Inexplicable puffs of gas
February 19, 2015 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Bizarre martian plumes discovered by amateur astronomers -- I favor H.G. Wells' explanation: "Why the shots ceased after the tenth no one on earth has attempted to explain. It may be the gases of the firing caused the Martians inconvenience. Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth as little grey, fluctuating patches, spread through the clearness of the planet's atmosphere and obscured its more familiar features."

From the Orson Welles Mercury Theater radio script:

"PHILLIPS: Then you're quite convinced as a scientist that living intelligence as we know it does not exist on Mars?

PIERSON: I'd say the chances against it are a thousand to one.

PHILLIPS: And yet how do you account for those gas eruptions occurring on the surface of the planet at regular intervals?

PIERSON: Mr. Phillips, I cannot account for it.
posted by 0rison (28 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I prefer the Jeff Wayne version myself.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:25 AM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Could it be volcanic? They didn't even mention that as a possibility in the article.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:25 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I prefer the Jeff Wayne version myself.

Thanks for that. It usually takes about six months for that song to clear out of my head.

Which, I guess, means I'll still be humming it when then arrive.
posted by popcassady at 9:39 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Quaid....Quaid... Start the reactor.... Free Mars---"
posted by entropicamericana at 9:50 AM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Could it be volcanic? They didn't even mention that as a possibility in the article.
Volcanism on Mars may not be over yet. Though Mars is pretty small, not much bigger than the moon.
posted by Bee'sWing at 9:59 AM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Could it be volcanic? They didn't even mention that as a possibility in the article.

I am under the impression that Mars is believed to no longer have any tectonic activity. But wouldn't it be interesting if that were false?
posted by Jpfed at 10:00 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The audio of the Orson Well's 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast is well worth a listen. You can download it from http://www.mercurytheatre.info/
posted by Triplanetary at 10:09 AM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


This finding is so awesome, I hope there's something interesting behind all this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:13 AM on February 19, 2015


Ulla!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 10:13 AM on February 19, 2015


Phil Plait talked about this the other day. There are a couple of theories he had that could be interesting--dust storms, auroras.

Oddly, he pointed out that even though Mars is populated entirely by robots (a phrase I never tire of typing), they're all too close to really observe what's going on.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:19 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I suspect it has something to do with an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.
posted by mazola at 10:20 AM on February 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


I am semi-regularly arguing with some friends on Facebook about Mars One being a scam (they believe it could be real) so I'm not going to mention this, it'll just fuel their fire.
posted by emjaybee at 10:20 AM on February 19, 2015


Ugh, Mars One. Call me when you actually have a spaceship. I think it's 'real' in the sense that that Randian boat paradise from a few years ago was real - they think it's totally doable, but they're completely unqualified to actually pull it off.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:25 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am semi-regularly arguing with some friends on Facebook about Mars One being a scam

Has anyone theorized that the Mars One thing might just turn out to be a set-up for an elaborate reality-type prank show, wherein a group of unwitting volunteers will be locked away for a year in an underground bunker equipped with a super-realistic space flight simulator and dozens of hidden cameras that will allow us 24/7 access to all of their petty dramas, hookups, and mental/emotional breakdowns?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:36 AM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oddly, he pointed out that even though Mars is populated entirely by robots (a phrase I never tire of typing), they're all too close to really observe what's going on.

Mars Needs More Robots!

Actually, I think humanity is adding about 3-4 more by 2020. I guess Mars is where all the cool robots hangout.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:37 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seems like if it were a large impact, the plume wouldn't have lasted so long, so one assumes some continuous source of material being ejected skywards. Volcanism seems probable, but I'm barely a high school graduate. Pretty interesting stuff.

That, or maybe the robots have had enough, & they're coming home to exact a vengeance heretofore unseen on planet Earth.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:39 AM on February 19, 2015


It marks the failure of the John Carter movie that nobody has gone for any Thark jokes.
posted by maxsparber at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Translator Unit: All green of skin.. 800 centuries ago, their bodily fluids include the birth of half-breeds. For the fundamental truth self-determination of the cosmos, for dark is the suede that mows like a harvest...
General Decker: What the hell does that mean?
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:41 AM on February 19, 2015


It's just that Shadow ship having a nightmare. It'll fall into a deeper sleep for the next 200 years or so.
posted by stevis23 at 10:50 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I prefer the Jeff Wayne version myself.

I prefer my first exposure -- the Classics Illustrated version.
posted by Rash at 11:19 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I talked to an astronomer friend of mine the other day and he reassured me that probability that this indicates an imminent martian invasion is very very low. A million to one, he said, before breaking into a 6 minute prog-rock instrumental break.
posted by AndrewStephens at 11:19 AM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


But still they come.
posted by Gungho at 11:23 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


...no one on earth has attempted to explain.

Earthlings have changed a lot, it seems.
posted by Segundus at 11:26 AM on February 19, 2015


No-one would have believed, in the first years of the twenty first century, that martian affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No-one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinized, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few martians even considered the possibility of life on other planets. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded Mars with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us…

-- Excerpted from "Before Robots came to Mars"
posted by TheLittlePrince at 11:32 AM on February 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oooooooooooolllaaaaaaaaa!
posted by sourwookie at 11:57 AM on February 19, 2015


"No-one would have believed, in the first years of the twenty first century, that martian affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space..."

That's great. I'm pissed that I didn't think of that.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:27 PM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thing the blue guys finally have set off their nukes. Look for refugees soon.
posted by mule98J at 10:15 AM on February 20, 2015


Mark Watney is sending smoke signals.
posted by caphector at 10:28 AM on February 20, 2015


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