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View Diary: Mars Rock Stuns NASA Scientists (162 comments)

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  •  I don't think this is true (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethtriggs, KenBee, FarWestGirl, ozsea1

    There are very good chances that Earth rocks have ended up on Mars, and no propulsion is not needed: just lots of time.

    The problem to be solved, as you say, is how do you get objects out of the atmosphere, and then out of Earth orbit and into a more energetic one? (crossing the asteroid belt is not necessary, as Mars and Earth are on the same side of it.)

    It turns out one event put enough rock above the atmosphere to make this possible, even plausible.

    4.4 billion years ago, a protoplanet the size of Mars (the Theia object) struck Earth a glancing blow. A lot of this rock blew into orbit, and coalesced into two moons (later a single moon.)

    However, it is quite likely that some of this rock blew out of orbit. Some of it probably went unstable, and ended up in the sun. But some of this rock may have ejected into Earth's Lagrange points, where it would have stayed for millions of years, until eventually being destabilized. A close path by Earth at just the right angle could have given an object on the right trajectory a gravity assist (just like we do with interplanetary probes), and sent it off to a wider orbit.

    Trillions and trillions of tons of rock were poured into orbit during this event. And while the likelihood of any of these pieces accidentally ending up on a Trans-Mars injection heading would be very, very low - statistically, it is likely that at least some tiny portion of that material made it: there is almost certainly Earth material somewhere on Mars.

    Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:20:31 AM PDT

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    •  no controversy there, haha. 'Giant Impact...' (5+ / 0-)

      Giant Impact Hypothesis helps elucidate and further confuse this question.
         That Jake is on the surface of a crater would seem to beg this question.

      Thanks Fish, now I am really more informed and confused about something I knew very little of.
        Kidding, very interesting, keep it coming.

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:58:27 AM PDT

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    •  Um, at some level (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl

      aren't all the rocks in our solar system partly rocks from all the planets in our solar system?

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:05:00 PM PDT

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    •  That hypothesis is FAR from proven (0+ / 0-)

      and it does nothing to support the idea that 'rocks were flung' that far uphill (ie, Mars) with only the postulated initial impact.

      Given that these suggestions (not facts) arise from models that attempt to explain an entirely different scenario, and are themselves full of significant flaws, trying to use it as a factual basis for speculation in a completely different realm is of questionable utility.  It does not support the claim that Earth rocks "almost certainly" ended up on Mars.

      I find it oddly painful to disagree with a Telecaster, but I started this pretty sure of my ground, but after going thru all this, I find myself quite convinced that any Earth rocks on Mars had to be carried there - not thrown from here.

      This year, I'm doing something I've never done before - I'm voting a straight Democratic ticket

      by chmood on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:11:31 PM PDT

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      •  Weathering would have reprocessed that rock (0+ / 0-)

        Mars was warmer and wetter in its first half billion years. Some rocks from earth may have reached Mars early in the history of the solar system, but we wouldn't find those rocks on the surface today.

        It is extremely improbable, but not impossible, for material to be flung outward from earth to reach Mars. 3 body interactions can transfer momentum to small bodies.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 04:40:08 AM PDT

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        •  Having scoured the Giant Impact hypothesis... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FishOutofWater

          I must ask: IF THE MOON WASN'T THERE YET, and the impacting body was 'merging' with the earth (both per the hypothesis), then where are the OTHER two bodies in this imaginary three-body scenario?  The ones that would extra-hypothetically take molten ejecta past the rapidly-accreting debris disk, out of Earth's gravity well entirely - and give it enough of a push to let the now-frozen ejecta coast uphill an extra 141 million miles?

          Entities start multiplying so early in the GI hypothesis itself that  William of Occam would've blown his brains out long before he'd've arrived at the 'little Earth rock that could'.  It's not that I don't have enough imagination - I just understand its limits. OTOH, Rube Goldberg would have had a field-day w/ the magic mantle-piece.

          Sorry if any of this sounds grumpy.  NOT a good day so far.

          This year, I'm doing something I've never done before - I'm voting a straight Democratic ticket

          by chmood on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 10:12:13 AM PDT

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          •  sun & earth are the 2 bodies (0+ / 0-)

            Then comes the impacting body or the ejecta which can be treated as the 3rd body. For the interactions of more bodies, you need to get out a good computer program.

            Google "3 body problems". The bodies don't have to collide.

            look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

            by FishOutofWater on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 01:03:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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