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Mr. Bill versus NASA

written by Bill Clark on July 30, 2003 | contact me
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The Cabinet Room of the White
The Cabinet Room of the White
A United States Senate committee is investigating the veracity of the many theories posed by the scientific community that the "water wash" patterns on the surface of Mars are caused by - alas, water! Cut to this live coverage of the hearings . .

That's correct, Senator Rock. We do believe there was once a huge volume of water on the surface of Mars.

You base this on what you know of Earth geology, am I right?

A rock's a rock's a rock.

You be careful, now, Mr. OoRoo!

That's SooRoo . er, dammit I mean Sulu.

As I was saying, you based this here notion of yours on Earth gravity, did you now?

That's irrelevant to the subject at hand, Sir! We are discussing basic geological principles, not gravitational constants.

Mars is 1/10th the mass of Earth, eh what?

Well, yes. But I don't think. .

Small planet has thin atmosphere, eh? Lucky to have any atmosphere at all, however thin - our moon has none.


So is it not correct to say that there would be a steady dissipation of the atmosphere - a steady loss to deep space of air and water vapor from this here atmosphere, however thin? You know, like - Mars has ultra thin air, Earth's moon has none?

Sure, we know that.

That if we ever colonize Mars, once we thicken up the atmosphere to trap some heat on the surface to make a nice greenhouse for the colonists; won't it be anecessary to have a mechanism to constantly replenish the atmosphere as long as we remain on Mars?

Yes, that makes sense.

Consequently, in ages past, any water on the red planet would quickly evaporate to support this ultra thin atmosphere. Is that not so?

That's right.

How then could there ever have been a huge volume of water on Mars. . . . Mister OoRoo?

Well, I; er . . Sir

. . . and not just a huge volume of water, but a huge volume of water for AEONS - long enough to carve all these pretty little water wash patterns of your'n?

We think . . .

Shut up, you numbskull!

Er - hmm?

You want this here committee to fund any more of your scotch tape fantasies about looking for water on Mars or the moon or even Central Texas, you better come up with some sensible answers - and pronto!

But many scientists. .

I said sensible, not scientific! Understand? I don't want no more of this weird science, ya'll hear?

But dozens of papers have been published, proving that water exists on Mars!

Say what? Perhaps we'll have a little chat with some of the authors - you think that's aussieble?

Uh, er - your honor, I wrote..

You wrote! You WROTE! YOU WROTE one of these blimey technical reports?

S..several, Sir.

Well, God Save the Queen. You in deep boo-boo, son.

Senator Rock, I can explain. .

How the hell you come up with such a cross eyed theory, Mista OoRoo?

Don't blame . .

Let me see if I get this right. You pulled a NASAmi! You used Earth units for gravity and not Martian units in your calculations? Eh? M.. maybe so. I'll have to check. Check? Isn't it a wee bit late to check, mate?

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