Canals On Mars: Lowell Revisited

In his book Cosmos, Carl Sagan wrote: “ . . . I have the nagging suspicion that some essential feature of the Martian canal problem still remains undiscovered.”

Canals On Mars: Lowell Revisited is a new book which examines statements about canals made by Carl Sagan, Percival Lowell and others as well as some of the material contained in Lowell’s own book Mars.

The impetus for the book was NASA’s discovery of flowing water on the surface of Mars. It seems inconceivable that such an important feature should have gone undiscovered during fifty years of satellite and rover exploration and yet it was.

The fact that it was makes Sagan’s “nagging suspicion” seem less like suspicion and more like prescience.
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The tug toward artificial gravity: The need to make people more at home in space

André Füzfa a professor of mathematics at the University of Namur in Belgium has developed the mathematical proof that artificial gravity can be created.

A few quotes from his paper published on December 15, 2015 explain his view.

He begins by bemoaning the fact that physicists spend their time studying pre-existing sources of gravitation:

“Somehow, studying gravity is a contemplative activity; . . . Generating artificial gravitational fields, that could be switched on and off at will, is a question captured or left to science-fiction.”

Füzfa turned his attention to Einstein’s equivalence principle which. . .

“. . . states that all types of energy produce and undergo gravitation in the same way.”

While the most common source of gravity is mass, Füzfa reasons that another source of energy, electromagnetic fields could be used to create gravity. Unlike mass which is permanent, electromagnetic fields could be turned controlled:

“. . . electromagnetic fields could be used to generate artificial, or human-made, gravitational fields, that could be switched on or off at will . . . “

Füzfa is saying that physicists can and should do better. We need them to do better if astronauts are going to function at high levels for long space missions.
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