APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

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APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:10 am

Image Unusual Plumes Above Mars

Explanation: What is creating unusual plumes on Mars? No one is sure. Noted and confirmed by a global contingent of amateur astronomers on photos of the red planet in March 2012, possibly similar plumes have now been found on archived images as far back as 1997. Since the plumes reach 200 kilometers up, they seem too high to be related to wind-blown surface dust. Since one plume lasted for eleven days, it seemed too long lasting to be related to aurora. Amateur astronomers will surely continue to monitor the terminator and edge regions of Mars for new high plumes, and the armada of satellites orbiting Mars may be called upon to verify and study any newly reported plume that become visible. The featured 35-minute time-lapse animation was taken on 2012 March 20 by the plume's discoverer -- an attorney from Pennsylvania, USA.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by bystander » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:40 am

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Ann » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:44 am

APOD Robot wrote:
What do you think these unusual Martian plumes are?
Well, me being an expert on Mars and all that... how about a Martian sending smoke signals to us? :D

(Well, I suppose it could be a geological event, too. If Comet Holmes could do it, how do we know the Red Planet can't?)

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by BennyH » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:13 am

Ann wrote:a Martian sending smoke signals to us
Yeah.. sure :-)
or maybe the martian spaceships leaving, because they know we are coming with our democracy and taxes...

But I think it is kinda funny, that we know so much about events going on, thousands of lightyears away, and still after almost 20 years, nobody have figured this out, going on in our own neighborhood.

Sebastien

Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Sebastien » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:53 am

Here is an analysis of the '97 event, showing the cloud then was only 44km high. It is more difficult to find out if that the case with the pictures of two years ago. Need to find that one in my files.

http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/15/04/82/62/mars-110.png

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Lilly » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:25 am

This effect has geological causes. It would be important to know how often it occurs ... only every few years ?

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Astronymus » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:02 pm

It's the War of the Worlds!
» Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. But then later there's running and... and screaming. «

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by pacfandave » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:24 pm

Whatever it is, it is natural. There is no life on Mars or any other planet, moon, asteroid, or comet, or any other Solar System body or piece of debris that NASA has used as an excuse to launch billions of dollars into space. You need to focus your funds on greatly expanding the space station and on interstellar propulsion systems--space-warping, plasma, whatever--and give up this pie-in-the-sky search for life in our neighborhood.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by henrystar » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:23 pm

Ann wrote:
APOD Robot wrote:
What do you think these unusual Martian plumes are?
Well, me being an expert on Mars and all that... how about a Martian sending smoke signals to us? :D

(Well, I suppose it could be a geological event, too. If Comet Holmes could do it, how do we know the Red Planet can't?)

Ann
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by BMAONE23 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:09 pm

pacfandave wrote:Whatever it is, it is natural. There is no life on Mars or any other planet, moon, asteroid, or comet, or any other Solar System body or piece of debris that NASA has used as an excuse to launch billions of dollars into space. You need to focus your funds on greatly expanding the space station and on interstellar propulsion systems--space-warping, plasma, whatever--and give up this pie-in-the-sky search for life in our neighborhood.
But those Billions of Dollars aren't Launched into Space. The Dollars are Earned here by the scientists that design the probes and the Contractors that build the probes and the NASA people that launch the probes and manage the programs throughout their lifecycles. The only money that is launched into space is the equivalent sum of the now in use hardware of the probes and their associated delivery systems ... Silicon, Metal, propellant, Copper wire, Gold connectors, Perhaps some uranium for power or heat or both. The dollars involved remain in circulation on Earth

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:19 pm

BMAONE23 wrote:
pacfandave wrote:Whatever it is, it is natural. There is no life on Mars or any other planet, moon, asteroid, or comet, or any other Solar System body or piece of debris that NASA has used as an excuse to launch billions of dollars into space. You need to focus your funds on greatly expanding the space station and on interstellar propulsion systems--space-warping, plasma, whatever--and give up this pie-in-the-sky search for life in our neighborhood.
But those Billions of Dollars aren't Launched into Space. The Dollars are Earned here by the scientists that design the probes and the Contractors that build the probes and the NASA people that launch the probes and manage the programs throughout their lifecycles. The only money that is launched into space is the equivalent sum of the now in use hardware of the probes and their associated delivery systems ... Silicon, Metal, propellant, Copper wire, Gold connectors, Perhaps some uranium for power or heat or both. The dollars involved remain in circulation on Earth
And there's no such thing as an "interstellar propulsion system" and probably never will be. That would truly be a waste of resources. And the systems that look for life on other planets and moons perform many other experiments, as well.

The only huge waste of money now is the ISS, which returns little on its investment.
Chris

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othermoons

Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by othermoons » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:27 pm

Can these plumes be in anyway connected to the holes we see on Mars...?

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:46 pm

Dust perhaps?

"..when the dust load is high enough, the heating induced by the
dust can produce thermal inversions similar to a stratosphere"

http://www.slac.stanford.edu/econf/C070 ... zalezG.pdf
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by BillBixby » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:19 pm

Thank you for both links, and plastering a smile onto my face. :)
Last edited by BillBixby on Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by quigley » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:23 pm

While I very much doubt the existence of life "out there", especially life in a form we can recognize, there is nothing wasteful about gathering knowledge that enriches our understanding and which may, indeed, end up bettering the life of mankind in some way we cannot now imagine.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by geckzilla » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:45 pm

quigley wrote:While I very much doubt the existence of life "out there", especially life in a form we can recognize, there is nothing wasteful about gathering knowledge that enriches our understanding and which may, indeed, end up bettering the life of mankind in some way we cannot now imagine.
Indeed. And it actually costs a lot less than people think it does. And most missions have a very high return rate for what is invested in them. We can throw links like this and this all day but whatever most people imagine in their heads is still more powerful than facts.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Symbology » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:47 pm

I would guess that it is a result of the sun thawing a large deposit of water (or other) ice beneath the surface in a vast pocket. Every now and then the gas given off by this cause the ground over the pocket to swell up and eventually collapse, giving off a rush of methane or hydrogen that blows dust particles into the atmosphere.

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Evenstar » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:51 pm

Come ON! What is the point of displaying fuzzy pictures of Mars dating back several plus years today with all the assets in orbit? Really disappointed this time.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by geckzilla » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:52 pm

Evenstar wrote:Come ON! What is the point of displaying fuzzy pictures of Mars dating back several plus years today with all the assets in orbit? Really disappointed this time.
The orbiters haven't imaged the phenomenon in question.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Evenstar » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:04 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:The only huge waste of money now is the ISS, which returns little on its investment.
Why not outfit the ISS for journeys to the Moon and on to Mars? Or is even its engineering designed with a lifespan that cannot be extended like the Space Shuttle which Congress simply gave up on for funding and unlike the B52 which the military has never given up on.

The ISS is like the foundation of a solar system spaceship so let's give up on it now and let it go crash into the sea somewhere. Pathetic humans!
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:11 pm

Evenstar wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:The only huge waste of money now is the ISS, which returns little on its investment.
Why not outfit the ISS for journeys to the Moon and on to Mars? Or is even its engineering designed with a lifespan that cannot be extended like the Space Shuttle which Congress simply gave up on for funding and unlike the B52 which the military has never given up on.

The ISS is like the foundation of a solar system spaceship so let's give up on it now and let it go crash into the sea somewhere. Pathetic humans!
It has no real propulsion system, and it's not designed for one. It would fall apart. It's not designed to be anything other than an orbiter.

We have little reason to send humans around the Solar System. If that changes, we are capable of designing craft optimized for travel.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by Evenstar » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:44 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Evenstar wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:The only huge waste of money now is the ISS, which returns little on its investment.
Why not outfit the ISS for journeys to the Moon and on to Mars? Or is even its engineering designed with a lifespan that cannot be extended like the Space Shuttle which Congress simply gave up on for funding and unlike the B52 which the military has never given up on.

The ISS is like the foundation of a solar system spaceship so let's give up on it now and let it go crash into the sea somewhere. Pathetic humans!
It has no real propulsion system, and it's not designed for one. It would fall apart. It's not designed to be anything other than an orbiter.

We have little reason to send humans around the Solar System. If that changes, we are capable of designing craft optimized for travel.
You would add the propulsion systems needed but I think I understand what I missed seeing that would be quite complicated. Even in a vacuum if one wanted to move a complex mass it all has to move at the same time or break apart at weak points--no?

I agree with you though but they just can't build robotic craft fast enough for me. The one-way trip to Mars in just a few years now at its earliest will be quite the show...

I thought one of the orbiters around Mars was in a polar orbit to cover the entire planet? I still don't like fuzzy pictures several years old.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by geckzilla » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:27 am

Evenstar wrote:I thought one of the orbiters around Mars was in a polar orbit to cover the entire planet? I still don't like fuzzy pictures several years old.
Go outside and angrily shake your fist at the sky, then. Earth's atmosphere likes to vacillate and blur ground-based imagery. These are actually very good amateur images of Mars despite being a few years old. An image taken tomorrow will look very much the same.
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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by wjaeschke » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:19 am

Astronomy is full of old, fuzzy pictures :)

But, here's a page where I posted RGB images that corresponded to the green-light frames used for the animation in today's APOD. I noted in the original post that the "anomaly" appeared brighter at shorter wavelengths, so I made the original green light image to send to my colleagues to see that the feature rotated with the planet (thus eliminating the possibility of a dust mote, hot pixels, etc.)

http://exosky.net/exosky/?p=1700

and here's one of the best images showing the plume (this is a "prettyfied" version).

Image

The plume is visible on the lower lower left, coming over the limb.

Regards,

Wayne

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Re: APOD: Unusual Plumes Above Mars (2015 Feb 24)

Post by geckzilla » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:09 am

Let's assume that it's a meteorite impact. If it were, would the dust cloud actually look like this? How large would the meteorite have to be to create such a large plume? Would it leave a smoldering crater and would that then be observable as a nice, bright source in infrared?

Similar argument goes for a volcanic eruption, which would likely leave a heat signature. One wonders if any such observations were attempted.

My vote was for winds / dust storm.
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