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Mars Earth Space Science

UCLA Scientist Discovers Plate Tectonics On Mars 87

Reader SternisheFan links to a press release at UCLA, and excerpts from it another bit of Mars news: "For years, many scientists had thought that plate tectonics existed nowhere in our solar system but on Earth. Now, a UCLA scientist has discovered that the geological phenomenon, which involves the movement of huge crustal plates beneath a planet's surface, also exists on Mars. 'Mars is at a primitive stage of plate tectonics. It gives us a glimpse of how the early Earth may have looked and may help us understand how plate tectonics began on Earth,' said An Yin, a UCLA professor of Earth and space sciences and the sole author of the new research."
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UCLA Scientist Discovers Plate Tectonics On Mars

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  • I think I'll wait... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @05:01PM (#40959935)
    ...for the followup papers by other scientists examining his findings before I make a conclusion. I have a friend who actually is a planetary geologist and focuses most of his attention on Mars, and I haven't heard any of this from him.
  • by tiffany352 ( 2485630 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @05:21PM (#40960055)
    The reason why we have precise measurements is because we have 30 satellites in extremely precise orbits that are carefully measured and corrected, which broadcast GPS signals all day long. There is really no practical way of getting a system like that in place now or in the foreseeable future on Mars.
  • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @06:26PM (#40960397)

    Forgive me, IANAPG but didnt Mars cease to be geologically active long ago.

    That's what we thought, which makes this finding surprising.

    Also, if earth is the only planet with active tectonics why is Venus literally covered with active volcanoes and an atmosphere thousands of times denser than earth?

    It's literally covered with active volcanoes, rather than having them occur largely along narrow zones near fault lines, precisely because it appears to lack plate tectonics, which would cause it to vent its internal heat more like Earth does rather than it's peculiar Venusian way...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2012 @08:37PM (#40961003)

    That was just the obligatory press release by UCLA. The peer reviewed version is here (paywalled):

    After reading the original article it doesn't seem to clinch the case as much as the press release would have you believe. Several plate tectonics like mechanisms have been proposed for both Mars and Valles Marineris previously.

  • by Scarletdown ( 886459 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:37AM (#40962345) Journal

    Why not just support human life extension research? Or at least human reversible hibernation... Time travel is not possible.

    Of course it's possible, but only forward, and only at the rate of 1 second per second.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith