Monday, June 9, 2014

The Glass Tubes of Mars Revisited

A couple of days ago I stirred up a bit of a pot by suggesting I'd mop up the floor with the Great Neil deGrasse Tyson in a debate. This all came from a simple meme posting to my Facebook page, responding to one of his latest silly quotes.

The meme was only meant to point out that something isn't true just because people like Neil deGrasse Tyson say it is. In fact, most of what "scientists" have believed to be true at any given snapshot in time has eventually been proven to be false as more information has developed and new discoveries and observations have been made. Somewhere along the line, I guess this got passed around Facebook and some other social media sites and this led some people to respond by attacking me, and saying that I'd get creamed in a debate with the Great NDGT because, well, I'm just that dumb. I responded to one them thusly:

"Trust me, neither you nor NDGT would like to see me debate him. He'd get beat worse than the Broncos in the Super Bowl. And BTW, science is not Truth. Scientific materialism is simply another worldview no different than the religious dogmas it and people like him seek to ridicule."

Quite to my surprise, this response actually stirred up something of a reaction. I guess some of my more psychopathic critics have nothing better to do than monitor my social media pages all day. Anyway, in one Facebook forum, another user sought to disparage me and my Dark Mission co-author Richard Hoagland by claiming that "we" had been proven wrong yet again. He provided a link to a blog by somebody named Lori Fenton, who I guess is some kind of low-level research scientist somewhere.

Anyway, the blog post is titled "Debunking Hoagland’s “Glass Worms” with HiRISE," and claims the following:

"Several years ago, a guy named Richard Hoagland claimed that some parallel linear features on Mars looked like the ridges of a transparent earthworm, calling these things “glass worms”. Phil Plait debunked it nicely, but Hoagland stood his ground. He hasn’t said much about them lately, has he? Here’s why. New images show that, as scientists originally thought, these are nothing more than windblown ripples in the floors of channels, just like the many thousands of ripples seen all over Mars. Go science!" (HiRISE ESP_035634_2160, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

At first, I was excited, because it would be nice to get a good HiRISE look at the "Glass Tunnel" Hoagland had first noted on MGS image M0-400291. To my knowledge, there hasn't been another good image taken of the area since that one. Maybe that's got more to do with why he's had no more to say on the subject than her "new image."

"Glass Tubes"

Of course, in her haste to attack Hoagland, she manages to get pretty much all of it wrong. I was actually not surprised to discover that this dingbat's image not only didn't show Hoagland's Glass Tube, it was actually not taken anywhere near the image in question. Add to that the fact that Hoagland never referred to them as "Glass Worms" (it was Arthur C. Clarke who called them that) and you've pretty much got the trifecta of stupidity by the blogger in question. When a reader called her out on the fact that her image, which she claimed "proved" Hoagland wrong and which she led her readers to believe was the same object--was not even of the same area of Mars, she responded by saying "No, it’s not the same place. It wouldn’t change anything, though."

Not "Glass Tubes."

So I guess this is a good measure of how high the bar is set in the mainstream science community. Call out a NASA opponent using a false comparison and then claim you are the one employing the "scientific method."

Um, right.

Maybe 43-8 is a little less optimistic than I should be...

After some prodding by a reader, Ms. Fenton finally looked up the MRO image for the (in)famous "Glass Tube." She found one, ESP_013137_2190, which it turns out is about the same resolution as Hoagland's original MGS image M0-400291. More importantly, contrary to what Phil "Dr. Phil" Plait claimed in his attack piece, the tubular impression is reinforced by the new image, rather than debunked. His argument comes down to one thing; the tube is not convex, it's concave. Unfortunately the images he presents in his hit piece to support this show it to be convex, as Hoagland has asserted. The new image shows the same thing.

Plait also attempts to explain -- without any supporting evidence -- the brilliant specular reflection now visible in both images as a "contrast artifact," which it most demonstrably is not. In both images, which are taken under almost identical lighting conditions, the bulbous structure at left side of the tube is brilliantly reflective. Simple rocks and sand cannot produce such a reflection. Only glass or possibly water ice can do so. Either way, the explanation of this as a simple dune train is falsified by the new image, which is clearly convex and supports Hoagland's original thesis.

Sand dunes with supports at 90 degree angles?
I'd also love to see the explanation for "sand dunes" that connect with support struts at 90 degree angles to the "dunes," but I kinda doubt I'll get satisfaction on that one either. At least, not from the mainstream crowd.
But I'm open. Send me the pictures anytime guys.

Just FYI, here is the analysis done by the late Dr. Tom van Flandern on the Glass Tubes phenomenon:

"Glassy tubes" on Mars are sand dunes?

I was just pointed to this posting by one "Johnny Danger" exposing the whole sordid history of the Glass Tubes debate with NASA. As usual, NASA's behavior is duplicitous, at the least:

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, very nice of those "sand dunes" to make a rectangular form like that.


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