Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mike Bara, utterly delusional on Mars water

        As every reader of this outpost of the blogosphere surely knows, NASA staged a major announcement yesterday confirming that recurring slope lineae (RSLs) on the walls of Martian craters, and the slopes of some Martian  mountains, are indeed caused by recent flows of brine, as has long been thought. The visual evidence has been apparent at least since 1999. The difference now is that the CRISM spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has added solid chemistry to dynamic seasonal morphology. Craters where RSLs were studied included Gari, Horowitz and Newton.

Time-lapse animated gif of RSLs in crater Newton (released Aug.2011)

        A couple of days before the formal announcement, when inspection of the list of speakers was an obvious spoiler, Mike Bara was already screaming on Twitter: "NASA is trying to steal my work ... from 15 years ago!"

        Last night, on Jimmy Church's internet radio show Fade to Black, Bara went into full delusional hypermind. Church asked him "how did you feel about the way that it was presented?"

127:45 Bara: "They're telling us now what people like me, and people that listen to shows like this, knew 15 years ago. Which is that that there's water on Mars -- these dark slope streaks that you see coming down the insides of craters, and off mountain tops and stuff, are liquid water. Quite honestly, I was I think the first person in the world that said that's what it was, and this is the reasons why, and basically it was really gratifying on the one hand to read these articles on space.com and stuff basically confirming everything that I published along with my co-workers.. you know, 15 years ago. There's a certain gratification in being confirmed like that but... on the other hand it's really aggravating. Because, you realize that you're going to be swept aside or swept under the rug with "NASA now says this is true so now you can believe it" It's really kind of annoying. I'm trying not to let my ego get the better of me here, but it's really annoying sometimes to read my Facebook, and all thse people "Ooohhh, there's water on Mars!" They're my FB friends and I'm like "Do you folks not read my books? Why are we FB friends if you don't know what I do and why do we constantly have to fight? Why do we have to fight for the spotlight when we were first?"

131:28 Bara: "..the alternative researchers, the people on the outside, have been right all along. Tonight we should stick a feather in our cap and say "We won this one. Because we've turned out to be right and all of the NASA supporters really have turned out to be wrong." Because NASA's finally come around to the truth doesn't mean they were ever right about this -- they've been wrong all along.
  Yes, folks, you read that right.

      He didn't exactly specify when and in what medium he made this historic announcement, but since he named the date as 2001, and since he also mentioned Effrain Palermo as a co-worker, it's a safe bet that he was referring to the long web page authored by Richard Hoagland and himself, A New Model of Mars as a Captured Satellite -- often referred to as "The Mars Tidal Model" and reviewed by this blog passim.

The real history
        Well, let's see. The dark streaking on Martian slopes shown by the camera of Mars Global Surveyor was noticed by authors Lori K. Fenton et al. in September 1998, just short of a year after MGS arrived at Mars. They published in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 30, p.1054 a paper beginning:
"The narrow angle MOC images from MGS show dozens of examples of dark streaks on Martian hillsides that may be indicative of fluid flow."
        Fenton et al. allowed that water was not the only possible explanation for what they observed. The most formal proposal that slope streaks were likely to be caused by recent running water was announced on 22 June 2000, and published in the 30 June issue of Science. The features of interest in that study were at Terra Sirenum and Centauri Montes — and the authors had waited a whole Martian year before making the announcement, so they could compare the terrain through the seasonal cycle and establish that the appearance of streaks coincided with warm weather. In other words, they had been tracking this phenomenon since March 1999. This was NASA,note 1 and the data was from Mars Global Surveyor.

        On 19 July 2000, a month after the NASA announcement, Richard Hoagland issued a press release on slope streaks he had observed in Frame SP2-33806 from MGS. The location was the Eastern edge of Terra Arabia. Hoagland also claimed prior work in social media yesterday, proclaiming "I saw it first!" on the basis of this web page, although the fact that, in the press release,  he specifically refers to the previous month's announcement by NASA makes him into a liar out of his own keyboard.note 2

        The Mars Tidal Model essay is not precisely dated but it seems to be from almost a year later. It does include images of slope streaks  (not at all the same thing as RSLs, as Stuart Robbins has pointed out on his blog), but it does not describe the formation of brine and does not, of course, include the chemical data from CRISM which has only very recently become available.

       I don't mean to imply that Bara & Hoagland should be somehow prevented from telling these horrible self-serving lies. I believe in freedom of speech. I just think they deserve to be mocked for it. As long and as hard as possible.

[1] Although actually the authors of record were Michael Malin and Kenneth Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems. The paper was "Evidence for Recent Groundwater Seepage and Surface Runoff on Mars" Science 288 (5475): 2330–2335. 

[2] I'm told he also stated on his own digital radio show last night "There are no craters on Mars." 


Anonymous said...

"Ridley Scott: 'I knew there was water months ago'... Sign of the times (utterly delusional) that your blog is the only mention of Hoagland, and not by Bara. With friends like these....


purpleivan said...

Bara "There are no craters on Mars."

Hmmm... well there are craters on earth. Highly eroded craters, but craters nevertheless.

I guess mars must just be special in somehow being immune to impacts. Some form of alien defense shield no doubt, presumably powered by hyperdimensional physics/positive thought/wave of the hand.


expat said...

Ivan: That was Hogaland, not Bara. Thanks for the comment.

Chris Lopes said...

I would think that Percival Lowell would have bragging rights on this one. :-)

expat said...

Lori Fenton added a useful comment on her blog today. She made the same point as Stuart Robbins did -- that there's a big difference between slope streaks and RSLs. In fact, she now says of the slope streaks she published on in 1998 "They’re likely dust avalanches that might be triggered by the wind or sublimation of ice in the spring, but there’s no good evidence they’re wet."

I liked this bit:
"This guy Bara couldn’t have seen RSLs 15 years ago – we didn’t have the image resolution, let alone the seasonal coverage, to see them. In addition, we didn’t have high resolution spectra to identify the presence of minerals formed by water until just now. That data simply didn’t exist."

expat said...

It occurs to me now that Lori Fenton's opinion on the dark slope streaks must apply equally to Richard Hoagland's "press release" image from July 2000. In other words, his famous "discovery" of water on Mars is probably just a dust avalanche.


Anonymous said...

What is that completely overhyped announcement of water on Mars anyway?!? Making a big deal out of something really trivial in respect to other things......highly suspect! I wouldn't be at all surprised if this blown out proportion announcement by NASA, if at all true, turns out to be just another political scam to further the Climate-gate...oooh sorry..climate change agenda. Something like...."...Mars died because of climate change...blablabla....we need to take action now...blablabla..."

No...I wouldn't be at all surprised.


expat said...

This HiRISE frame contains both RSLs and a very big dark slope streak. Note that the caption is definite that the dark streak is not water. It looks a lot like Hoagland's "discovery".

purpleivan said...

"Ivan: That was Hogaland, not Bara"

Oops, I misread that part of the piece.

Thanks for correcting my mistake, it's important to keep the facts straight.