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The researchers also state that another problem with this scenario is the altitude. Auroras over Mars in this region have been observed up to km, only half the height of the features. The Martian atmosphere at km is exceedingly tenuous and the production of persistent and very bright aurora at such an altitude seems highly improbable. The duration of the plumes — March 12th to 23rd, eleven days after which observations of the area ended and April 6th to 16th — is also a problem for this explanation. Auroral arcs on Earth are capable of persisting for hours.

Over Mars, there is no equivalent capacitive storage of particles. Concentrated solar high energy streams persisting for this long are unheard of. The second explanation assessed by the astronomers is dust or ice crystals lofted to this high altitude.


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Again the altitude is the big issue. Martian dust storms will routinely lift dust to 60 km, still only one-third the height of the plumes.

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Martian dust devils will lift particles to 20 km. However, it is this second explanation involving ice crystals — Carbon Dioxide and Water — that the researchers give the most credence. In either instance, the particles must be concentrated and their reflectivity must account for the total brightness of the plumes. Ice crystals would be more easily transported to these heights, and also would be most highly reflective.

The paper also considered the shape of the plumes.

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The remarkable quality of modern amateur astrophotography cannot be overemphasized. Also the duration of the plumes was considered. By local noon and thereafter they were not observed. Again, the capabilities tendered by ground-based observations were unique and could not be duplicated by the present set of instruments orbiting Mars. Of the many ground observations, the researchers utilized two sets from the venerable astrophotographers Don Parker and Daiman Peach.

While observations and measurements were limited, the researchers analysis was exhaustive and included modeling assuming CO2, Water and dust particles. The researchers did find a Hubble observation from that compared favorably with the events and likewise modeled that event for comparison. However, Hubble results provided a single observation and the height estimate could not be narrowly constrained. Explanation of these events in are left open-ended by the research paper. Additional observations are clearly necessary. Amateur astronomer photographs curious cloud on Mars, AstroBob, March 22, EST Feb 14].

And certainly, I love Mars! Heart-shaped feature in Arabia Terra on Mars at The bright heart shaped feature is about 1 kilometer 0. Arabia Terra lies in the northern hemisphere of Mars. The tip of the heart lies above a small impact crater centered at When the impact occurred, darker material on the surface was blown away, and brighter material beneath it was revealed. Some of this brighter material appears to have flowed further downslope to form the heart shape, as the small impact occurred on the blanket of material ejected from a much larger impact crater.

It arrived at Mars and studied the planet for 10 years, until it broke down in , and controllers on Earth lost contact with it. But while it was operating, the spacecraft took thousands of images, and made some major discoveries about Mars. Mars Global Surveyor was launched on November 7, , and made its orbital insertion on September 11, It used a technique called aerobraking to reduce its orbit and bring it into an orbit that brought it to an average distance of km from the surface of Mars.

It circled the planet in a polar orbit once every minutes, which allowed it to photograph the entire Martian surface. These instruments allowed the spacecraft to study the atmosphere and surface composition of Mars. But it also sent back the highest resolution photographs ever seen of Mars. Americans are addicted to hope. We think the world is infinitely malleable and that with enough pluck and elbow grease anything is possible. We believe that everything and everyone can be redeemed, that the movie will always end with the hero walking away from the wreckage or the town cheering.

We believe in conversions and getting a new life. We scoff at the ancient Stoic lesson that recognizing limits and living within them is the key to happiness.

Limits are undemocratic, reality a construct. And tomorrow is another day. We bring the same attitude to politics.

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That and a very short memory. We spend the next two years stewing and blaming Washington and the media, encouraged to do so by Washington and the media.


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  6. And then, as the debates and primaries and conventions come round again, we forget all that and convince ourselves that this time the messiah really is coming. We are a nation of children. Barack Obama understood the power of hope — he campaigned on it. Even Bill Clinton, who ran as the man from Hope, did not have the audacity to present himself as the man heading for Hope.

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    It appears that Obama genuinely believed his own rhetoric. But once elected, Obama did what grown-up politicians do: He got to work. He learned and talked to experts; he read documents and stayed up late. He was responsible.

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    For this, he was punished. He raised expectations he could not meet, which just infuriated the kids, who kept pouting until Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders offered them ice cream. Even Shepard Fairey, the artist who designed his famous hope campaign poster, abandoned Obama for Sanders. When, he wonders, will they ever grow up? The answer is never. Because we treat bowing to reality as a punishable offense, we are stuck in this cycle. There is no exit. Once an anxious friend who read his stories asked him whether he thought there was any hope in the world at all.

    Under the radar, they and their donor group poured money into races all over the country. Many of the ugly lies and slurs you see now were first trotted out in those midterm races. The single most important item the Koch network has obstructed is congressional action on climate change. They and their allies represent the combined force of the fossil-fuel industry, and they have funded contrarian science that denies the reality of climate change.

    By spending strategically, they successfully killed efforts to put a price on carbon pollution — the so-called cap-and-trade bill — as well as many other efforts to help the country move toward alternative energy.

    The president told the New York Times recently that climate change is the most terrifying issue we face. The story of the economy in the Obama years is in many ways a tale of loose money. Back in the grim autumn of , Chair Ben Bernanke took the most important weapon in his arsenal, the Fed-funds target rate, and slashed it all the way to zero — an unprecedented move and a clear signal of just how seriously he was taking the economic emergency.

    That move, along with three rounds of so-called quantitative easing, or QE, where the Fed pumped money into the financial markets by buying bonds, constituted the biggest and mightiest monetary-policy experiment ever undertaken: an unorthodox attempt by the Fed, along with other leading central banks, to prevent the collapse of the global economy. There was one minuscule rate hike, of one-quarter of one percent, in December The effects of ZIRP and QE were wide-ranging and mostly felt in the prices of financial assets, like stocks, bonds, and real estate.

    For financial investors, the Obama years turned out exceptionally well. But really they have the central bank to thank, much more than the president.