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Mars NASA Space Science

New Cave Entrances Seen on Mars 110

Posted by Zonk
from the oh-good-lord-what-is-that-arrgh dept.
Riding with Robots writes "The Mars Odyssey orbiter has come across what look to be openings to cavernous spaces under the surface of Mars. NASA reports the find is fueling interest in potential underground habitats and sparking searches for caves elsewhere on the Red Planet. These latest images follow other recent discoveries of intriguing places to explore. From the article: 'The find has led some to wonder if these or other caves on the planet may provide shelter to life or former life on the Red Planet. "Somewhere on Mars, caves might provide a protected niche for past or current life, or shelter for humans in the future," said Tim Titus of the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff. These caves, however, likely never hosted life due to the extreme altitude of their location. "Even if life has ever existed on Mars, it may not have migrated to this height," said Cushing.'"
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New Cave Entrances Seen on Mars

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Friday September 21, 2007 @09:32PM (#20706937) Homepage Journal
    Gee, maybe that is where Osama Bin Laden has been hiding. :-) After all, Bush had said "He could be hidin in a cave with the door open, he could be hidin in a cave with the door closed". It may also explain why Bush wants to go to Mars so bad...

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      That's too funny, modded as flamebait by some brainless neocon follower.

            Yeah BWJones, how can you be so unpatriotic? I am shocked and I think I am going to faint [time.com]. In fact, you must be a terrorist for not Supporting Our Troops and Our Great Leader Who Can Do No Wrong.

            Sympathy, guy. I laughed.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      He's not hiding. In fact, he went to visit Bush, last time he was in Australia [youtube.com].
    • by Duhavid (677874)
      Naw, Osama is not here.

      But if you look at that cave over there
      Yea, that one, that is me, waving, do
      you see it?
    • by ozbird (127571)
      It may also explain why Bush wants to go to Mars so bad...

      "He who controls the spice controls the universe." [wikipedia.org]
    • by VagaStorm (691999)
      Nah, my bet is on dune worms.... Or that huge worm Han and Leia landed in in The Empire Strikes back :p
    • Stop sending your trash to our planet!
    • Did anybody remember to put headlights on that thing?
  • Crap. (Score:2, Funny)

    I was *sure* we'd camoflaged our front door better than that!
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday September 21, 2007 @09:44PM (#20707033)
    We prefer to say "Caves of Barsoom". kthx
  • by Nymz (905908) on Friday September 21, 2007 @09:49PM (#20707061) Journal
    Otherwise how do we justify honoring the Martians with their own Slashdot Topic Icon.
    • Pluto was denied (because it's too small, a dwarf planet)
    • Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, & Neptune were denied (for not being terrestrial enough)
    • Venus was denied (she's female)
    • Earth was denied (no intelligent life?)
  • by synonymous (707504)
    Should be a good idea to maybe take care of our lifespans being not much longer than a mosquito in cosmic terms first. Gotta fix all the broken shit here unless the aliens like you enough to take you away.
    • You're missing the point entirely. We are the cosmos.
      • Perhaps with that certainty you could then elaborate.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by TheDarkener (198348)
          Grasshopper, YOU must elaborate.
          • OK,
            Exploring caves on mars is somehow pointless because we are the entire cosmos?
            The fact that I see myself as but a fraction of many pieces of puzzle, and I'm missing point as in yours?
            I suppose youd be right that I would need to explain, but one who sees themself as all, certainly has me voided in universe.
            You have taken me straight to the confrontation that cannot be avoided. Become one or struggle. Unfortunately for you, I have fear that your spirit is bottled. I hear it in your bass playing. I could
            • Exploring caves on mars is somehow pointless

              Your quote, not mine. =)

              Should be a good idea to maybe take care of our lifespans being not much longer than a mosquito in cosmic terms

              Again, your quote, not mine. =)

              My point has to do with your context of "lifespans". What you see with your two eyes does not constitute finality with respect to who we are. Time is a factor we don't look past, but we continue to learn, grow and evolve through the generations who built our foundational knowledge. Exploring caves on
              • "My point has to do with your context of "lifespans". What you see with your two eyes does not constitute finality with respect to who we are."

                So am I to just believe you?

                "What you believe can never be what is taught by others."
                • =) Of course not. Don't ever believe anyone's "answers" - answers are for the individual and cannot be taught or pushed upon anyone else. What they can do, however, is serve as a motivator for you to find your own truths.

                  You're on the right track, investigating cues that catch your attention. Follow yourself and nobody else. You'll find your answers, and once you do you'll understand.
  • by Tmack (593755) on Friday September 21, 2007 @10:01PM (#20707147) Homepage Journal
    Why is this being reported just now by discovery? Are they competing with /. on who can post the oldest articles and get away with calling it news? Really, this was posted on space.com back in APRIL!!!

    See Here [space.com]

    Blah

    Tm

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by freeweed (309734)
      You know, the Internet isn't a race.

      Who the hell cares if the news is "old"? It's INTERESTING, I haven't read it before, and quite frankly why are you bothering to post if it's such "old" news?

      Besides, 5 months is only "old" if you're a teenager. So get off my damn lawn and stop posting pointless comments complaining about something you can easily just NOT CLICK ON IF IT DOES NOT INTERST YOU.

      Fuck, Slashdot is full of whiners the past couple of years.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Plutonite (999141)

        So get off my damn lawn and stop posting pointless comments complaining
        It is our duty as Helpful People to help make slashdot more interesting, and less ridiculous, by pointing these things out.

        about something you can easily just NOT CLICK ON IF IT DOES NOT INTERST YOU.
        You spelled interest wrong.

        Fuck, Slashdot is full of whiners the past couple of years.
        Uh-oh. Please disregard my above grammar nazism :)
      • by westyx (95706)
        You're absolutely wrong. Nothing much has changed at all.
    • by x1n933k (966581) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:46PM (#20707827) Homepage
      Actually this is different. If we look at NASA's site:

      09.21.07 - Odyssey Finds Possible Cave Skylights on Mars NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has discovered entrances to seven possible caves on the slopes of a Martian volcano.

      Sure, both reports mention a volcano's but there's no way NASA would report the same thing twice, right?

      [J]
  • Green Martian, antenae and a fur bikini. Need I say more?
  • we've all seen 'ghosts of mars', run away!
  • Mars robots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tribbin (565963) on Friday September 21, 2007 @10:09PM (#20707213) Homepage
    Will they steer for the caves?

    That was the first question on my mind.
    • Will they steer for the caves?

      Sorry. Both rovers are a long way from these caves. At best, the Opportunity rover could travel another 10km or so, while Spirit could perhaps manage another kilometre.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They'd be fools to just wander in without knowing what lurks below. At the very least NASA should form a standard adventuring party with a warrior, a priest, a rogue and wizard.
    • Re:Mars robots (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @12:56AM (#20708177) Homepage Journal
      Will they steer for the caves?

      Even if they were in range (they're not), there are two other problems. First, being solar powered, they couldn't go into the caves because they would have no power to get out if they got stuck or lost. Second, there would be no usable radio communication inside a cave because the walls block the waves.

      Seems what is needed is some kind of expendable micro-bot that launches from a bigger bot.
           
      • by Lije Baley (88936)
        Or maybe some kind of unstoppable nuclear-powered bot. No, wait, if it accidentally landed on earth there could be big trouble...and since these days our presidents and bionic people are all women, we'd have no way to save ourselves.
      • by weber (36246)
        Seems what is needed is some kind of expendable micro-bot that launches from a bigger bot. Why all the bots? I say, just send humans already! (and launch them from a large bot if you must).
  • It's a worm hole....hmmm now where do we plant the thumper to lure them out.
  • by MrCopilot (871878) on Friday September 21, 2007 @10:16PM (#20707269) Homepage Journal
    http://www.highmars.org/niac/niac01.html [highmars.org]

    Project Objectives:

    The primary objective of this feasibility demonstration is to show that relatively simple, easily-deployable subsurface habitats are constructible in caves, lavatubes, and other subsurface voids. Further, we intend to demonstrate that they are suitable to sustain small animals, plants, and ultimately humans in an otherwise hostile environment.

    • to show that relatively simple, easily-deployable subsurface habitats are constructible in caves, lavatubes, and other subsurface voids.

      Call me back when you've got a simple, easily-deployable way of getting to the surface of Mars.

  • That is the wildest non sequitur speculation I have heard since I turned off Nancy Grace. Maybe we could send her to a Martian cave. Or me. One of us has to go.

    (Did I just make accusations of a non sequitur fallacy while mentioning Nancy Grace in a topic about Martian caves?)

    • Well, the non-sequitur Bush-bashing made first post, so in that context, your remark seems perfectly cromulent to me.
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @10:24PM (#20707335) Homepage Journal
    from the caves... to the fields... to the huts... to the cities... to the castles... to the flatirons... to the railroads... to the cars... to the airplanes... to the space ships... to the moon... to mars...

    to the caves?
    • ... to the fields .... to the huts .... to the cities ...

      lather, rinse, repeat.
    • by E++99 (880734)
      Except that the "cavemen" actually lived primarily in tents.

      Obviously caves preserve remains a lot better than tents, though.
  • So easy a Martian Cave Man could do it!

    --
    X's and O's for all my foes.
  • by KefkaTheMad (967573) on Friday September 21, 2007 @10:32PM (#20707381)
    Zapp: "The great stone face of Mars. Hmm, the only known entrance to the marsian reservation."
    Leela: "What about the great stone ass of Mars?"
    Zapp: "Well, yeah. But it's way on the other side of the planet."
  • is there a way we can explore the caves with robots? i doubt the signal would go through... or would it? it would be interesting to see what's inside.
    • Well, you could certainly do it with robots; just probably not the robots that we have here right now.

      If you were putting together a mission specifically to explore the caves, you'd probably design something that could either trail an umbilical behind itself, leading to a base station near the cave entrance which would have an uplink transceiver and solar panels for power, or you'd drop radio relays inside the cave mouth (but then you'd have to worry about how to get power to drive the robot around inside t
      • hmm, i never thought of that. though i bet it would kind of suck if it got stuck in the cave with no battery life!... someone would have to get fired for that one
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)
        I think it would be interesting to look inside these caves but I don't think we are going to find life on Mars. My reasoning is that life on Earth is absolutely pervasive. It is in every cubic centimetre of ocean and every square centimetre of the Arctic and Antarctic, and all of our deserts.

        Maybe Earth life could get the kind of toehold on Mars which we postulate for Mars life, but if Mars had native life it would be everywhere. Perhaps not out in the sun but certainly under each and every rock.

        The effect
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kadin2048 (468275) *

          I think it would be interesting to look inside these caves but I don't think we are going to find life on Mars. My reasoning is that life on Earth is absolutely pervasive. It is in every cubic centimetre of ocean and every square centimetre of the Arctic and Antarctic, and all of our deserts.

          Maybe Earth life could get the kind of toehold on Mars which we postulate for Mars life, but if Mars had native life it would be everywhere. Perhaps not out in the sun but certainly under each and every rock.

          The effect on micro climates would be obvious to our sensors. Instead all we see is normal energy flow, the sun rises, heats up the sand, sun goes down, sand radiates into space.

          I don't disagree with you at all. I think the chance of finding life there is spectacularly slim. This is why I think the goal of looking for life should be secondary to other research aims. Exploring the caves seems like a worthy goal even aside from the life issue. They could be important in possible human settlements on the planet, both as shelter and possible sources of exploitable resources.

          A large amount of the mass budget for any human habitation on Mars, whether temporary or permanent, would probab

          • What do you do when it becomes more and more clear that there isn't any [life]? The funding will evaporate and there goes your whole program.

            Maybe I'm misremembering, but wasn't part of the point that the martain air was thin and cold enough here that we didn't have to worry about evaporation effects?

            Then again, maybe this whole thing is some kind of plant intended breathe new life into The Mars Underground [imdb.com].

            ;)

  • The ever widening search for Bin Laden moves on.

    They've also found a dialysis machine and beard dye.
  • So a bloke comes up to me and says,"Hey, how much is auto insurance? Only to find out he doesn't have a car. He has a robotic rover."
  • Don't go in there! That's where the giant spiders live!
    If you make them mad it's game over for all of us!

    Look! Wasn't that a green jet of gas coming form the surface of mars?

    I guess the chances of anyting living on mars are maybe...a million to one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Basehart (633304)
      The edges do look as if they were dug away by a machine of some kind. And is it just a coincidence that most UFO's are circular objects, albeit not as wide as these holes are. Maybe the mother ships use these ports and there are smaller ones for the scouting ships. Either way, you wouldn't catch me going down into one of these on my own.
    • Strange music? Yeah.
      Tekeli-li, tekeli-li
      It's those damn blasphemous flutes again!
  • Looks like a mine shaft to me. Gold? Naquata? Latinum? Coal? Oil?
  • by eskayp (597995) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @12:07AM (#20707943)
    Not being a rocket scientist there is something I don't understand:
    Why aren't the Martian caves filled with dust accumulated from the seasonal storms?
    Are gases or vapors from within clearing the cave entries of dust?
    ( We would expect to see trails of ejecta. )
    Are the caves so new or geologically young that they have not yet drifted full?
    Are the caves at elevations above most of the Martian dust storms?
    Layman's questions looking for non-tinfoil-hat expert answers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by smellsofbikes (890263)
      Likely for the same reasons that terrestrial caves aren't all filled, even though we have a lot more erosive, mass-wasting, and probably as much aeolian redistribution (which is to say: water, landslides, and duststorms.) Caves usually form from water flowing downhill, dissolving out the underlying rock, and eventually escaping, which means a lot of caves go upwards from where the entrance is. If the cave doesn't have much or any wind blowing through it -- if it's dead-end -- there's no reason for wind to
      • by eskayp (597995)
        Thanks for providing a more knowledgeable reply.
        The photos of the cave entrances seem to resemble terran sinkholes.
        If so, and if dust has been drifting into them for centuries, one would expect to see them partially filled.
        E.g. the talcum-fine dust settles in the still air a few meters below the topside gale.
        Yet the initial estimates are that the caves are very deep.
        The only earthwise equivalent this non-geologist is aware of are the vertical shafts in Central America.
        It will be interesting to learn whether
        • I'd reluctantly put my money on 'ancient'. From what I've read, there aren't enough geologic processes on Mars -- most notably free water and active transpiration to move the water from lowlands up into highlands for it to flow back down again -- to have any hope of currently active cave formation. But the more we find out about Mars, the more we get surprised, so who knows?

          The thing about sinkholes is: they're usually new caves that have collapsed because the ceiling finally got too thin. But, that does
          • by eskayp (597995)
            As we begin to search out alternate habitats for when the 'big one' finally hits earth, Martian subterranean caverns with even seasonal running water would be cool indeed.
            Much better than depending upon orbiting vessels or surface structures that are subject to the vagaries of radiation and smaller space debris.
            Think a Martian version of NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain.
            Surface exposure could be limited to maintaining the solar collectors and exploring.
            Perhaps too much to hope for, but still a hope.
  • by COMICAGOGO (1055066) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @12:58AM (#20708185)
    To your right is a torch...
    To your left is another passage....
    In front of you is a Martian Cave Troll...

    What do you do?

          Use Mineral Sampling Device.

    On what?

          troll

    Unknown command: troll

    The troll hits you for 12 damage, you are dead.
    • Danger will Robinson Danger even if this what if this is the entry to an alien city hidden below mars.
  • Is this some kind of joke? They vaguely say it could be a good underground habitat? FOR WHAT?! Martian cave rats? Everyone agrees nothing large enough to see with the naked eye lives on Mars, let alone a living "habitat" of bacteria, which I also don't think is the correct use of the word. Or maybe they mean for us to live in? Yeah we'll get to Mars using super advanced technology and then live in a cave? More like a metal tent thing, I mean come on, watch some movies lol. I suppose you could build
  • Damn, and after all the time invading Afghanistan and searching Tora Borra for signs of Bin Laden he's headed off to Mars.

    How long until the USAF are tasked with coming up with a way of bombing the crap out of those caves on the off-chance Osma is hiding out there ;)

  • He can start the nuclear reactor.
  • This is beside an old volcano. It is possible that there is enough heat from that to run geo-thermal generators. If so, then cheap and easy power becomes available which makes colonization quit a bit cheaper. For all those that want nukes, keep in mind that you might have 30 years worth. With this approach, it becomes very possible to create a self-sufficient colony. And as to the 100% solar proponents, well, hopefully, we have dispelled that idea in light of the recent storm.
  • Now all we need is to find a few nymphs to lure out those pesky 'Old Ones' and my plan to rule the world will be almost complete. Now where to find a painting crazy enough to interest them for a couple of thousand years while I grok the source of their powers. Hmm, maybe I should have killed Da Vinci while he was in the middle of drawing Mona Lisa..

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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