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Blue, Not Red: Did Ancient Mars Look Like This?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the possible-past dept.

Mars 75

astroengine writes "Using elevation data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, software engineer Kevin Gill was inspired to create a virtual version of the red planet with a difference. 'I had been doing similar models of Earth and have seen attempts by others of showing life on Mars, so I figured I'd give it a go,' Gill told Discovery News. 'It was a good way to learn about the planet, be creative and improve the software I was rendering it in.' He included oceans, lakes, clouds and a biosphere — a view of a hypothetical ancient Mars that looks wonderfully like home."

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BS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473201)

It took plants billions of years to evolve. Even if Mars had life, there is no way it had greenery on land. Most likely it was bacteria in the ocean. I'd be surprised if even eukaryotes evolved, not to mention multicellular life.

Re:BS (5, Informative)

Splab (574204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473279)

This is where using 2-3 minutes to read the fine article would have helped you out.

It is a software guy who just wondered what it would look like with earthly features. This is not based on any kind of facts other than the elevations.

Re:BS (3, Informative)

metamarmoset (2728667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473755)

The title is slightly misleading.

It implies that somebody (perhaps the submitter?) thought that the simulation is intended to be accurate.

As parent says - read TFA, it's meant to be a creative exercise.

Also read Kevin Gill's own explaination [google.com] .

Re:BS (1)

Frnknstn (663642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473961)

Jepardy answers, not news headlines: Are Slashdot titles more like them?

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42478211)

This is where using 2-3 minutes to read the fine article would have helped you out.

It is a software guy who just wondered what it would look like with earthly features. This is not based on any kind of facts other than the elevations.

Earth used to be the red planet when there was more Oxygen in the atmosphere.

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473781)

You have 0 clue about evolution or the processes involved in it.

Not to mention that evolution is not a constant speed. Evolution at those times is random and chaotic. Hell, it is practically an insult to call it evolution at those times.
The chance of evolution being always beneficial every mutation is still possible. Just like it is possible for a RNG to spit out a trillion 1s in series, it is still random, just not useful for most uses that we have for RNGs.
Life on our planet had many failures too. Massive failures. Some were environment, some were genetic, and some were warring between species that lead to massive death.

Evolution is not a constant storage device. If a branch of life dies off, so does every single thing that led to it, all those mutations are gone. If all humans died off now, that's it, done, no more species capable of going to space, or building technology. At least not for a few million years, some species related to us show signs of evolving towards a similar intelligence as well.
If the things that evolved eyes were to have died, huge setback, the evolution of eyes was a complex set of mutations that took a long time.
Admittedly we know of at least 2 different eye branches, but that isn't the point.

Earth was heavily bombarded in the early days. Not to mention the chaos our moon caused. (which is both a good and bad thing, but due to the time it lasted, overall bad since it hindered more complex life)
Mars is a much smaller body and is closer to large body, with 2 moons, it may have been more fortunate.
Wouldn't be covered, but it could have been partially covered for a short time.
Mars wouldn't have just suddenly up and died, it would have taken time. Life could have still been around all that time while the planet was dying, quite easily if it was just plants.

Now What About Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473899)

So now what would Earth look like, if it were rendered Mars-style?
(ie. if it were shown to have died a Martian death)

Re:Now What About Earth? (1)

ambisinistral (594774) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474965)

Then it would look a lot like Detroit

Re:BS (1)

jimmetry (1801872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474039)

Yes. Because amino acids inevitably evolve into green photosynthesising plants. The original comment made a bad assumption, but so did you.

Re:BS (1)

physburn (1095481) | about a year and a half ago | (#42475629)

If Mars ever had chlorophyl containing life, it would have left and oxygen atmosphere which Mars hasn't got. The above AC is right Mars went dry after its first billion years or so, probably some time before earth evolved oxygen producing planet life.

---

Planet Mars Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:BS (2)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42476773)

If Mars ever had chlorophyl containing life, it would have left and oxygen atmosphere which Mars hasn't got.

Yes, because Oxygen is non-reactive and couldn't "disappear" into complex molecules.

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42482923)

on the other hand, if evolution is a lie like its being bandied about in certain schools, its entirely possible that God created it to look like this and it got screwed up over time.

"Wonderfully homely" (3, Funny)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473213)

So the typical Martian was one ugly motherfucker, then? "Ain't got time to bleed!"

Props for realizing that a Mars covered with water would be blue, too. Such insight!

Re:"Wonderfully homely" (1)

steviesteveo12 (2755637) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473251)

Yeah, I know. I thought the mountains sticking up out of the atmosphere was very cool, though.

The Shire (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473949)

I think I see the Shire down there

Re:"Wonderfully homely" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42474205)

It's not the water that makes Earth blue, it's the sunlights refraction in the atmosphere. The blue water is just a reflection.
The images assumes an Earth-like atmosphere, both in composition and height.

Re:"Wonderfully homely" (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474321)

It's not the water that makes Earth blue, it's the sunlights refraction in the atmosphere. The blue water is just a reflection. The images assumes an Earth-like atmosphere, both in composition and height.

Er, isn't it the sunlight reflecting off of the water molecules in the air?

Re:"Wonderfully homely" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42474675)

It's not the water that makes Earth blue, it's the sunlights refraction in the atmosphere. The blue water is just a reflection.
The images assumes an Earth-like atmosphere, both in composition and height.

Er, isn't it the sunlight reflecting off of the water molecules in the air?

Short answer - no.
Medium length answer - the sky is "blue" due to the refraction of incoming light and the sensitivity of the different receptors in our eyes.
Long answer - can't be bothered to Google for it. Do it yourself.

Re:"Wonderfully homely" (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474839)

It's not the water that makes Earth blue, it's the sunlights refraction in the atmosphere. The blue water is just a reflection. The images assumes an Earth-like atmosphere, both in composition and height.

Er, isn't it the sunlight reflecting off of the water molecules in the air?

Short answer - no. Medium length answer - the sky is "blue" due to the refraction of incoming light and the sensitivity of the different receptors in our eyes. Long answer - can't be bothered to Google for it. Do it yourself.

Thank you, I broke my google yesterday. Doc says I need to stay off it for a couple days. :')

Re:"Wonderfully homely" (1)

tragedy (27079) | about a year and a half ago | (#42484057)

There's no reason to put "blue" in quotes there. The sky is blue (when it's blue) because of its optical properties. Explaining it in more detail is informative, but doesn't make it not really blue. Same as how a deeper understanding of the electromagnetic forces that bind together atoms and molecules doesn't mean that objects never really "touch" each other, as deep a thought as that may seem when you're eight and you learn some basics of atomic theory.

interesting excercise (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473289)

It is an interesting exercise.
But I notice the renderings show a lot of nicely circular lakes, suggesting meteor impact craters. If Mars at any time had this amount of water and a thicker atmosphere there would likely be less craters and those that did remain would probably have different shapes due to erosion. It would suggest the meteorite impacts happened after the water evaporated and the atmosphere thinned.

Re:interesting excercise (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474461)

. If Mars at any time had this amount of water and a thicker atmosphere there would likely be less craters

No, craters of the size in the images would be caused by bodies big enough that they wouldn't even notice an atmosphere.
 

those that did remain would probably have different shapes due to erosion

No, not really. You can't erode something circular into something that's not circular - that's why we can find impact craters on Earth that are millions of years old.

Um... (2)

muecksteiner (102093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473291)

Call me cynical, but this is pretty much a case of "Look, ma! We got some fancy 3D graphics now!". But it's not particularly interesting or novel from a technical viewpoint - even bad Hollywood movies have more professional graphics than this.

I mean, all he did was slap some Blue Marble textures onto a Martian height field globe. Wo-hoo, score one for physical simulation, and all that. As someone else has said, score one for the realisation that the planet would have been blue, if there had been large amounts of surface water. Wo-hoo! :-)

Now if he had done some actual simulation on where large bodies of surface water have likely existed: seas are sort of obvious, but what about rivers and lakes - these are extremely important for life, due to being sources of fresh water, as opposed to the inevitable salt water in the oceans. That, coupled with a simulation how life could have spread. Parameterised by how advanced the lifeforms are - move a slider from "basically just slime in the ocean" to "higher plants", and watch the green spread into those regions that could sustain it... that would be news. But this? They cover texture mapping and in-painting in computer graphics 101 these days.

That having said, the images *are* pretty, so it's not all bad. :-) Just not that much of news for nerds.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473353)

That having said, the images *are* pretty, so it's not all bad. :-) Just not that much of news for nerds.

But who else would read it?

I will choose to ignore all of the scientific problems and convince myself that mars really looked like that. I like the romance of it.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473361)

Mars might have had water until it lost its magnetic field which caused it to lose its atmosphere. So it might have had ~1 billion years after accretion where liquid water was available in large quantities. Probably far less.

On Earth, life with a nucleus and complex organelles didn't exist until ~2.5 billion years ago and multicellular life didn't exist until ~1.5 billion years ago. Plants didn't come about until ~500 million years ago.

So any realistic simulation would just be a desert continent surrounded by a bacteria soup ocean. Then the ocean starts evaporating and disappearing. Then the entire planet is a desert. Slowly add craters and a couple of lava flows until you get to the present. Simulation over. It is sort of depressing, but really that is the best case. It is also possible that life never existed at all on that planet.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473409)

And the weather, what's that, some randomly/strategically placed clouds? Even Alpha Centauri (the game) has some rudimentary weather system that changes based on a lot of factors (few, compared to reality).

Re:Um... (3, Informative)

LourensV (856614) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473577)

In Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, the northern ocean is filled with fresh water from the molten polar ice cap, while the rivers take up salt from the rocks they flow over, so there are salty rivers flowing into a fresh water ocean. I'm not sure how realistic that is, but it doesn't seem completely illogical.

As artist impressions go, I prefer this one [wikimedia.org] , by Daein Ballard over the one in the article.

Re:Um... (1)

bogjobber (880402) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474473)

seas are sort of obvious, but what about rivers and lakes - these are extremely important for life, due to being sources of fresh water, as opposed to the inevitable salt water in the oceans.

Fresh water is important for terrestrial life. It's not exactly like the oceans on Earth are barren and lifeless.

Fauna (1)

3LP (552899) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473341)

What, no pink unicorns?

Re:Fauna (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473499)

What, no pink unicorns?

They're on the dark side.

Unlikely - mars has always been cold (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473345)

People seem to forget that after its formation the sun was somewhat LESS bright than it is now so Mars would have been even colder in its current orbit. If there ever was large amounts of water on Mars I suspect that it would have spent most of its time locked up as ice sheets with the occasional melting due to impacts. Pretty much the way it is today.

All this warm wet life on mars stuff strikes me as nothing more than wish fulfillment - the same way people used to imagine Venus was a tropical paradise. Until the probes went there and proved those predictions to be some of the worst ever made in astronomical science.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (2)

esldude (1157749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473381)

Yes, I agree. James Lovelock pretty much told NASA why there was no life there back in the 1960's. No need to look for it as it isn't there. Sound, simple principles behind him saying that. Funny, how this fictional idea that there was life on Mars, along with some wishful thinking (I am looking at you Percival Lowell) can get lodged in the minds of so many people. And lead to billions spent on that faulty idea.

Hey, I am all for space exploration, and bothering to go has lead to some good knowledge. But this look for life has gone from "is there life there?" (no), to "were there ever conditions on Mars that could support life?".

But with conditions on Venus, I suppose Mars is the only game in town until we can send something to one of the moons of Jupiter.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473431)

Perhaps you can elaborate here. We know that various forms of life exist in pretty extreme conditions. We know that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere. It appears that Mars once had flowing water. Evidence suggests it had large oceans. What did this guy know that we don't?

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

the biologist (1659443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474515)

He knew that he was right.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42474727)

It's sure looking like he might have been wrong.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474803)

Yes, I agree. James Lovelock pretty much told NASA why there was no life there back in the 1960's. No need to look for it as it isn't there. Sound, simple principles behind him saying that. Funny, how this fictional idea that there was life on Mars, along with some wishful thinking (I am looking at you Percival Lowell) can get lodged in the minds of so many people. And lead to billions spent on that faulty idea.

That's like claiming we should still believe the scientists mentioned by the grandparent who predicted Venus would be a tropical paradise. I.E. you're suggesting we should believe a theory from half a century ago - and discard all the evidence accumulated since.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473387)

I'm no planetary scientist, but I'd imagine this would depend greatly on the atmospheric composition at the time. If it was thick enough, liquid water should have been possible, especially with methane added to the mix.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42475157)

With Mars's lower mass, a "thick enough" atmosphere would have to be made out of heavier elements than what we are familiar with. Unless there was a very significant amount of added mass from the heavy atmosphere, oxygen and nitrogen would drift away a little more slowly than would happen now. The dominant factor that keeps hydrogen in the earth's atmosphere is that it reacts fairly eagerly with multiple other gasses in the atmosphere (most usefully, oxygen).

So significant amounts of water would be unlikely, but it might've had a similar fluid cycle based on heavier elements. I remember reading somewhere that much of the ice on Mars is CO2. It would be a less familiar cycle as CO2 has a tendency to skip the liquid stage entirely, but a "snow, tumble, sumbliminate back to the atmosphere" cycle would provide some erosion.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473479)

There is evidence that Mars once had a reasonable magnetic field so it would have been able to keep an atmosphere by deflecting the solar wind. CO2 and water would act as greenhouse gases, which would come from volcanoes. So it is entirely plausible that at one point the temperature and pressure of the atmosphere allowed liquid water to exist in some places.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473597)

Then we can terraform Mars by introducing greenhouse gasses. Man made global warming over a thousand years, but this time with positive side effects. Though having to observe it might prove to be anti-climatic.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473697)

I'm pretty sure you'd need a magnetic field for the planet first. Otherwise the atmosphere would just be blown away.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473837)

I'm pretty sure you'd need a magnetic field for the planet first. Otherwise the atmosphere would just be blown away.

Sure would. That brings up the 'puzzle' of how we could do that. Hey, no one said this was gonna be 'easy'. Where'd be the fun in that?

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42473989)

Drill a big hole pole to pole, shove an iron bar through it, coil wire around it, and stick the ends in a lemon.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42474051)

Next step: where to find a giant lemon?

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42476195)

Hence the probes going to Phobos. It's kind of shaped like a lemon.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42474093)

This is only a problem if the rate at which the atmosphere is blown away is high. For example, I claim that serving water in a glass is pointless because the water would dry away, and you answer "Sure would".

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474367)

This is only a problem if the rate at which the atmosphere is blown away is high. For example, I claim that serving water in a glass is pointless because the water would dry away, and you answer "Sure would".

Hey, I'm a 'wannabe' nerd. You guys here like to show off your awesome brain matter, so, lets see what you got. As they say in poker, put up or shut up. Mars is going to be your and your kids world to either screw up or create correctly. I mean, even I have my possible answer, but I don't want to 'show my hand' just yet. So, what you got, ac?

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473953)

When Mars still had its atmosphere, it was mostly CO2, so the greenhouse effect could keep it warm enough for liquid water.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

codewarren (927270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474017)

People seem to forget that after its formation the sun was somewhat LESS bright than it is now so Mars would have been even colder in its current orbit.

And some forget that after Mars' own formation it was damn hot (molten, even, for a while) just from the energy of its own formation, just like every other planet. Although only a trace is left today, this would have lasted for some time. So it is incorrect to assume that "less bright sun" equals "colder planet" unless all other things were equal, which they were not.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474163)

Actually Mars might have been warmer, THEN colder. The planets maintained much internal heat left over from creation for millions of years. Mars once had an active core like the Earth still does (the now dead volcanoes on Mars are proof of this). With an active core Mars also once had a magnetic field that protected it's early thicker atmosphere. Mars might once had been a lot warmer and wetter, perhaps long enough for life to evolve there. In fact the early Earth might have been TOO HOT due to still containing much of the heat from it's creation while smaller Mars that was farther from the sun had cooled to the point where life was possible. Then Mars cooled down, the sun wasn't yet warm enough to make up the difference (for Earth it was), and also being smaller Mar's core shut down, the magnetic field died out and the solar wind slowly removed the planet's outer atmosphere. Mars then died. If Mars had been born a larger planet, it might be a twin of Earth today.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474725)

People seem to forget that after its formation the sun was somewhat LESS bright than it is now so Mars would have been even colder in its current orbit. If there ever was large amounts of water on Mars I suspect that it would have spent most of its time locked up as ice sheets with the occasional melting due to impacts. Pretty much the way it is today.

Insolation is only one part of the equation. While the sun may have been less bright, the Martian atmosphere would have been much, much thicker - more than offsetting the reduced insolation. Your suspicion also fails to jibe with the available scientific evidence, which shows Mars wasn't always pretty much the way it is today and that there were once considerable quantities of free flowing water for a long period.
 

All this warm wet life on mars stuff strikes me as nothing more than wish fulfillment - the same way people used to imagine Venus was a tropical paradise. Until the probes went there and proved those predictions to be some of the worst ever made in astronomical science.

You've been misled by decades of bad popular science history and over worshipful space program history. By the early 50's, evidence was already accumulating that Venus was almost certainly much hotter than had previously been theorized. But the scientists of the era that thought Venus was a "tropical paradise" were working with the best information they had. (Unlike you.)

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42475559)

"and that there were once considerable quantities of free flowing water for a long period."

No , there nothings showing it was there for a long period. All the signs of water could have been made by flash floods and lakes that lasted for a few decades at most.

"were working with the best information they had. (Unlike you.)"

Ooo, get you. Careful with that handbag!

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474781)

... now so Mars would have been even colder in its current orbit.
Global warming should tell you that much of a planets temperature is a matter of its atmosphere.
So with a CO2 rich atmosphere nothing speaks against an ancient Mars with free floating water, forests and other life.
Keep in mind: mid day summer temperatures or at the equator on Mars are above zero regularly.

Re:Unlikely - mars has always been cold (1)

infinitelink (963279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42478883)

Thanks for saying so. I was about to add that the damn rock is just too darn cold--not to mention out or reach until we can figure how to create a bigger and more stable electromagnetic field than the one surrounding earth: given size and strength of the dynamo theorized to be inside the earth necessary to generate the one whose benefits we so enjoy, that's a long way off: likely impossible.

Even then, still too cold: I bet chances are better for terraforming the moon.

Blue shift (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473371)

Is it just me, or is that planet getting closer?

Campaign Cartographer (1)

portwojc (201398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473541)

Many years ago the software Campaign Cartographer showed us this picture, of course with old mapping data but it was close.

Also the moon (4, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473681)

I've been (very slowly) doing something a bit similar with the moon --- see here [google.com] --- although differently; I've been trying to render everything and producing ground-level views rather than producing a painted sphere like TFA. (His looks better from a distance. Mine looks better close up.) I've been trying to use procedural texturing and atmospheric effects. The pictures above are rather out of date; rendering your own from SVN will look better.

Unfortunately rendering things the size of planets from very close up runs into big problems with floating point precision. The only renderer I've found which will do it at all is Povray, and even then there are loads of bugs --- volumetric effects for things like clouds is well buggered at this sort of scale. See this picture [twitpic.com] for an example. Plus Povray's is really slow at procedural surfaces.

Right now I really need to start again from scratch using higher-resolution terrain and gravity data from some of the recent lunar probes, and I also probably want to switch to a different renderer which works at higher precision. Any suggestions of a fast raytracer that does procedural isosurfaces, volumetric effects and works at double precision will be gratefully appreciated...

I will also share this test render [twitpic.com] with you, which I think is delightfully surreal...

Re:Also the moon (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474801)

You need to look at Terragen. I'm 100% sure it can do everything you want, but it can render out worlds anywhere between full globes, to inch scale close ups, with a lot of the effects you are looking for, and, if you learn to run it right, you can load in lots of external data light heightmaps and whatnot.

Re:Also the moon (1)

david.given (6740) | about a year and a half ago | (#42475453)

Terragen is commercial, unfortunately.

Re:Also the moon (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about a year and a half ago | (#42477557)

last I checked, they had a free version thats only limit was the size of the final output renders.

Re:Also the moon (1)

david.given (6740) | about a year and a half ago | (#42477647)

Yes, but if it's commercial I can't hack it, which it's basically just not interesting to me. Sorry.

SimEarth? (1)

wadeal (884828) | about a year and a half ago | (#42473699)

I could do the same as this in SimEarth 20 years ago...

It had a pretty accurate height map of the planet it seemed and showed what it would look like terraformed. Maybe not in as super cool graphics but still.

So why does this guy get a Slashdot mention for something I could do at 8?

Re:SimEarth? (1)

meetpi (2776369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474021)

Kees Veenenbos' work is pretty spectacular: http://en.fishki.net/comment.php?id=88754 [fishki.net]

His website [space4case.com] has more, and he's been doing it since 2001.

Always room for beautiful visualisations of the natural world, IMHO. :)

Re:SimEarth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42480073)

Aw, ya beat me to it.

SimEarth was great. Sending down comets, trying to get an all-aquatic civilization to discover fire, getting bored waiting for the next Age and dropping the Monolith on them, spending days nursing along your Insectoid culture only to see them all begin nuking themselves into oblivion.... and that synth-tone alert song that told you something big had finally happened. Man, what a fun game.

pics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42474053)

...or it didnt happen!

Free Mars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42474187)

Free Mars!

No. Standard reply. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42474429)

Well you asked the question in the title, again. Jeez. Tell me something, don't ask me something.

No. (1)

eggstasy (458692) | about a year and a half ago | (#42474525)

It couldn't possibly look that way. Mount Olympus would be smaller or non existent, craters wouldn't have reshaped the terrain as much, and on top of that, it is thought that Mars might have briefly had some plate tectonics. It depends on the time period they want to depict, of course.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42475361)

Splitting hairs eh? I'll split another one for you: the craters and mountains Mars has today would not have been smaller in the past because of erosion.

So what's the logic for the green? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42475277)

Why does everyone always seem to assume that if your planet has water, it has (or could have had) life? Yes, water is necessary for life as we know it, but I'd be curious to know the carbon content of Mars, or the Nitrogen content of Mars. Both elements are plentiful on Earth and not coincidentally woven into our very DNA. There was some pretty complex chemistry going on in Earth prehistory and while it's very likely that similar events probably took place in our Solar System, there are probably very good reasons that life formed on our planet and didn't anywhere else.

Re:So what's the logic for the green? (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42475861)

Because most people are, quite by definition, dumber than the rest.

I see where this is going (-1, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42475845)

Mars has a primarily CO2 atmosphere. Mars is now a dead planet. How long until people start claiming than unless you pay your CO2 tax, the Earth will turn into Mars?

This is the epitome of slashdot (2)

mschuyler (197441) | about a year and a half ago | (#42477885)

Show the nerds a beautiful picture and they'll totally miss the point and dissect it to death. Good thing this is not a beautiful naked woman. They'd be complaining that the angle of the elbow isn't quite right and prove it with a mathematical formula.

Why not? (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about a year and a half ago | (#42477891)

While a lot of people seem to be negative on this project, I think it's pretty damn cool and gives us an idea of what could be. We would need to terraform certainly, and quite possibly restart the core, but why not wonder?

Who knows? Our grandkids could be vacationing on Arsia Mons.

Mars was Eden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42478139)

When Eve and Adam eat the forbidden fruit God cast them out of Mars to Earth. Mars was destroyed

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