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Old February 12th 15, 08:53   #21
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Re: EpDis: Messages From Earth

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Also, why is anyone touching anything with their bare hands int he middle of Martian winter?
I don't think it is explicitly stated anywhere in the show, but I think JMS has said that they are terraforming Mars, which is why they can get away with breathers and duffle coats rather than spacesuits.You'd have to crash a lot of comets into Mars though to get sufficient water vapour and other gases released to increase the atmospheric pressure significantly.
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Old February 13th 15, 01:54   #22
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Re: EpDis: Messages From Earth

Ah, that makes sense. I wonder if that has something to do with the way that Shadow ship is buried, also. It's buried deeply. How were those deposits formed? Are they volcanic? Or was the ship buried on purpose?

[I realize there probably are no actual explanations for this in the story, just people's assumptions or best guesses. I'd love to hear people's explanations, though ]
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Old February 13th 15, 09:07   #23
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Re: EpDis: Messages From Earth

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Ah, that makes sense. I wonder if that has something to do with the way that Shadow ship is buried, also. It's buried deeply. How were those deposits formed? Are they volcanic? Or was the ship buried on purpose?

[I realize there probably are no actual explanations for this in the story, just people's assumptions or best guesses. I'd love to hear people's explanations, though ]
I think it said somewhere that the Shadow ship was buried 300m down. I find it amusing that the IPX were probably digging it out carefully, then along comes the other Shadow vessel and just blasts it out with its energy beam.

Syria Planum is a volcanic region on Mars, there are several very large shield volcanoes in the vicinity. So the deposits are probably partly volcanic, but also with a lot of deposition from flowing water, as the volcanism would create temperatures warm enough to melt ice and let water flow. We're probably talking about a history dating back three and a half billion years, but presumably the shadow ship has been there less than a million years, maybe just a thousand years since the last war, so any sedimentary deposits would have been messed up when they buried the ship.

The question is, what were they doing so close to Earth? Coincidence?
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Old February 13th 15, 20:36   #24
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Re: EpDis: Messages From Earth

I think Dr. Kirkish says that they assumed, based on depth, that the ship had been there for about 1000 years. If you are familiar with (and really understand) the stratigraphy of the location, you could indeed make a pretty good guess at the time of deposit of an object you have not yet excavated, based on how deep below the surface it is. But, that really only applies to objects that were at surface level at time of deposit, and then became buried over time. If the ship was buried on purpose, it would intrude into much older layers. This would become apparent during excavation, but it doesn't seem like something their "sonic probe" would be able to pick up on.

On the other hand, I think she may have said "AT LEAST 1000 years", which could be accurate if they had a good date on a layer on top of the ship, but nothing else. It would be pretty meaningless if you couldn't guess at just much more than 1000 years, considering how big a window that leaves.

According to the Wikia, the ship was at 300 feet below the surface, which is "only" about 91 m (you have an excellent memory, Springer, even if your brain substituted meters for feet, which is an entirely reasonable thing to do ... I refuse to believe that archaeologists decided, sometime between the 21st and 23rd century, to abandon the metric system). At first glance, that, to me, seems like a completely ridiculous depth for a 1000-year-old something. But then, my ideas of what is or isn't reasonable are entirely based on my experience on Earth. I really have NO idea what would be reasonable in a volcanic region on Mars. The other thing about that depth, though, is that those ships are really big. In the images we see of the excavation, it looks like some of its spidery legs are practically at surface level. I suppose we can't see if they took off a mound from the top ...

I too laughed at how the Shadow ship shows up and just shoots the other ship out of the ground. "Screw your careful excavation!!". Couldn't they have shown up a bit sooner and saved the archaeologists all that unnecessary work? Although, apparently these 23rd century archaeologists have some spiffy methods. Dr. Kirkish says "it took us weeks just to excavate half of it" like that's an unusually long time. Those ships are BIG! I guess perhaps they also had a pretty large crew working on that ...

"What were they doing there?" is indeed an excellent question. If the 1000 year date is indeed correct, it could be something war-related, but it could also be that the Shadows had some interest in being near this young race that would soon be getting ready to go into space (assuming a 1000 years doesn't mean that much in Shadow time, with them being as old as they are).

[OT: I'm sitting here looking at my post before I hit "submit", thinking "Oh my god, what have I become??" All of this, about something like five minutes worth of TV from 20 years ago? But, anyone reading along clearly isn't that different from me ]
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Old February 14th 15, 14:20   #25
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Re: EpDis: Messages From Earth

Hmm. Not much has happened on Mars over the past 1,000 years. Dust storms come and go but the dust is made of such fine particles it's not going to be able to bury something to that extent, and the next storm that comes along would just blow it all off anyway. There's been no volcanic activity in a long time. Maybe Kirkish didn't appreciate the geology on Mars. One of the NASA rovers on Mars has been visiting craters that aren't as deep as the excavation site and the sedimentary layers in the crater walls go back hundreds of millions of years or even older.

I wonder if Sinclair/Valen knew the Shadows were in the Solar System?
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Old February 14th 15, 19:20   #26
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Re: EpDis: Messages From Earth

I guess that must mean the ship was buried on purpose, then. But why? To hide it from the humans until they were ready? In "The Hour of the Wolf", we learn that "a thousand years ago, the Shadows seeded hundreds of worlds with their ships", but just one ship per planet seems a little weird.

Excellent question about Valen/Sinclair. I guess if he did know, he didn't mention it... It wouldn't have made much of a difference, I suppose.
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