO2. It should be noted in the article, or at least when water is mentioned, that it be defined as not H2O in the classical sense.

Can you imagine: Person 1: "Wow, I just read that Mars once had water and that carved the huge canyons and valleys! It's actually true mars had water!" Person 2: "Actually, it was underground rivers of CO2 that erupted to the surface and carved them. Mars does not have enough pressure for liquid water to be a liquid at the surface."

- Thanks for anyone who can help clear this up / or set me straight :) Cody-7 (talk) 01:34, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I've been doing some more research; look at this web page here for example: [2] -- That article claims that most of the ice on the polar ice caps are frozen CO2, with only slight amounts of actual water which has formed around the rim. In this article [3] it explains the "outburst floods" of CO2 formed the valleys and canyons.
And I've tried to find more conclusive articles, but unfortunately most other websites list water like a catch phrase on Mars related articles, without distinguishing between whether its CO2, H2O, or heavens knows. Cody-7 (talk) 01:59, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Please note that on Earth, solid CO2 (dry ice) sublimes without becoming liquid. That is because you can have liquid only above the triple point, which is at 5.11 atm pressure and -56.4°C. [4]. While it might be remotely conceivable that a pressure > 5 atm might be sustained briefly deep within Mar's crust, it is unlikely, and, anyway, as soon as the liquid leaked near enough to the surface it would boil. That might leave part as solid and part as gas, but no liquid any more. The formation of CO2 ice on or near the surface of Mars is from condensation directly from gas to solid. Carrionluggage (talk) 06:41, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

That doesn't exactly explain what I'm asking... It should be specially clarified, like here:

Still, of all the planets in our Solar System other than Earth, Mars is the most likely to harbor liquid water, and perhaps life

That mars is the most likley to harbor water below the surface, or in frozen form at ice caps? We don't want to be putting images of flowing rivers into peoples heads when they don't exist; and least not any longer.
Even if CO2 isn't over the triple point near Mars' surface, does that still rule out that the underground chasms were made by CO2? Were they most likely made by water? Maybe I shouldn't of been watching some of these mars documentaries, too much unreliable information... Maybe that's where I'm getting confused about the distinction. I've heard both CO2 and Water can exist under the surface. I was thinking maybe in the article the word "water" was being used referring to other liquids like CO2 or the like... Cody-7 (talk) 03:46, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

You may want to contact your nearest planetarium; they often have personnel ready to answer questions such as yours. The existence of CO2 liquid under the surface would probably have been associated with volcanism - e.g. when Olympus Mons was active. On Earth, by the time CO2 is detected in volcanic gas it is also a gas, mixed with sulfur compounds and water vapor. You would have to ask geologists whether, at great depth, the assemblage might ever have been liquid. It may have been dissolved in magma, rendering the resulting lava vuggy as it evolved gas. What is clear is that at the surface, any liquid would have been water or lava. There may be active research and even disagreement in this area (what caused the braided markings) so it is asking quite a bit for the public press to get it all down accurately. Major planetariums like the Hayden, the Buehler in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, the Adler in Chicago and so on often have staff who can bridge the gap between the research scientists and the public. Sorry I can't do more. Carrionluggage (talk) 05:43, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


I changed that the 30 K to 12.22 C because that fit the format of that section. Jonapello22 (talk) 00:14, 17 March 2008 (UTC)


This is my favorite planet! i will go when im 15 (now im only 10!!) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tw3435 (talkcontribs) 03:59, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Well good luck with that since the first manned mars missions are planned some time after the next NASA lunar landing in 2020. See Vision for Space Exploration. It's likely we won't even think about a Mars landing until sometime after 2030.
Actually now that I think about it. Good luck. Bring us back a Mars rock! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cody-7 (talkcontribs) 04:09, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


"Naked-eye" should not be hyphenated, because it's being used as a noun, not as a modifier. I can't fix this because the article is protected.-- (talk) 17:18, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

link to Manned mission to Mars

The section on "Future missions" needs a link to Manned mission to Mars. I can't do this because the article is protected.-- (talk) 17:31, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Small error

The height of mount everest is not measured in Km, but in Metres. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:00, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Mars' Orbital eccentricty over time". Solex. Universita' degli Studi di Napoli Federico II. 2003. Retrieved 2007-08-02.