A Mars Expert

Electric currents (blue and red arrows) envelop Mars in a nested, double-loop structure that wraps continuously around the planet from its day side to its night side. Credits: NASA/Goddard/MAVEN/Colorado University, Boulder/SVS/Cindy Starr.

May 27, 2020

Mars is a mysterious world.

NASA launched the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) on November 18, 2014 on a year-long investigation of Mars’ upper atmosphere, its ionosphere, and how it interacts with the solar wind. The spacecraft is fitted with instruments that measure various phenomena, adding valuable information to Electric Universe theory. Onboard MAVEN are:

— Solar Wind Electron Analyzer to measure ionospheric electrons.
— Solar Wind Ion Analyzer to measure the magnetosheath ion density.
— Langmuir Probe to determine ion escape wave heating and extreme ultraviolet input from the Sun.
— Ultraviolet Spectrometer to measure characteristics of the upper atmosphere.
— Magnetometer to measure the Martian remanent magnetic field.

The consensus view of Mars is illustrated by a previous press release about the MAVEN mission:

“Once upon a time—roughly four billion years ago—Mars was warm and wet, much like Earth. Liquid water flowed on the Martian surface in long rivers that emptied into shallow seas. A thick atmosphere blanketed the planet and kept it warm.”

This is the fairy tale astronomers tell themselves to keep them warm at night.

Mars is approximately 6793 kilometers in diameter, about half that of Earth, with a substantially lower average temperature at minus 63 Celsius, compared to Earth at plus 13 Celsius. Atmospheric density on Mars is equivalent to standing on top of a mountain six times taller than Mount Everest, or less than 1% that of Earth. It is so cold that planetary scientists believe that it is covered with a planet-wide layer of permafrost, because the annual mean temperature of the soil is so low.

In the northern and southern latitudes, carbon dioxide freezes into a solid, burying the terrain in dry ice. That is what finished the Phoenix mission to Mars: the lander was encased in almost a meter of dry ice during the winter. Since the atmosphere is so thin, water-ice sublimes directly into vapor, so there can be no ice or water out in the open. How did Earth and Mars diverge so dramatically?

Those words describe one of the most confusing issues in planetary science. The consensus view believes that Mars once hosted liquid water flowing over the surface. What look like valleys and water-carved canyons are everywhere. The Curiosity Rover found minerals that scientists think required years underwater to form. However, over all, there are few carbonate compounds in abundance, not nearly enough to account for the missing carbon dioxide that must have once existed in the atmosphere.

They are left with only one suggestion: the atmosphere must have leaked away over the eons. Was it solar radiation—the solar wind—that scrubbed away the atmosphere, because Mars lacks an intrinsic, global magnetic field? How much total atmosphere escaped?

At the low point in its elliptical orbit, MAVEN comes within 125 kilometers of the surface. At its high point, it reaches 6000 kilometers out, therefore the mission team hopes to gather data enough to answer the question of why so much carbon dioxide remains when most of the other gases are gone.

According to a recent press release, “…electric currents induced in the solar wind can form a direct electrical connection to the Martian upper atmosphere. The currents transform the energy of the solar wind into magnetic and electric fields that accelerate charged atmospheric particles into space, driving atmospheric escape to space.”

As previously reported, data from MAVEN indicates that Mars is losing atmosphere at a rate of about 100 grams per second, or about 3,100,000 kilograms per year. The research team believes that Mars was once like Earth until its “internal dynamo” cooled-off and solidified, leaving no liquid metallic iron to generate an all-encompassing magnetic field.

Questions from Electric Universe advocates might also include: What is the relationship to planetary atmospheres and the behavior of an electric Sun? Can present conditions on Mars provide examples of an electrical connection? Do present conditions on Mars offer analogues that can provide clues to the catastrophic events in the planet’s recent past?

Stephen Smith

The Thunderbolts Picture of the Day is generously supported by the Mainwaring Archive Foundation.

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