Tech News : Was There a Natural Nuclear Blast on Mars?
(BBC News Blog) About 180 million decades ago, a planet-shattering still normally happening nuclear reaction might have wiped out every little thing on Mars, sending a shockwave that turned the planet into dry sand.
A lot more outstanding: A normal nuclear reaction could have occurred on our own planet — and could happen once again, reported Dr. John Brandenburg, a senior propulsion scientist at Orbital Technologies Corp.
“The Martian surface is covered with a thin layer of radioactive substances which includes uranium, thorium and radioactive potassium — and this pattern radiates from a hot spot [on Mars],” Brandenburg told BBCNewsBlog.com.
“A nuclear explosion could have sent particles all throughout the planet,” he reported. “Maps of gamma rays on Mars demonstrate a large red spot that would seem like a radiating debris pattern … on the opposite side with the planet there exists a different red spot.”
According to Brandenburg, the pure explosion, the equivalent of 1 million one-megaton hydrogen bombs, occurred within the northern Mare Acidalium area of Mars exactly where there is certainly a serious concentration of radioactivity.
This explosion filled the Martian environment with radio-isotopes in addition, that are found in current gamma ray spectrometry information taken by NASA, he claimed.
The radioactivity also explains why the planet looks red.
Brandenburg mentioned gamma ray spectrometry taken above the past few years shows spiking radiation from Xenon 129 — an increase also noticed on Earth soon after a nuclear response or possibly a nuclear meltdown, together with the 1 at Chernobyl in 1986 and also the catastrophe in Japan previously this month.
Dr. David Beaty, Mars program science manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told BBCNewsBlog.com that he finds the idea intriguing and fascinating. But to demonstrate the science, the agency would have to prepare a mission to check out Mare Acidalium on Mars.
And you will discover extra pressing issues, which include missions to find extraterrestrial daily life. “You need to evaluate the importance of the question relative for the cost of answering the query,” he reported.
However, Beaty expressed doubts, stating the geological problems on this planet and Mars have existed for millennia — what exists has existed for some time, and there are number of sudden improvements. “Rocks are what they can be. [A pure nuclear reaction] could transpire in a further billion a long time, however it is just not something to create you would like to go home to your loved ones and move towards the mountains straight away,” he mentioned.
Dr. Lars Borg, a scientist at Lawrence Livermore Nationwide Lab, termed Brandenburg’s conclusions unsurprising — and section of acknowledged geological processes, not a nuclear reaction.
“We’ve looked at Martian meteorites for 15 decades, and looked in detail in the isotopic measurements .. and not a single person out of hundreds worrying about this have imagined there could have already been a nuclear explosion on Mars,” he told BBCNewsBlog.com.
An additional possibility is usually that the reaction occurred in mid-air and didn’t leave a crater — that’s precisely what occurred on the Tunguska function in Russia in 1909, presumably by a considerable comet.
Harrison Schmitt, a geological skilled as well as the very last man to phase from the Apollo spacecraft on the moon, advised BBCNewsBlog.com that there is “general validity” to Brandenburg’s theory. He reported the nuclear response might not have already been brought on by an explosion, having said that, and might have occurred with time.
Edward D. McCullough, a science and space consultant, agreed that the Mare Acidalium region of Mars does exhibit some unusual colours and terrain formations that seem unexplainable.
“There seems to be a realistic closure concerning the number of fissions necessary to supply the Xenon 129 enhancement as well as the level of energy demanded to toss materials to that point on Mars,” he mentioned.
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