In 1976, the Viking 1 orbiter took a picture of a feature on Mars that had the appearance of a human face. Some people went from “It looks like a human face; isn’t that interesting” to “It must have been constructed by aliens!”
In 2001, the NASA Mars Global Surveyer took better resolution images of the feature, showing clearly that it is indeed a natural feature. However, the “face on Mars” people dismissed this as a cover-up or conspiracy.
An even better image has just been released, taken by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter. I’m convinced that this is natural. Some people will never be convinced.
Viking 1 image, 1976, NASA (The “Face on Mars” is upper center)
Mars Global Surveyer, 2001, NASA
Mars Express, 2006, ESA
Grace and Peace
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has published an article on global temperature change. Here is the abstract:
Global surface temperature has increased ~0.2°C per decade in the past 30 years, similar to the warming rate predicted in the 1980s in initial global climate model simulations with transient greenhouse gas changes. Warming is larger in the Western Equatorial Pacific than in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific over the past century, and we suggest that the increased West-East temperature gradient may have increased the likelihood of strong El Niños, such as those of 1983 and 1998. Comparison of measured sea surface temperatures in the Western Pacific with paleoclimate data suggests that this critical ocean region, and probably the planet as a whole, is approximately as warm now as at the Holocene maximum and within ~1°C of the maximum temperature of the past million years. We conclude that global warming of more than ~1°C, relative to 2000, will constitute “dangerous” climate change as judged from likely effects on sea level and extermination of species.
To summarize this even further:
- The Earth’s temperature has increased by 0.6°C (about 1°F) in 30 years.
- Warming of the Pacific is occurring in such a way to make strong El Niños more frequent.
- The Earth’s temperature is as warm as it has been any time in the past 1,000,000 years.
- Continued warming will bring the Earth’s temperature up to levels that existed in the Pliocene (prior to the Pleistocene, in which the Earth has experienced periodic extensive glaciations).
- Global warming of 2-3°C would bring temperatures to Pliocene levels, when sea level was on the order of 25 m (80 feet) higher than they are today. [note: the report does not suggest this order of sea level rise in the coming century].
Many conservatives dismiss this as a bunch of baloney. I haven’t made a decision yet, but the seriousness of the topic mandates an intense effort of study by Christians in a variety of scientific disciplines.
Grace and Peace