Tag Archives: Mars

Sunrise, Blood Moon and Mars


Here is a gratuitous photo of a lovely red sunrise, in lieu of a decent picture of the recent Blood Moon.

We had crystal clear skies last Friday night here in Cape Town and a perfect view of the whole eclipse and subsequent Blood Moon.

Blood Moon 1

I did take a few photos, but my little Canon camera wasn’t quite up to the task.

What do you mean, you can’t see anything?

Blood Moon 2

Above is the Blood Moon and below is Mars.


Though people the world over were witnessing the same event, here in Cape Town we saw the Earth’s shadow creeping across the moon from the opposite direction to those of you in the north.

And when you think just how far away the Moon and Mars are, I think it is amazing that my little old Canon managed to capture anything at all!


post script: This is just a fun post. There will be many excellent captures of the eclipse out there online for those who are interested in actually seeing what went on!



Is there Life on Mars?

Untouched Sunrise in the Western Cape

Untouched Sunrise in the Western Cape

If you stood on Mars and looked up, the Martian sky might look something like this: without the skyline of course!

Mars has a thin atmosphere, made up mostly of carbon dioxide. There are also lots of iron oxide dust particles, all of which contribute to the sky appearing a bright orange/red during the day.

So, Is there life on Mars?

I’d like to think that, if not now, then once upon a time, long, long ago, maybe something lived there.

After all, we are still finding new life, albeit microbes, surviving as extremophiles, in the most inhospitable places, here on Earth.

These life forms can be found:

– deep under the sea in the Mariana Trench

– in lakes of sulphuric acid

– in lava vents of volcanoes

– in boiling acid springs

– in Antarctica, half a mile under the ice, in the dark and extreme cold

– in radioactive waste disposal sites

Some bacterial spores have been found that are 40 million years old. They are still viable. Let me just repeat that. They are still viable! Basically, they’re immortal!

You can read more about extremophiles here:  one two three four

So yeah, maybe there is life on Mars. But would we recognise it when we saw it?

It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it!


For the definitive answer to the question, “Is there life on Mars?” let us ask David Bowie.


post script: The Mars theme might seem topical, after the movie and the book, ‘The Martian’ by Andrew Weir, (which I read in December, in 2 days; it was that good!) but I started a draft of this post way back in June 2014!

Why has it taken me so long to finish the post? Well, I like to get all my facts straight and it takes time to find appropriate links. Mostly, I keep my posts short, so they don’t take so long.

Why do I bother, you ask, since hardly anyone ever clicks on the links?

I do it for myself. I like my posts to be the best they can be. I want the facts there at a click, for when I read this again sometime. And you never know, someone else might have the interest and time to read them too.