Exposing PseudoAstronomy

September 12, 2013

Podcast Episode 86: Was Mars Murdered?

Is it evidence for Mars
Having been murdered?

This is another classic-form episode. I state the claim, go through background info, and when you understand the background information, the claim falls away. It’s also just a tad over 30 minutes, returning to my roughly average length.

I had to cut out extra parts this time because I’m a bit bogged down with work. I have about half a $million in grants due next Friday and I’m having a party the day after, so I’m a tad busy and also the next episode might be slightly delayed (like this).

The most important announcement I made is that I’ll be interviewing Robin Canup on October 4 for the 89th episode on October 11. It will be about lunar formation and remaining problems and whether (as Bob Novella I think wrongly claimed) the “Big Splash” model is dead because of various mineral abundances in different locations. We’ll see what she says. If you want to have input on what she says – or more, what I ask – feel free to recommend questions for me to ask her. Please keep them very narrowly focused on lunar formation: She’s a very busy person and I don’t know how much of her time I’ll be able to take.


  1. One thing that I’d like to know, his data is from the 1976 Viking mission. Surely some of the other Mars missions have scanned the components of the atmosphere since. So the obvious question is “do the more recent studies still show the anomalous xenon ratios the Viking mission did?” I mean, if not, there’s nothing to explain in the first place.

    Comment by David Johnsond — September 12, 2013 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

    • I was wondering that, too, but I did not see any. I suppose I could look through the instrument suites of the landers and see if any had mass spectrometers for atmospheric sampling, but I didn’t think of that last night.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 12, 2013 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  2. Good episode, I learned a few things I had not known about (Namely that some forms of Plutonium are still naturally found on Earth which must give the ‘Natural is harmless’ people fourty fits…)

    Enjoyed the discussion of the Oklo reactors, would have liked a bit more background on Brandenberg though.

    Comment by Graham — September 14, 2013 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  3. As always, a good and informative episode. Would you ever consider doing something on Van Flandern’s claims about like the T-shaped dune (I think that’s what it is) and trees on Mars, etc.?

    Comment by Julian Janssen — September 17, 2013 @ 4:58 am | Reply

    • Just if you’re interested in Van Flandern’s claims, the metaresearch website has some of his interesting photos on… http://www.metaresearch.org/solar%20system/cydonia/asom/artifact_html/default.htm
      I’d personally be most interested in discussion on the T-dune, as I said, the alleged vegetation and maybe the long crater next to the “dune” and the so-called hexagonal crater. I think these may be good jumping off points for some good science…

      Comment by Julian Janssen — September 17, 2013 @ 5:23 am | Reply

    • Trees on Mars, perhaps in the future. I don’t see the “T-dune” you mentioned. For the “hexagonal crater,” I’d need to see the original image. These people have such a well documented history of doctoring photos to “correct” them that I don’t trust any photo on their site and need to see the original.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — October 5, 2013 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  4. I’m surprised you didn’t explain his scientific background, since Brandenburg clearly attempted an argument from authority in the clip; and you almost commented on it by talking about how he kind of sounds scientific. If you explained his background in a previous episode I don’t remember, but one here (as a refresher at least) would have been great.

    Also, count me in for a Melbourne meet up. I’ll make sure to bring some chocolate, perhaps in ice cream form as it will be excruciatingly hot and humid by then! šŸ™‚

    Comment by Flip — September 21, 2013 @ 12:25 am | Reply

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