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Category Archives: Mars

My Favorite Martian Image: the Ridges of ‘South Stah’ NASA’s Mars Exploration Program – NASA Mars Exploration

Posted: October 15, 2021 at 9:11 pm

NASAs Perseverance rover captures a geologic feature with details that offer clues to the areas mysterious past.

Ask any space explorer, and theyll have a favorite photograph or two from their mission. For Jorge Nez, an astrobiologist and planetary scientist working on the science team of NASAs Perseverance rover, one of his current favorites is a rovers-eye panorama of the South Stah region of Mars Jezero Crater. Exploring the geologic unit was among the major objectives of the teams first science campaign because it may contain some of the deepest, and potentially oldest, rocks in the giant crater.

Just like any excited tourist approaching the end of a major road trip, we stopped at a lookout to get a first view of our destination, said Nez, who is based at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. This panorama is spectacular because you feel like you are there. It shows not only the incredible scale of the area, but also all the exploration possibilities South Stah has to offer. With multiple intriguing rocky outcrops and ridgelines, each one is seemingly better than the last. If its not a field geologists dream, its pretty close.

Composed of 84 individual enhanced-color images that were later stitched together, the mosaic was taken on Sept. 12 (the 201st Martian day, or sol, of the mission) by the Mastcam-Z camera system as the rover was parked on an elevated overlook just outside its entry point into South Stah. Perseverance had just completed a record 190-yard (175-meter) drive the previous sol.

The mosaic was taken at the highest magnification and stretched to allow subtle color differences in the rocks and soil to be visible to the naked eye. Left of center and halfway up the image are the gray, darker gray, and Swiss-coffee-colored rocky outcrops of the ridge nicknamed Faillefeu (after a medieval abbey in the French Alps). The distinctly thin, at times tilted layering evident in several of Faillefeus rocks would have been high on the science teams list of things to explore, because tilted layering suggests the possibility of tectonic activity. But similar features along with other compelling geology were visible on another ridgeline that the missions science team opted to explore instead.

The Martre Ridge (named after a commune in southeastern France) is like Faillefeu except three times as big. It contains not only low-lying flat rocks near the base of the ridge, but also rocky outcrops with thin layering at the base and massive caprocks near and at the ridges peak. The caprocks are usually made of harder, more resistant material than those stacked below them, suggesting potential differences in how the material was deposited.

Another cool thing about this image is that one can also see in the background, on the right, the path Perseverance took as it made its way to South Stah, said Nez. And finally, there is the peak of Santa Cruz far in the distance. Were currently not planning on going there; its too far out of our way. But it is geologically interesting, reinforcing just how much great stuff the team gets to pick and choose from here at Jezero. It also looks cool.

More About Perseverance

A key objective for Perseverances mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planets geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASAs Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance: and

DC AgleJet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,

Karen Fox / Alana JohnsonNASA Headquarters, Washington301-286-6284 / /

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My Favorite Martian Image: the Ridges of 'South Stah' NASA's Mars Exploration Program - NASA Mars Exploration

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Mars Pet Nutrition Held the First Pet-themed Activation of the Beijing Citizen Consumption Season, Advocating Ending Pet Homelessness in China through…

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Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 3:27 AM MDT|Updated: 15 hours ago

BEIJING, Oct. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- On September 30th, Mars Pet Nutrition China (Mars PN China) and Beijing Radio and Television (BRTV) co-hosted the first pet-themed activation of the 9th Beijing Citizen Consumption Season, a Beijing Municipal government-sponsored program.

At the event, Mars PN China has presented a pet-friendly fair, pet adoption fair, and the Ceremony of Better Cities for Pets, partnering with BRTV, Capital Animal Welfare Association (CAWA), COFCO Commercial Real-Estate. The event was greatly welcomed by the crowd.

During the ceremony, Mars PN China Volunteers Champion Program was officially established, committing to helping homeless pets and pet adoption. 40 dogs and cats from rescuers and shelters were posted up for adoption by Mars volunteers at the fair. New pet parents who were carefully vetted, were presented a Mars Care Package to welcome their new pet home. Both Mars PN China and the CAWA shared pet care and pet rescue knowledge onsite.

11 pet-friendly stores at COFCO Shopping Center from well-known consumer brands, such as Starbucks, ECCO, Baker&Spice, Evisu, etc., were acknowledged by the Mars Better Cities for Pets Program and BRTV during the ceremony.

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SOURCE Mars Pet Nutrition China

The above press release was provided courtesy of PRNewswire. The views, opinions and statements in the press release are not endorsed by Gray Media Group nor do they necessarily state or reflect those of Gray Media Group, Inc.

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How Mars data from UAEs Hope probe will benefit the science community – The National

Posted: at 9:11 pm

Scientists and amateur astronomers are benefitting from the treasure trove of data the UAEs Hope probe has collected from Mars.

Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre released 110 gigabytes of raw data to the public last week, with new sets to be published every three months.

Researchers are hoping to reveal more secrets about Mars mysterious atmosphere by using the data, including how the escape of gases such as oxygen is stripping away the planets atmosphere.

Some of the latest findings showed dramatic variations in the concentrations of both atomic oxygen and carbon monoxide were present.

Scientists are now trying to understand what this could mean for the planets atmosphere.

The team is working to understand what has driven these structures to appear to be this way, Hessa Al Matroushi, the science lead of the Emirates Mars Mission, told The National.

Theyre refining the models that we're using to align them with what we see within the data.

That's the role of every mission that we get. The circulation models are trying to capture what the data tells us, and the Mars mission is getting a unique perspective, so thats an opportunity for us to try and compare and update our understanding of whats happening in the Martian atmosphere.

A picture taken by the Hope probe for the spring season in the northern part of Mars. Photo: Dubai Media Office

Unique observations of how gases interact with each other and affect solar radiation have been possible because of the spacecrafts elliptical orbit.

Previous missions were much closer to the planetary surface, limiting observations to short periods and only certain areas of the planet.

Dr Dimitra Atri, a research scientist at the New York University in Abu Dhabi, is using Hopes data to complete a research paper he hopes to publish.

He has been studying data from Nasas Maven mission and Europes Mars Express mission to research hydrogen and oxygen in Mars atmosphere, and how the planets liquid water disappeared.

Data from the Hope orbiter has helped fill in the gaps in Dr Atris research, in the area of how solar radiation interacts with the Martian atmosphere.

It is important to understand how radiation affects Mars, because strong solar winds stripped away its atmosphere in the early solar system and made the planet inhabitable.

Each mission has its own area where its good, but has limitations. You only get a partial picture of a planet from these missions, but Hope is much further away and it is going to add to what we know so far, he told The National.

Well be combining the data from the Maven and Mars Express missions, but Hope will give us a more in-depth understanding of not only aurora, but also how radiation interactions with Mars atmosphere.

The auroras on Mars are different from the one on Earth. There are three types - proton, diffuse and discrete because of the lack of a global magnetic field and localised crustal magnetic fields in the southern hemisphere.

The UAE's spacecraft has taken the most detailed pictures of the discrete auroras to help scientists understand them better.

Apart from building research, the data from the spacecraft is also allowing space enthusiasts like Dr Atri and amateur astronomers to create stunning images of the planet.

A stunning view of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons of the solar system. Dr Dimitra Atri, a research scientist at the New York University in Abu Dhabi, processed this image. Photo: Hope Mars mission / Dr Dimitra Atri

Stuart Atkinson, an amateur astronomer in the UK, has processed some of the raw data from Hopes exploration imager instrument a high-resolution camera to create images.

I love the black and white image I made showing a crescent Mars and the huge Olympus Mons volcano close to the terminator, he told The National.

I made that by stacking multiple images taken through different filters and then sharpened and enhanced it, but left it black and white because I love the starkness of it.

I'm also very pleased with the colour image I made showing the Mariner Valley - Valles Marineris - and its neighbouring volcanoes. That's how I imagine Mars would look if I was flying towards it in a spaceship, at the end of my six-month journey from Earth.

Mr Atkinson said free data helps people feel as if they are part of the mission.

He has worked with images taken by every Mars rover and orbiter, as well as spacecraft that went to Saturn, Jupiter, the Rosetta comet and Pluto.

I really love how we now have huge galleries of images freely available online, often posted just hours after they were taken, he said.

Some missions don't do that though, and still only release an image now and then, which is a shame and counter-productive because it makes the mission invisible to the public.

I believe every mission that goes to a planet or body should release at least a few images every week, to allow people to feel part of the mission.

Dr Hamad Al Marzooqi, project manager of the Emirates Lunar Mission at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Updated: October 13th 2021, 5:19 AM

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Mars isn’t just red, and these new images prove its ‘glowing’ beauty – TweakTown

Posted: at 9:11 pm

Mars is known for its barren wastelands and fine red sand, but that isn't all the planet has to offer, and new images released by a Mars orbiter proves that.


While known as the Red Planet, Mars offers more beauty than one might expect, and recently released images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showcase a multitude of colors that can be found throughout the surface. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used the incredible HiRISE camera that it's equipped with to capture high-resolution images of the diverse nature of Mars' surface.

The HiRISE camera took images of the Kaiser Crater, which has a large number of giant dunes inside of it that have a variety of subsurface minerals that have eroded down the sides of the dunes. According to the team behind the images, "Some of these gullies produce a variety of colors that are highlighted on the west-facing (illuminated) slopes, where the gullies appear to be glowing in the winter light." The images found in this article are just some of what was taken. To view the full selection of images, check out this link here.

Jak Connor

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest news. Jak's love for technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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Mars isn't just red, and these new images prove its 'glowing' beauty - TweakTown

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IMPD investigates deadly shooting on southwest side – WTHR

Posted: at 9:11 pm

Officers were called on a report of a person shot at 2841 Foltz Street shortly after 1 a.m.

INDIANAPOLIS IMPD homicide detectives are investigating an early morning shooting that left a man dead in the Mars Hill neighborhood Thursday.

Officers were called on a report of a person shot at 2841 Foltz Street shortly afer 1 a.m. They found a man who appeared to be shot and medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Family members identified the man killed as 29-year-old Jonathan Means.

The coroner ruled the death a homicide.

Police at the scene told 13News a suspect left the area and eluded police, who set up a perimeter and K9 officers began searching for the suspect.

The location is just north of Troy Avenue and west of Holt Road.

Police believe the shooting is an isolated incident with no threat to the public.

Nobody else was hurt by the shooting.

Detectives are looking for houses with security cameras in the area and talking to witnesses who may have information that could lead to an arrest.

Anyone with information about the shooting should contact Sergeant Michael Duke at the IMPD homicide office at 317.327.3475 or e-mail him at Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317.262.8477 or (TIPS).

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Man murdered outside his Mars Hill home marks the 8th homicide in 3 days in Indy – Fox 59

Posted: at 9:11 pm

INDIANAPOLIS An Indianapolis man was gunned down outside his own home on Indys west side.

The overnight killing continues what has been a remarkably violent week in the Circle City.

The deadly shooting in the 2800 block of Foltz Street marked the 8th homicide in the last two days and the 20th killing in 14 days this month.

That also reflects a violent trend the city saw at the same time last year.

Witnesses in Mars Hill said they heard an argument followed by a single gunshot overnight.

Those neighbors reported seeing several people run away from the scene while the victim died in the front yard.

Its just terrible for all us mothers who are losing our children to this gun violence, said Eliane Reveria.

Elaine doesnt know the man killed on Foltz street and police havent released a motive for that murder, but Elaine does know the pain his family is feeling.

Her son, 32-year-old Juan Reveria, was murdered just over one year ago on Oct. 4, 2020.

I will never be the same because Juan was my everything. He was my everything, said Reveria.

Juan and two others James Upshaw and Shanya Jones were shot and killed last October while standing in line outside the front door of a nightclub in the 5400 block of Massachusetts Avenue.

That triple homicide remains unsolved to this day, leading to a lot of sleepless nights.

I cant sleep because it hurts me so bad for my son to be murdered, said Reveria.

With 31 total homicides reported, last October was the deadliest month of 2020.

A year later, this October is on pace to claim even more lives.

Its a horrible feeling for a mother to lose her children, said Reveria. Put the guns down. Stop all the killing. Please, I beg you all.

The 31 homicides last October is the second deadliest month in recent history, surpassed only by the 33 homicides from July of this year.

Anyone with information about the Foltz incident should contact Sergeant Michael Duke at the IMPD Homicide Office at (317) 327-3475 or e-mail him at

Anyone with information on the triple shooting on Oct. 4, 2020, can contact IMPDs homicide office or Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.

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Mars families at odds over plans to build gas station near high school, middle school – WPXI Pittsburgh

Posted: at 9:11 pm

MARS, Pa. Plans for a gas station to be built next to the Mars senior high school and middle school have parents aggravated.

Leaders are considering building either a GetGo or a Sheetz. The Sheetz could be built on one side of Route 228, but some parents told Channel 11 theyre worried about beer being sold so close to a school.

As for the GetGo, it could be built across the street where there are currently soccer fields.

The president of the Mars Area Soccer Club, Aaron Wollerton, said his group cant afford to lose those fields.

This season, the Mars Area Soccer Club has the largest enrollment we ever had in our 35 year history which is tremendous. But theres already a need for additional athletic facilities in our community and all of our youth sports leagues are already cramped. Things are in the works but property around here is expensive and it takes years to develop a playable field, Wollerton said.

Adams Township Manager Gary Peaco said the Board of Supervisors denied the GetGo late last month, but the company could appeal the decision. As for the Sheetz, the board is expected to make a decision on those plans later this month.

Other parents said theyre concerned about a gas station causing traffic issues on Route 228, especially in the morning and afternoon during arrival and dismissal.

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Mars helicopter Ingenuity aborted latest flight attempt because of anomaly –

Posted: October 3, 2021 at 2:18 am

NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity didn't get off the ground as planned earlier this month.

Ingenuity was scheduled to make its 14th Red Planet sortie on Sept. 18, a relatively short and simple hop that would have demonstrated the little chopper's ability to fly with slightly higher rotor speeds 2,700 revolutions per minute (RPM) rather than the usual 2,537 RPM.

The mission team is making this adjustment to deal with the Martian atmosphere, which is thinning out slightly as the seasons change on the floor of the Red Planet's Jezero Crater, Jaakko Karras, Ingenuity deputy operations lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, wrote in an update Tuesday (Sept. 28).

Related: Watch NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity explore intriguing Raised Ridges

Ingenuity performed a high-speed rotation test on Sept. 15, spinning its blades at 2,800 RPM for a spell while it remained on the ground. Everything went well, paving the way for the Sept. 18 flight. But the 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) chopper did not end up taking off that day.

"Here's what happened: Ingenuity detected an anomaly in two of the small flight-control servo motors (or simply 'servos') during its automatic pre-flight checkout and did exactly what it was supposed to do: It canceled the flight," Karras wrote.

Ingenuity has six servos, three for each of its two rotors. The little motors adjust the pitch of the rotors, allowing the chopper to control its orientation and position during flight.

"The servo motors are much smaller than the motors that spin the rotors, but they do a tremendous amount of work and are critical to stable, controlled flight," Karras wrote.

Analysis of the Sept. 18 preflight test has shown that two of Ingenuity's servos oscillated slightly during the "servo wiggle" checkout. The team is still trying to determine the cause, but it may be due to increasing wear in the servo gearboxes and linkages, Karras wrote. (Ingenuity is a technology demonstrator that was originally supposed to make just five flights on the Red Planet.)

Ingenuity passed two additional servo wiggle tests on Sept. 21 and Sept. 23, however, "so the issue isnt entirely repeatable," Karras wrote. "We have a number of tools available for working through the anomaly, and we're optimistic that we'll get past it and back to flying again soon."

But orbital dynamics will keep Ingenuity grounded for a couple more weeks at least. Mars is now in "solar conjunction," meaning it's on the other side of the sun from Earth. Our star can corrupt and otherwise interfere with communications sent between the two planets, so NASA has stopped sending commands to Ingenuity and its other Red Planet robots including Ingenuity's much larger partner, the Perseverance rover until mid-October, when Mars will come more clearly into view.

"Ingenuity will not be completely idle during this time, however; Ingenuity and Perseverance will be configured to keep each other company by communicating roughly once a week, with Ingenuity sending basic system health information to its base station on Perseverance," Karras wrote. "We will receive this data on Earth once we come out of conjunction, and will learn how Ingenuity performs over an extended period of relative inactivity on Mars. See you on the other side of conjunction!"

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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Sharing Many of the Same Flaws as its Subject ‘The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill’ Podcast Puts Blame Anywhere But Where It Belongs – Religion Dispatches

Posted: at 2:18 am

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, a Christianity Today podcast hosted by Mike Cosper, begins with the queryWho Killed Mars Hill? This first episode ends by answering its own question, we all did it, upending the true crime genre its title suggests. There are no cliffhangers or clues, but an episode-by-episode autopsy of a dead-on-arrival corpse that represents more than a single body.

This is hardly an isolated phenomenon Cosper notes, Why do we keep doing this? Why are we regularly platforming people whose charisma outpaces their character and who leave devastation in their wake? Something attracts us, we buy in, and then we watch the collapse like spectators at a demolition derby. Understanding why this happens is really the purpose of this whole podcast. Compelling as it sounds, there are problems with this framing, if the goal is to truly understand a broader phenomenon within the evangelical church writ large.

First, the question that serves as the opening episodes title suggests that Driscoll is no longer on the evangelical scene, when in fact the disgraced founder and lead pastor of Mars Hill continues to be platformed and preach. He regularly blogged on Patheos from 2017-2020, speaks at Christian events around the country, appears as a guest on secular shows such as Steven Crowders Ash Wednesday, and leads The Trinity Church, in Scottsdale, Arizona, which he founded in 2016. Trinity is now also beset by scandal over the same abuses in authority and control that led to Driscolls retirement from Mars Hill at the end of 2014. According to recent accounts his paranoia has intensified, not abated, to the detriment of many Trinity congregants whove come forward to tell their stories.

Second, the podcast begins with a question that implies blame and preemptively answers us. The aim to inspire broad introspection while directly pointing at listeners isnt exactly the ideal set up to shine a light on and closely examine the theology, organizations, networks, platforms, and leaders that specifically enabled, defended, funded, published, and profited from the perpetual controversies Driscoll purposefully fomented to generate publicity, concentrate power, and reinforce his authority to great harm.

By contrast my book, Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscolls Evangelical Empire, is based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork at Mars Hills headquarters in Seattle from 2006-2008; the analysis of a deluge of teaching and media content; reams of blog material produced by the church and its critics; Christian and secular publications by and about Driscoll; and interviews with former members and leaders as the church formally dissolved. My examination serves as a case study that speaks to socioeconomic conditions, theological abuses, and authoritarian tactics that supersede a single church.

After all of this research on Driscoll and Mars Hill, I know mimicry when I see and hear it; and the graphics, music, and method of storytelling that shape the narrative and experience of the podcast are clearly produced by someone familiar with the milieu in which Driscoll accrued followers and celebrity, while cultivating and capitalizing on its ethos (with some help from the blueprint my book provides, without crediting me beyond the two episodesFour and Fivein which I briefly appear and Biblical Porn is mentioned in passing).

Whereas my book chapters connect the dots between Driscolls preaching and leadership style, the churchs visual and digital culture, members testimonies to spiritual and emotional abuse, and events and scandals in descriptive detail, Cospers podcast lacks this flow and comprehensive analysis and often goes on unrelated tangents that distract rather than inform (e.g., comparisons to The Exorcist in Episode Eight or Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight in Episode Nine). But you dont have to dig too deeply into Cospers background to get a sense of why he may not be the most reliable narrator for this particular story.

The podcast works the listener like Driscoll worked a crowd

Cosper was a worship leader at Sojourn, a church in Louisville, Kentucky, which adopted the same Christian counter-cultural style and GenX-indie atmosphere as Mars Hill, went multi-site, and was affiliated with the church planting network that Driscoll co-founded, Acts29, before starting their own. Cosper asks his audience why we platform and attach to leaders, becoming acolytes of and serving personalities whose charisma outpaces their character, when in fact he has first-hand experience in doing so himself in the case of Sojourns Daniel Montgomery, who resigned from his position as lead pastor as Driscoll did his at Mars Hill, after issues were raised concerning his leadership.

The better way to frame a podcast whose aim is to imagine and enact cultural transformation for the sake of healthier ministry is: what structures and systems produce and perpetuate such idolatry to begin withwho profits from this platforming and the attachments that they cultivate, and how is their power reproduced? In this way, the critical lens of the podcast shifts its focus, from charismatic individuals and the positing of collective blame for their swift yet celebrated rise in popularity and subsequent dramatic falls, to substantive change for the better.

Tellingly, charisma is frequently attributed to Driscoll and taken for granted as a spiritual and secular value throughout the podcast, a presumed God-given gift of communication bestowed specifically on white male leaders. Of course Cosper, who is himself a product of the subculture that produced Driscoll, fails to interrogate this core concept in any meaningful way. A more productive approach would be to examine charisma itself as a manufactured commodity whose value must be reinforced by the labor of local congregants and online followers.

Charisma is a term repeatedly used in relation to Driscoll, particularly in Episode SixThe Brandbut theres no discussion of the work done to prop up and promote this charisma by the throngs of volunteers who provided free labor by serving the church as team members in worship; technology; media production; marketing and publicity; community groups; childrens ministry; womens ministry; mens ministry; security; building maintenance; facility multiplication; and hours spent outside of formal church service in a variety of ways and roles. None of the exploited labor extracted to support the seemingly natural, godly gifts of Driscoll is discussed at any length or with any depth in the podcast. Instead, charisma is assumed as a known quantity and supernatural quality bestowed by God and possessed by select, unique individualsa blessing and a curse, according to the podcasts narrative.

White male leaders in Driscolls orbit during the churchs rise and fallthose who enabled and capitalized on his appeal and popularityare never questioned about their culpability with relation to the question, who killed Mars Hill? Instead, these men are provided yet another platform to take advantage of Driscolls name and their association with him, as their own celebrity, authority, and status within evangelicalism is showcased throughout interview segments and audio clips.

Rather than admit any guilt or remorse concerning their contributions to the theological, cultural, political, and economic systems that allowed Driscoll to thrive in the face of so much harm, these men extol his gifts. Tony Jones of Emergent Village admits to the clickbait Driscolls name provided, funneling traffic to his blog; in the case of others, such as John Piper or Timothy Keller, they are unquestioned and tacitly given the chance to dodge any responsibility.

The title of the podcasts inaugural episode struck me as an odd choice because it plays off the true-crime genre that contributed to popularizing podcasts, drawing audience numbers up and generating social media buzz. Why use language like kill, suggesting a crime had happened, rather than control, authoritarianism, and/or megalomania? As The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill climbed the Apple charts, clocking in at number three on August 12, 2021, behind number one, True Crime, and number two, The Daily by the New York Times, this ranking was celebrated by fans who made note of the podcasts popularity nationwide with pride, repeatedly commenting with admiration on its production value and the quality of its long-form journalism. Reading these reviews, I had a bad case of deja vu. As one of my friends, a former member of Mars Hill, sardonically texted, I mean, the podcast is well made, and very successful, so clearly Gods doing something!!!

The fact that the podcasts many adoring fans dont see the irony in fawning over a Christianity Today product for its marketing metrics and emotional pull, when the episodes are meant to investigate how these very same factors contributed to the real-life rise and fall of Mars Hill, means that the podcast by design sublimates self-awareness. Its true that some have found the podcast helpful to work through their own issues with church communities and spiritual trauma or see it as a useful cautionary tale. Nevertheless, the podcast pulls punches when it comes to conveying the extent to which Driscoll instrumentalized language as a weapon and abused leadership strategies bolstered by the very complementarian theology to which many of the white male evangelical experts interviewed on the podcast still ascribe.

By not sharing certain detailssuch as Driscolls posts under the William Wallace II pseudonym complaining that the nation had become pussified, which could have been supplied in the podcast notes if Cosper (understandably) were reluctant to read them aloudthe vitriolic impact of Driscolls misogynistic, homophobic, violent, combative posture in language is lost and drowned out by other content, such as the much lauded soundtrack. The only risks taken by the podcast are the inclusion of any material at all on Driscolls preaching on sex and its abusive effects, and the inclusion of academic experts who also happen to be women such as Kristin Kobes Du Mez and myself (automatic turn-offs for evangelicals who consider themselves the gatekeepers of biblical authority).

The podcasts catchy opening tune and priming of mood through narrative hooks works the crowd in the way that Driscoll did, creating a buzz out of controversy to the extent that it loses sight of its purported aimhealthy, substantive change in evangelical church culture and practices. Such transformation would require more truth-telling on the part of the enablers, apologists, and organizations, including Christianity Today, that elevated Driscolls brand name for profit despite the endless stream of scandals that he orchestrated to tangible harm.

Still, the guy saved a lotta souls

In 2007, the year that a pastor was fired for questioning changes that would ultimately lead to the concentration of Driscolls power (Episode 7State of Emergency), Christianity Today published a glowing account of Mars Hills rise authored by Collin Hansen, who would later write the book Young, Restless, and Reformed (2008) detailing the Neo-Calvinist movement led by evangelical elder statesmen such as John Piper, D.A. Carson, and Timothy Keller. Hansen now serves as the Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief of The Gospel Coalition, a publishing network founded by Keller and Carson in 2005 that would give Driscoll a national platform among established leaders, along with the gravitas of their blessing and seeming mentorship.

Hansens Christianity Today profile of Driscoll, Pastor Provocateur, starts with the premise that love him or hate him, Driscoll is bringing people to Jesus in one of the least-churched cities in the United States. This line is taken straight from Driscolls playbook, a claim that he would repeat often and loudly to pre-empt and drown out criticism of his misogynistic, homophobic, racist language on online forums such as the Leadership Network website or his Mars Hill blog. Hansens CT profile was published after two well-publicized controversies over Driscoll posts in 2006 that go unmentioned or are breezed over in the Rise and Fall podcast but that are covered at length in my book.

First, Driscoll wrote a rebuttal in Christianity Todays now defunct sister publication, Leadership Journal, to an article on the homosexual question by Brian McLaren, a vocal figure in what was then called the emergent conversation. Tellingly, evidence of Driscolls full response to McLaren has been scrubbed and edited (including, apparently, by Christianity Today), but I learned from early on in my research on Mars Hill that it was important to copy text and download media before it was erased or made more palatable later. Driscolls post has been edited for length below, but you can find a relatively intact version of it on the Wayback Machine here:

Well, it seems that Brian McLaren and the Emergent crowd are emerging into homo-evangelicals. Before I begin my rant, let me first defend myselfI planted a church in my 20s in one of Americas least churched cities where the gay pride parade is much bigger than the march for JesusI am myself a devoted heterosexual male lesbian who has been in a monogamous marriage with my high school sweetheart since I was 21 and personally know the pain of being a marginalized sexual minority as a male lesbian.

And now the rant.

For me, the concern started when McLaren the February 7, 2005 issue of Time Magazine said, Asked at a conference last spring what he thought about gay marriage, Brian McLaren replied, You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that theres no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side. Sadly, by failing to answer, McLaren was unwilling to say what the Bible says and in so doing really hurt Gods feelings and broke his heart.

Then, Brians Tonto Doug Pagitt, an old acquaintance of mine, wrote the following in a book he and I both contributed to called Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches edited by Robert Webber and due out this spring:

The question of humanity is inexorably linked to sexuality and genderChristianity will be impotent to lead a conversation on sexuality and gender if we do not boldly integrate our current understandings of humanity with our theology. This will require us to not only draw new conclusions about sexuality but will force [sic] to consider new ways of being sexual.

Although I am unsure exactly what Doug meant by this last statement for safetys sake I would strongly recommend that all farmers, particularly those surrounding Minneapolis, lock up their sheep at night effective immediately.

Gimlet-eyed readers who followed the link may have noticed that they couldnt locate this last, most puerile sentence. It was removed, according to the editor, in order to keep the conversation focused and on topic. It would appear that ignoring the depths of Driscolls depravity is a pastime with a past.

Indeed, Hansens CT article makes nothing but passing reference to Driscolls theological conflict with McLaren and Pagitt. The CT profile, like the podcast, describes Driscoll emulating comedians like Chris Rock; his tone is dismissed as that of a smart-aleck former frat boy, a sharp tongue used in sermons and books as his bad boy reputation serves to spread the gospel. Hansen represents Driscolls split with the Leadership Network as amicable by quoting praise from Emergent Villages Tony Jones, who spoke highly of Driscolls leadership gifts, although he hadnt spoken to him in five years:

He is uncommonly intelligent. He is uncommonly articulate and humorous. He could have been a stand-up comedian. He could have been a great actor probably.

In the CT profile, as in the podcast, Driscolls humor is counted as one of the talents contributing to his charisma, simultaneously signaling his intelligence and appeal (at least to straight white Christian men). Looking at Driscolls rant against McLaren and Pagitt one can see that this humor isnt reducible to sarcasm, but weaponized to create controversy using homophobic, racist language that dehumanizes. Driscoll feels that there is and justifies picking fights based on the growth of his church in one of the least-churched cities in the nation. Yes, Driscoll later apologized to McLaren, but he never repented or changedanother abusive pattern that would be repeated year after year.

Hansen also breezes over Driscolls blog post on Ted Haggards fall that led to the first protest organized outside of Mars Hill in the fall of 2006, affording him the opportunity to say that he failed to articulate his point well, which then stands unquestioned: Christians should not have a false sense of security about their spouses fidelity. As I discuss at length in my book and was able to state in the podcast, this burden was not directed at husbands but at women, to great detriment. Once again, to stop the protest at the final hour, Driscoll apologized.

Towards the end of Episode One of the podcast, Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, makes the case that the Internet is to blame for elevating pastors to megachurch-celebrity status before their character is ready:

Theres a body count of young pastors whose ability rose them to prominence before their character was ready for it. Mark was and is a remarkably gifted person, and in some ways Mark was the first Internet age megachurch celebrity pastor and leading number one podcasts, number one sermon downloads, those kinds of things. So what that did is, elevated Mark to the stratosphere so quickly, whereas you might thinktypically they may take 20-30 years of faithful ministry, but the Internet just propelled things with such rapidity, and the Internet only sees how you speak, thats all the Internet is, its all about verbal articulation so it doesnt say whats your leadership structure, doesnt hold an accountability with the local church, how are we living life on life, and so I think what weve seen since Mars Hill is that there have been others that have been elevated very very quickly and theyve been elevated before their character was ready.

However, as my book points out and the evidence that Ive shared here suggests, Driscolls verbal articulation online should have been alarming to many. Yet those who promoted and capitalized from the controversy Driscoll catalyzed through the digital medium not only agreed in principle with what he said, but they could exploit Driscolls self-proclaimed riot evangelism while maintaining a safe enough distance from the scandals and harm to remain clear of criticism themselves.

No one acknowledges any of this dynamic throughout the podcast, yet its obvious to anyone whos paid attention to Driscolls career and the way that the sycophants around him stood by as the vicious cycle of controversy-apology, controversy-apology, controversy-apology, endlessly continued. Meanwhile, Driscolls combative, controlling behavior and the verbal abuse he clearly and publicly doled out online was ongoing in his church on the ground, adversely impacting his ministry and tangibly harming staff without any oversight or repercussions, because it was too costly to those who profited from his sexist, homophobic, and racist antics, which they were far too often theologically, culturally, and politically aligned with in any case.

The promotional advertising scattered throughout the podcasts episodes ask listeners to subscribe to CT in order to be part of this global movement to lift up the storytellers and sages of the church, as though wisdom and storytelling were one and the same and echoing the rhetoric I would hear Driscoll use when stumping for tithes. The podcast presumes its narrative will cause reflection on the part of listeners, and from the comments Ive seen on social media there has been some, but its also affirming a lot of previously-held convictions and stirring defensiveness.

Unfortunately, those who contributed to the podcast failed to model self-reflection and wisdom in the name of truth and repentance, and those who could have done so were glaringly absent or were represented by heavily curated audio clips or name-drops. The Gospel Coalition and Christianity Today both played vital roles in providing Driscoll the platform, celebrity, and legitimacy necessary to continually apologize before moving on to create yet another scandal in order to inspire more criticism which, in turn, generated more downloads, traffic, and ultimately greater loyalty.

Although reviewers on the Apple podcast site make frequent reference to its NPR-like, high-quality production value, Mars Hill is often criticized for being woke. Apparently, the mere inclusion of non-Christians during interview segments is a problem for this crowd; although I openly identified as a non-Christian on the podcast, I havent heard anyone else refer to themselves as such, so theres no basis for the use of the plural form.

Meanwhile, the invisible and invincible supremacy of whiteness goes unspoken but assumed and unquestioned throughout the podcasts narrative. While the anti-woke crowd crows about anti-white racism, theres no discussion of race or racism at all. Mens voices predominate too, except of course in episodes that cover gender and sex, when womens voices are given more airtime because those are topics that concern women, and yet survivors of abuse are not centered in these discussions.

Episode SixThe Branddirectly follows the episode that tackles Driscolls teachings on sex, but theres no segue into a discussion of how sex was used as a tool of branding, commodified and packaged to accrue publicity and mens service to the church. Instead, Cosper begins the episode with an audio clip of John Pipers seashells sermon at the Passion One-Day Conference in 2000, figuring him as the spiritual father of the Young, Restless, and Reformed. Its inclusion tells a good story about how the desire to do something with your life attracted young men to Neo-Calvinism at the turn of the 21st century.

However, Cosper could have just as easily included audio of Pipers response to the question of whether or not wives should endure abuse in marriage, captured in a video available here, where this member of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and supposed mentor to Mark Driscoll among other young church planters, describes how wives should submit to the verbal and physical abuse of their husbands in support of their biblical headship.

Listening to Piper discuss how women should submit to verbal abuse for a season and to getting smacked, explains how Driscoll was permitted to preach such a spiritually and emotionally harmful theology of gender and sex from the pulpit and for online consumption. Pipers seashells sermon may have catalyzed a Neo-Calvinist revival, but his promotion of complementarianism set up an abusive, authoritarian, heteropatriarchal church culture that took root and played a role in the downfall of many.

As the episode winds down, Collin Hansen defends Timothy Keller, pronouncing him incapable of knowing or understanding the harm of Driscolls teaching and leadership. However, Keller himself alludes to such issues in a New York Times article on Mars Hills demise: [Driscoll] was really importantin the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously. But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationshipswhich he himself has confessed repeatedlywas obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people. By Kellers own admission, he knew what was wrong with Driscolls wielding of authority; he knew there was a pattern of interpersonal violence but implies that it didnt matter over numbers and metrics that attested to growth.

Evangelical identity politics and its imbrication with white supremacy, heteropatriachy, and neoliberalism are intersecting problems in a story that attempts to figure out who killed Mars Hill. The better question is: how do known abusive leaders such as Driscoll get a free pass to continue preaching in the pulpit and through online ministry? Charismatic spiritual fathers who sacrifice the vulnerable, while theologically justifying it as biblical, go about their business. This gaslighting at the scale of population isnt simply harmful to individuals, its a systemic problem for an insatiable evangelical industrial complex that makes new idols out of old and replicates divisive us-versus-them ideologies within and outside of churches. Asking the flagship publication of the evangelical industrial complex to examine itself may yield a slick new product, but it just replicates the same old problems.


Sharing Many of the Same Flaws as its Subject 'The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill' Podcast Puts Blame Anywhere But Where It Belongs - Religion Dispatches

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Valleys on Mars’ Barren Surface Carved by Huge Floods Billions of Years Ago – Newsweek

Posted: at 2:18 am

Massive floods from overflowing and rupturing lakes carved deep chasms into the face of Mars during its ancient history, according to new research.

The research, led by scientists at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, could grant insights into how the now dry network of river valleys formed across the Martian surface.

Published in the journal Nature, the findings indicate that this flooding shaped the Red Planet's geological features up until around 3.5 to 3.7 billion years ago when the planet's liquid water began to disappear.

The authors of the study, including lead author and assistant professor at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences Tim Goudge, said in a UT press release that though the floods lasted just weeks they would erode more sediment than would be needed to completely fill Lake Superior and Lake Ontario.

This means that while river erosion is usually a slow process here on Earth, it proceeded much faster billions of years ago on the Martian surface.

"When you fill [the craters] with water, it's a lot of stored energy there to be released," Goudge said in the press release. "It makes sense that Mars might tip, in this case, toward being shaped by catastrophism more than the Earth."

Water-holding craters were common when Mars had liquid water on its surface and some of these structures on the surface of the planet are large enough to hold a small sea's worth of water

When the water was too much for the craters to hold, they would breach and cause catastrophic flooding carving out river beds. Earlier research published in Geology and also authored by Goudge suggested these flooding events happened rapidly.

One example of such a breach river basin is Loire Vallis, a nearly 435-mile-long channel that is as wide as 62 miles at certain points and is often referred to by scientists as "the Grand Canyon of Mars."

While the idea of flooding on Mars carving out river basins may have been explored in the past, what is new here is the revelation of the global reach such occurrences would have had and the long-term effect on how the surface of Mars looks today.

"If we think about how sediment was being moved across the landscape on ancient Mars, lake breach floods were a really important process globally," said Goudge. "And this is a bit of a surprising result because they've been thought of as one-off anomalies for so long."

The team was able to make this more widescale discovery by using images collected by remote sensing satellites observing Mars which allowed them to study the breached craters.

Although breached lakes had been studied on an individual basis in the past, this was the first time scientists had considered how 234 breached lakes, with a single outlet through which water burst free across Mars, could have worked as a whole to alter the planet's surface.

The researchers found that river valleys formed by crater breaches were significantly deeper than those formed in other forms of water flow. Valleys formed after breaches accounted for about 25 percent of Mars' total river valley volume even though they only account for 3 percent of total valley length.

The team said that the average depth of the breach river valley was around 560 feet, while the depth of valleys formed in other ways was just around 254 feet. This indicates that breach valleys carved out rock and sediment rapidly, while other valleys formed slowly over time.

The formation of river valleys through crater breach could have created canyons deep enough to have had a major knock-on effect on surrounding valleys, too. According to the team, this could mean that the Martian climate had less of an effect on river valley topography across the Red Planet's surface than previously believed.

"It's been known for a while that a few select Martian valleys were formed from lake overflow flooding, but our study is the first global analysis," said paper co-author and Planetary Science Institute research scientist Alexander Morgan in a press release from the organization. "Previous work has argued that differences between valley networks on Mars and river valleys on Earth are evidence that Martian features formed by processes other than surface water, such as groundwater or glacial erosion.

"Our results show that many Martian valleys are in fact more analogous to catastrophic floods on Earth, such as those that shaped the northwest United States at the end of the last glacial period."

Continued here:

Valleys on Mars' Barren Surface Carved by Huge Floods Billions of Years Ago - Newsweek

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