Advertising
Advertising

MARTIANS: 3 Facts About Mars That Might Surprise You

MARTIANS: 3 Facts About Mars That Might Surprise You

Mars has always been an object of fascination. It is the planet that we Earthlings feel we are most likely to visit and colonize. It has many appealing features – it doesn’t have the choking atmosphere of Venus, and the other plants are completely unsuitable due to their structure or distance from the Sun. For a long time, astronomers were of the opinion that Mars was inhabited. The most recent evidence indicates otherwise, but the Red Planet continues to fascinate us. In this article, we will discuss three of the least-known but most interesting facts about Mars. By no means is this list exhaustive, but it should inspire you to learn more, just as Mars does.

1. Mars has incredibly dangerous weather

Most people know that Mars is a desolate planet composed of red deserts. Mars also has a very thin atmosphere — about one percent the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere. You might expect that this leads to weaker weather, but the opposite is true. The weather on Mars is actually much more dangerous than on Earth. Frequently, gigantic dust storms wrack the entire planet. These are extremely destructive and combine high winds and strong lighting strikes. If there was any life on Mars, then the storms would inflict enormous damage on it.

Advertising

2. Life is an open question

While no scientific evidence has yet been found of life in Mars, that does not mean life is not a possibility. We can certainly rule out any kind of developed civilization, but the recent discovery of liquid, flowing water on Mars during part of the year raises tantalizing questions. Could there be bacteria in or near that water? It is true that life is capable of surviving in extreme conditions, so it will take much more testing to to see if there really us life on Mars. On the one hand, the conditions make in virtually impossible for anything larger than microscopic organisms to survive. On the other hand, we have found microscopic life in the most extreme climates of Earth. One of the biggest concerns is contamination- microscopic life from Earth could hitch a ride on a probe or spacecraft to Mars, spreading foreign life on the Red Planet’s surface.

Advertising

3. A difficult journey

Getting to Mars is very hard. First of all, a manned mission to Mars would require an enormous amount of resources and support, which adds considerably to the difficulty of designing and planning a Mars trip. It takes anywhere from 150 days to 300 days to reach Mars under good conditions. That is a lot of food, water, and air. Some space agencies are attempting to research artificial hibernation as a way to cryogenically freeze astronauts so they need less resources, but this is theoretical. There is also stronger radiation in space outside of a planet’s magnetic sphere, such as the area between Mars and Earth. So a manned trip would need a lot of shielding. There is also little to no research about how a human or humans would fare on a mental level if they are cooped up in a tiny spaceship for nearly a year with no possibility of help. That’s not to mention the fact that while many space missions have tried to reach Mars with probes and unmanned craft, only NASA has succeeded in landing on Mars and not all of its deployments were successful. Even landing satellite communication technology or VSAT equipment has proved to be difficult. So landing humans safely would be a problem with significant risks.

Advertising

These three facts constitute cutting-edge scientific research about Mars and its environment. The bottom line is that while there is no advanced life on Mars, it still holds fascinating secrets and an irresistible attraction for humans. Landing a manned mission on Mars might seem far-fetched right now, but so was the Moon landing at one point. Even unmanned missions send back more and more data each time, so there is scientific value in exploring Mars, even if it is only remotely. While Mars has a certain romantic attraction, it is highly unlikely that anyone living today will have the chance to walk on Mars. That said, the Red Planet will remain one of the most important sources of inspiration for Earthlings who want to explore the universe as deeply and broadly as possible.

Advertising

More by this author

Paisley Hansen

Freelance Writer

8 Things To Expect When You’re 8 Months Pregnant Easy Ways To Freshen Your Home This Winter 3 Tips for Mountain Biking With Your Family smart travel 4 Ways Your Kids Might Get Around in the Future 5 Companies Who Understand That Employees Deserve Recognition

Trending in Science

1 Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science 2 Science Says Screaming Is Good For You 3 Weighted Blanket for Anxiety and Insomnia: How to Make It Work 4 Scientists Discover Why You Should Take Off Your Shoes Before Entering Your Home 5 Science Says Piano Players’ Brains Are Very Different From Everybody Else’s

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

Advertising

Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

Advertising

In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

Advertising

Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

Advertising

In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

Read Next