UFO Buster Radio News – 302: LIVE Thursday Freak Out – Pareidolia Insects on Mars and SpaceX Starship Down
An entomologist at the University of Ohio announced that he’s discovered evidence of insect life on Mars. The scientist in question is Professor Emeritus William Romoser, a specialist in arbovirology and general/medical entomology. According to Professor Romoser, the evidence is in plain view, easily seen in internet images from Martian rovers.
A press release from Ohio University states that Romoser has spent years examining images from Mars. He’s found insect-like forms that are similar to bees, and also reptile-like forms, in both fossil and living form. Professor Romoser presented his evidence at the November 19th national meeting of the Entomological Society of America.
This work has not been published in any peer-reviewed scientific journal.
“There has been and still is life on Mars,” Romoser said in a press release. “There is apparent diversity among the Martian insect-like fauna which display many features similar to Terran insects that are interpreted as advanced groups – for example, the presence of wings, wing flexion, agile gliding/flight, and variously structured leg elements.”
According to Romoser, a number of photos show clear forms of life, even though Curiosity is investigating things in a much more incremental, rigorous way.
At the end of the press release, Professor Emeritus Romoser is quoted: “The evidence of life on Mars presented here provides a strong basis for many additional important biological as well as social and political questions. It also represents a solid justification for further study.”
But this “evidence” is also a strong basis for reminding us what pareidolia is, how it works, and how, without vigorous scientific fail-safes, it can lead us into a world of premature conclusions.
SpaceX has lost its first Starship prototype—is this a big deal?
On Wednesday afternoon, SpaceX loaded nitrogen into a prototype version of its Starship vehicle. The exercise, at the company’s facilities near Boca Chica Beach in South Texas, represented the first significant pressurization test of the vehicle fuel tanks.
About halfway during the process, however, some sort of failure occurred as the top bulkhead of the vehicle broke apart and went flying away. This was followed by a large, white cloud of smoke and vapor emanating from the interior of the vehicle, which eventually cleared to reveal a dented, but still shiny Starship. This was the same vehicle the company revealed in late September.
SpaceX sought to play down the accident, noting this was a “max” pressurization test to stress the system. No one was hurt, the company said, and it was not a serious setback in the development of the ambitious vehicle. The company’s founder and lead technical designer, Elon Musk, later said on Twitter that this prototype had “some value as a manufacturing pathfinder,” but that the flight design of the vehicle would be “quite different.”
The nomenclature SpaceX uses is “Mark,” as in the vehicle the that was severely damaged Wednesday was Mark 1, with Mark 2 being built in Florida, and work already beginning on Mark 3 in Texas. It is possible this “Mark 3” vehicle will fly into orbit sometime in 2020.
This “fail early, fail forward” strategy allows a company to move more quickly and improve its design along the way. It also results in public failures, such as the all-explodey rocket Wednesday. This cannot exactly strengthen customer confidence in Starship, but given that failures are baked into the development process, it does not diminish Starship’s overall prospects.
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