WATER ON MARS–FIRST REACTIONS

So, NASA announced today that they had found liquid water on Mars.  Flowing liquid water.

Personally, I think this is Mars just being jealous of the Super Blood Moon getting all the attention lately.

Mars is clearly jealous of Earth's water
Mars is clearly jealous of Earth’s water

This is Mars’ not so passive-aggressive way of saying, “Hey, I was red before red was cool.”

Some of you might remember that I predicted we’d find life on Mars in 2014.  That is not looking so outrageous now, is it? (For Mars posts–click here or here).

What does flowing water mean?  At least three things.  One, there might be more water on Mars than in California.  Two, Disney is probably already thinking about a water park.  Three, astronauts can take along Mio and Kool-Aid for their trip.

What are the implications, though, for everyday life?  For starters, the plot for the upcoming movie The Martian may have to be altered.  Now Mark Watley can have a hot tub.  By the way, The Martian is an excellent book, although the language is a little harsh.  I hope the movie doesn’t mess it up.  I just finished reading Starship Troopers and thought to myself, “How cool could the movie have been if they’d just followed the book.”  Here’s hoping Hollywood doesn’t mess up science fiction, again.

How did the water get there?  I speculate that it is where the water from the toilet goes when you flush on a plane.  It lands on Mars.  That means the liquid water on Mars is blue.  Very blue.

Maybe we’ve been putting the water there?  All those space shuttle missions were really missions to stretch a giant water hose to Mars so that we can live there someday.  Where did they get the water for this?  California.

NASA, you say there is water on Mars.  Fine, but is there coffee?  That, is what really matters.  To quote Captain Janeway, “There is coffee in that nebula.”88e6cf329324038e2c142f751f81be1e

If there is water on Mars, does that justify the old thought that there were canals on Mars?  If so, will scientists and astronomers apologize to Giovanni Schiaparelli and Percival Lowel?  

The real problem is that the presence of water does not tell us why Martians hate doves so much.

Water on Mars means we can baptize on Mars.  That means space is ready for Baptists!  It remains to be seen, however, if Baptists are ready for space.

image from telegraph.co.uk and pinterest.com

REVIEWING MY 2014 PREDICTIONS

You can read the original post of my 2014 predictions by clicking here.  Let’s take a look at how I did.

Where I was Really Right!

I predicted the Seattle Seahawks would win the Super Bowl.  I could not have been more right about that, now could I?

I predicted Lady Gaga would disappear, and, indeed, that she has.  Consider this little gem, though, from South by Southwest here in Austin (click here–although, it is not for the weak of stomach).

49590I predicted that Pope Francis would work to build serious bridges with Protestants.  Yeah, nailed it!  For evidence of my rightness, check out the December cover of Christianity Today.

Congress did, as I predicted, pass a budget.  It is just about all they did this year.

Where I Was Somewhat Right

I predicted that ‘subterranean life’ would be discovered on Mars.  That didn’t happen, but just last week it was announced that they found methane and water.  Then, there is this from earlier this year that I have already blogged aboutThis image was taken by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity's Navcam on April 3.

I was sorta right about the Tea Party too.  I predicted it would start a slow decline.  Well, it has.  Sure there are strongholds and they have clout, but the GOP wins in the midterms demonstrates the traditional branch is still in control.

Facebook is still with us, even though I predicted a sharp decline for it.  However, there is little doubt that Facebook has lost the ‘it’ factor.  It is no longer cool with the under 20 crowd.  I think Instagram and Vine have taken over that spot.

Where I Was Completely Wrong

William Snowden did not win the Noble Prize for Peace.  He has, however, passed into culture as something of a hero to many.

Egypt did not revert to a monarchy and Iraq did not detonate a nuclear bomb.  Either one of these things, though, could happen in 2015.  You know its true.

I give myself a C- on my prognostication.  We will see how I do in 2015.

MARS, CANDY, AND DARTH VADER

I am so far behind–digitally that is–because of Christmassssssy stuff.  I have neglected my Twitter, Facebook, and blog far too much.  Sadly, it will likely not get much better until after the new year.  However, today I share three interesting things.

Thing One–Mars

Houston, we have a belch
Houston, we have a belch

Yesterday it was reported that scientists discovered methane on Mars using the rover Curiosity.  Methane is flatulence.  Today it is reported that the same rover also drilled a hole in the ground and found ancient water.  This water is reported to be heavier than earth water.  Heavy water–wouldn’t that be one way of describing beer?  Great–we find life on Mars and it turns out that it is a smelly bar!

In all seriousness, these are both very exciting finds that may prove life exists or existed on Mars.  For my regular readers, you’ll remember I predicted we would discover life on Mars this year.  What I didn’t know is that we would find a drunk old man asking the rover to ‘pull my finger.’

Thing Two–Mom, Why does this candy taste funny?

This morning while eating my oatmeal and biscuit I read what might be the strangest sentence I’ve read in a newspaper (Austin American-Statesman) in a while.  Here it is:

New York real estate heir Robert Durst has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief for exposing himself and urinating on candy at a Houston drug store.

Apparently he didn’t think much of the warheads, so he gave them his own nuclear option, huh?  I suppose it is the store’s fault for not putting up a sign that says “DO NOT WET CANDY.”  Weird, huh.  Apparently this guy is the son of a the man who invented the National Debt Clock.  You want it weirder?  The article went on to say that this son was acquitted of homicide charges ten years ago in Galveston.  Apparently he killed his neighbor, but he didn’t just kill him.  According to the article, he dismembered him.  He said it was self defense.

How did he get off?  Really?  I can see shooting someone, stabbing someone, throwing someone down hard in self defense.  What I can’t see is how do you dismember someone in self defense?  Truth is stranger than fiction.

Thing Three–Darth Vader versus Elf on the Shelf

A friend sent this to me.  I’m still laughing.

Where is your rebel elf base?
Where is your rebel elf base?

WHAT THE DEUCE IS THAT?

Okay, so I think some of you might have seen this picture.  It is from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and it is making the internet rounds.  It was taken by the Mars rover Curiosity.  I posted it on my Twitter and Facebook today.

PAGING RAY BRADBURY
PAGING RAY BRADBURY

Uh, hello.  That is really not supposed to be there, right?

The only two explanations I’ve seen about this is A) It is a light vent or B) It is the glint of a rock.  I’m not sure what a light vent is, but it sounds like a shaft that leads away from a source of light.  Yeah, but that doesn’t really explain the light source now does it?  As to the glint of rock, that is a pretty big rock and it is a pretty refined surface, unlike what the rest of Mars appears to be.

Since neither of those answers are really satisfying, I think we should be free to speculate.  Two interesting observations were made on my Facebook page.  One person suggested that it looked like a distant campfire.  That is exactly what it looks like.  Another person suggested it is the Nephilim in the Old Testament.  That would be very exciting.

I make the following observations.

1.  I predicted back in December that we would find “subterranean life on Mars.”  Don’t believe me--click here to read my 2014 predictions.  I was actually thinking of amoeba kind of life.  I didn’t know we’d find them lit up like Christmas trees.

2.  This may not be actual life on Mars.  It could very well be left over metal or glass from the earlier human populations that traveled the galaxy.  Maybe I’ve been reading too much Asimov lately.

3.  Of course it is hard to tell, but if I look at the picture above from the rover Curiosity long enough, it almost looks like a silhouette walking toward or away from the rover.  By silhouette, I mean maybe a ghost.

4.  Have you ever seen this picture?

It is sometimes called Data's Head.
ENDOR WAS A MOON, RIGHT?

Back in the old days of MySpace I used this as my backdrop photo.  It is a NASA photo from the Moon.  I know that light can play tricks on you, but it sure does look like a head, a mask, or a helmet of some sort, now doesn’t it?  It has been named Data’s Head by some (a reference to a not so great Star Trek TNG episode) but it looks to me more like the real face of Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi.

5.  As a theologian, I just want to remind everyone here that the Scriptures do not guarantee that life only exists on Earth.  In fact, it is only logical to expect life on other planets just as there were humans on other continents.  I actually don’t really believe in intelligent life outside of earth, but I don’t rule the possibility out.  I am, after all, also a writer so things like this are just fun!

6.  Back to the light playing tricks.  I am not a betting man, but I’d be willing to lay down some serious green that the light is some kind of problem with the lens or dust or some kind of particle in the camera, so we shouldn’t get too worked up about it.  Unless of course, we should.

7.  Don’t forget about the other weird Martian pictures, and I’m not even including the famous face on Mars.  Or should I?

A STATUE?  A PERSON?  BIGFOOT?
A STATUE? A PERSON? BIGFOOT?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LIGHT VENT?
A LIGHT VENT?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THERE BE DRAGONS HERE!
THERE BE DRAGONS HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These images are all over the internet, but these particular cut-n-pastes are from, in order, FoxNews, enterprisemission.com, and the huffingtonpost.com

 

 

 

This image was taken by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity's Navcam on April 3.