Dr. John Brandenburg – Plasma physicist gives inside look at outsourced UFO research |325|

#21
Hi Alex, I did more digging as you suggested and found more. The key is to account for the presence of the Xe-129 isotope. Like a few others (Xe-130, Xe-131 it is stable) - it does not radioactively decay.

1. Xe-129 can only be produced by the radioactive beta decay of I-129 (iodine) which takes millions of years.

2. I-129 is produced by fission (splitting up) of uranium and plutonium. In the Oklo natural reactor above, 2 billion years ago, only the Xe-129 is left as all the I-129 has decayed away.

3. I-129 is also produced by supernova explosions before the solar system formed. I-129 then decays to Xe-129.

So 3 seems to be the correct explanation for Xe-129 present on Mars and Earth than 2 if large enough amounts of I-129 were produced in the supernova before the solar system formed.
thx. this is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. now I'm gonna bet that Branderburg has this covered, but we won't know until we ask.
 
#22
Yes to the first two questions and in the rocks. I haven't read Brandenburg but I suppose he must be arguing for anomalous amounts that cannot be accounted for by natural processes. But he must admit the supernova origin as well. That's established science.
just emailed Gordon and he rescued me with the answer... remember Brandenburg's point about the difference between measurements before and after 1940. clincher!
 
#24
All the science is completely over my head, but there is one thing I thought about all this. I'm having a hard time imagining what a Martian civilization, roughly equivalent to ancient Egypt in terms of technology, could possibly be up to that would lead a far more advanced civilization to decide that they need to be totally annihilated. The only possibilities I can think of are either that the attackers really were an evil Galactic Empire or that the Martians had literal magic or psionics or something that was actually far more destructive than any technology and were somehow going to use it against the rest of the cosmos despite having no spacecraft. So whoever nuked them was protecting everyone else. Between the two, I'd say the latter is more likely, since the Galactic Empire wouldn't have left us alone, but some kind of galactic defense force would have.
 
#25
All the science is completely over my head, but there is one thing I thought about all this. I'm having a hard time imagining what a Martian civilization, roughly equivalent to ancient Egypt in terms of technology, could possibly be up to that would lead a far more advanced civilization to decide that they need to be totally annihilated. The only possibilities I can think of are either that the attackers really were an evil Galactic Empire or that the Martians had literal magic or psionics or something that was actually far more destructive than any technology and were somehow going to use it against the rest of the cosmos despite having no spacecraft. So whoever nuked them was protecting everyone else. Between the two, I'd say the latter is more likely, since the Galactic Empire wouldn't have left us alone, but some kind of galactic defense force would have.
Or it could be interplanetary target practice, with Planet X constructing a baddie to aim at before zapping Mars.
 
#26
Nothing really grabbed me in this interview until the one hour point when the Xe-129 was mentioned.
But I too really wanted to know how we'd not heard a jot about such an astounding discovery which according to Brandenburg, there is absolutely no other explanation for, apart from the nuclear one.
I find that pretty hard to believe and would have liked Gordon to have challenged him with some of the data people here have dug up with quick Google searches. Why didn't Gordon wise up on that stuff beforehand?
Not only is there apparently no mainstream confirmation of all this but bizarrely we are led to believe the authorities actually want us to know about this Martian nuclear war, through private outlets like Brandenburg!
I too lost interest in Cydonia and the Face when I saw the later images of it but I heard nothing in this interview to persuade me it is still worth considering as an artefact.
And glancing at Brandenburg's lifeonmars.pub website - well some of the images there and his claims are laughable.
So put me down in the sceptics camp on this one.
 
#27
Where do we find those measurements? Google hasn't been much help so far...
Not sure about independent confirmation but Brandenburg shows his graphs, etc., on his web site: http://lifeonmars.pub/articles/mars-thermonuclear-explosion/#more-34

I have not listened to the podcast so there is, perhaps, something there which might be convincing but, looking at this discussion and at the above-linked website, I'm also pretty sceptical. I may have missed it but can anyone confirm the proposed dating of these events? This quote from his website just mentions "the past" but is not specific. Also, it seems that he accepts as fact some of the evidence of a Martian civilisation ...

Mars is the nearest Earthlike planet that we can explore in the cosmos. Mars shows evidence of being far more Earthlike in the past and of having biology. [3] Mars also shows evidence that during this period of Earthlike climate, biological evolution produced, at length, a humanoid civilization leaving ruins at several sites, Cydonia Mensa and Galaxias Chaos being two sites most intensively investigated. Data from these sites formed the basis for the Cydonian Hypothesis [4] of an ancient, indigenous, approximately Bronze Age civilization on Mars.
I've had a quick scan around the web and can only find mention of Martian oceans existing billions of years ago. Leaving aside the ID vs NS/RM debate and assuming evolution as presently understood, did the Martian oceans last long enough to enable evolution from microbe to human? Then there are other factors which have assisted the development of life on Earth, such as the Moon and tidal activity, plate tectonics and the water cycle, etc., etc. So, can we assume that life on another planet would evolve life forms similar to those on Earth? So similar, in fact, that he talks of a humanoid, Bronze Age civilisation.

For sure, I just don't have enough background information on the subject to judge its credibility but I'd like to see the theory placed in some kind of big-picture context before my interest is piqued further.
 
#28
Yes to the first two questions and in the rocks. I haven't read Brandenburg but I suppose he must be arguing for anomalous amounts that cannot be accounted for by natural processes. But he must admit the supernova origin as well. That's established science.
Thanks for that - I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I think my money is with a part psychical explanation of UFO's - in other words something that isn't 'just' an advanced alien race - the sort of explanation advanced by Grant Cameron.

David
 
#29
just emailed Gordon and he rescued me with the answer... remember Brandenburg's point about the difference between measurements before and after 1940. clincher!
I've done some searching and seem to have found that Xe-129 is not produced by nuclear explosions (other isotopes of Xe are). I-129 is, which then decays to Xe-129. Because of the 16 MY half life the "explosion" on Mars must then have happened millions of years ago if this is to account for the Xe-129.
Otherwise Xe-129 only from I-129 decay and I-129 only from a supernova (or a nuke).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-129#Formation_and_decay

There's also this bit in the script where Gordon says ... "We have Xenon 129 which is not naturally occurring. It’s exclusively a weapon’s signature." But this is misleading as I-129 is produced in a supernova. Millions of years later the Xe-129 appears.

1. Is Gordon saying that after 1945 (first bomb) that Xe-129 is elevated in the Earth's atmosphere? But if only I-129 is produced in the nuclear explosions how can a significant amount of Xe-129 be in the atmosphere from the subsequent bombs due the MY half-life of I-129? Not enough time AFAICT. And Earth's main source of Xe-129 will be from decayed I-129 from a supernova.

2. But there can be enough time for the Mars atmosphere because over billions of years all the I-129 will have decayed to Xe-129.

There is the article by Musselwhite et. al. (given above by Ian) which they say can account for the high Mars Xe-129/Xe-132 ratio.
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19910065445

3. Also it appears some meteorites have much higher ratios of Xe-129/Xe-132 than Mars. How does that happen? Were they from a nuke as well?
 
#31
This is even before we get onto areas such as his claim to being secretly supported by government agencies who daren't fund this research publicly. This seems, to me, like a clever line that will be picked up by others in the field because it's so flattering to those making the claim, and because it ties in with what some people want to believe about the omniscience of secret military structures. All the more convincing, because there may be a grain of truth in it, to the extent that some people working for government in this general area are (presumably) interested in this stuff too. But ultimately it doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the evidence that Dr. Brandenburg is presenting, which seems weak at best.
I think this little bolded tidbit here is key to understanding the disinfo operations in the information war. Alternative media has risen in power and popularity and trust in official sources is at an all time low. Something must be done to try and discredit alternative sources and make people question the questioners. ..Keep people busy arguing about things that aren't real, etc.

Clandestine agencies often use a Patsy to commit a crime in a psychological operation. They find an ideological gullible person and provide him with the tools, funds, and encouragement to do his "work". And then use the real or purported characteristics of this "lone wolf" criminal's ideology to discourage people from adopting it.

I think it is highly likely some disinformation agents are also patsies who do not commit crimes, but rather spread disinfo. They are somewhat more gullible and with an ego that would love to be part of some grand government operation, so when a clandestine agent approaches the patsy and tells him his work has caught the attention of some white hats within the power structure and they want to fund him so that he can continue his research and seminars, he gladly obliges and feels like his research is validated by a higher authority so it can't be wrong. He then continues on preaching his theories as gospel truths, attracts a cult following, and keeps the realm of alternative truth busy trying to figure out what the hell is going on while in some cases tainting the reputation of anyone who falls for the disinfo.

I think the whole flat earth phenomenon is a good example of a disinfo operation designed to confuse and taint those in the alternative realms.

Steven Greer in the UFO arena also seems to me to share many characteristics of a disinfo agent. The few videos I've watched of him were very creepy and cultish in nature. He talks a lot while saying little.
 
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#32
I don't wish to sound sound dismissive, but I'm really not happy about anyone coming along claiming something as remarkable as a nuclear holocaust on Mars and apparently not engaging with serious journal articles that would (if true) discredit his hypothesis. Is anyone who owns a copy of the book able to tell me whether Dr. Brandenburg addresses the Musselwhite et. al. articles in that publication? If not, that would be really bad.

It's also worth pointing out that his other claims about trinitite being found on Mars are also, apparently, not supported in the literature; and noteworthy that he didn't refer to this apparently discredited claim in the interview. Maybe he has something to say about this in the book, I don't know.

Also, the idea that a supposedly "bronze age" civilization could, or would, have built structures of that immense size on Mars seems wholly preposterous. Nothing remotely similar exists on Earth (compare the size of the Cydonia "face" to, e.g., Silbury Hill). But that is not entirely essential to his hypothesis, so I'll leave that to one side.

This is even before we get onto areas such as his claim to being secretly supported by government agencies who daren't fund this research publicly. This seems, to me, like a clever line that will be picked up by others in the field because it's so flattering to those making the claim, and because it ties in with what some people want to believe about the omniscience of secret military structures. All the more convincing, because there may be a grain of truth in it, to the extent that some people working for government in this general area are (presumably) interested in this stuff too. But ultimately it doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the evidence that Dr. Brandenburg is presenting, which seems weak at best.

Skeptiko is extremely useful and good in that it provides a forum for those with supposedly "wacky" theories to air their views without the kind of groupthink that exists around controversial areas of science; however, in this case I think the interviewee should have received a lot more pushback than he did. The interviewer was so gushing that at times I was concerned for his underpants.
don't agree with much of this, but agree with the bolded part. I'll do my best to get an answer and we can take it from there.
 
#33
adding to the questions raised:
http://www.theparacast.com/forum/th...rg-with-goggs-mackay.17016/page-2#post-235855

With that intro, now to the claim of it being on Mars. From what I could find, there is a December 1976 paper in the journal Science entitled, "The Atmosphere of Mars: Detection of Krypton and Xenon." The third sentence of the abstract states, "the ratio of xenon-129 to xenon-132 is enhanced on Mars relative to the terrestrial value for this ratio." It goes on to say, "Some possible implications of these findings are discussed."

To be completely honest, I was surprised. I did not expect this to pan out, given perhaps some of my more recent podcast episodes. So, what Viking found is that the ratio of 129 to 132 is not 0.97 as on Earth, but 2.5(+2)(-1) -- significantly more 129 than 132. But, that's as far as I can follow Brandenburg. For a couple reasons. Well, two.

First, I can't find anything about xenon-129 being produced in nuclear explosions. In supernovae, sure, those produce pretty much everything. They're an alchemist's dream. But not a nuclear weapon. The only stuff I could find on the production of xenon-129 is from the decay of radioactive iodine-129 into xenon-129. Iodine-129 has a half-life of about 16 million years, meaning that within 160 million years, less than 0.1% of the original amount of iodine-129 will remain. Meaning that all the iodine-129 originally part of any planet will have decayed by now into xenon-129 unless you're a young-Earth creationist. So, again, problem #1 so far is that unless this is top-secret knowledge or Google has failed me, xenon-129 is not produced in nuclear bombs. Which pretty much is the foundation of his idea.

It's possible he got fooled by the term, "radiogenic" xenon-129, and thought that meant nuclear reactor ... it just means that it's produced by radioactive decay of something else, in this case iodine-129.

It's also possible that his actual claim - even though I've never heard him state it - is that it's iodine-129 that is what's produced in a nuclear bomb, and since that decays into xenon-129, then that's evidence of the iodine-129 which is evidence for his nuclear war. Though I really don't want to make his argument for him, that is one possible way to save his idea. But, the 16 million year half-life of iodine-129 means that this would have had to have happened hundreds of millions of years ago for there to be no iodine-129 left and for it to all have decayed. Possible? I suppose, and I've heard stranger things.

But, the second reason I stop following Brandenburg's ideas at this point is for the same reason that Lawrence Livermore National Lab stated: There are a lot of possible geologic reasons why xenon-129 is more abundant relative to 132 on Mars than on Earth. The Science article points out that some types of stony meteorites have ratios of 4.5 or as high as 9.6, which is much higher than the Mars value, indicating that Mars may be sourced from more of that primitive material than Earth was as those slowly degassed into Mars' environment.

Another model by Musselwhite, Drake, and Swindle from 1990 suggests that the iodine originally incorporated into Mars was outgassed after formation into an atmosphere, but iodine was incorporated into the crust while xenon, being a noble gas, just stayed in the atmosphere. Then, lots of impacts happened in the first 500 million years, eroding Mars' atmosphere significantly including ALL the isotopes of xenon, mostly evenly. Meanwhile, the iodine-129 in the crust is decaying into xenon-129 and very slowly outgassed. As opposed to Earth, where it would be recycled and buried in the mantle due to plate tectonics. And, ¡voilà!, Mars' atmosphere is enriched with xenon-129. No nuclear holocaust needed, and this fits with everything else we know about how the planets work and it's supported by the ratio of argon-40 to krypton-40. The only small issue for this is the timing given the fairly short half-life of iodine-129.

Because of that timing issue, others have come up with other models for how Mars' atmosphere could be enriched in xenon-129. A popular model was proposed by Swindle and Jones in 1997 that proposes Mars started not with an asteroid-like composition, but an atmosphere like the solar wind. This allows a contribution from plutonium-244 -derived xenon-136 to be present which I guess somehow helps the models more accurately produce the xenon observed. And yes, I did say plutonium. Plutonium-244 is a very heavy isotope of plutonium, has a half-life of about 80 million years, and it's plutonium-240 used in nuclear weapons ... 244 is the most stable isotope of plutonium and still found in nature and it is not abundant in nuclear reactors though some is produced in nuclear explosions. So again, while this *could* be sorta used in a very round-about way to support his claims, it's hard to get there from what we know. Not impossible, but very hard.

At the very least, from this discussion of xenon-129, the conclusion that Brandenburg made - that it's only produced during big nuclear events, is not true. It's actually NOT produced in nuclear events - except supernovae - but it *can* be produced as a by-product of what is produced by nuclear weapons or reactors.

Natural Nuclear Reactors

Step 3 of his train of thought, that the xenon-129 could be produced by a natural nuclear reactor, was what he proposed to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference - also known as LPSC by those of us in the biz - back in 2011. Yes, he actually did submit an abstract about this.

But my point in bringing it up is not to discuss it on Mars, but on Earth. I was first introduced to this idea as an off-hand remark by someone when I was in grad school, and I didn't believe him at first. But yes indeed, nuclear reactors can happen on planets, naturally. This happened in Oklo in Gabon, Africa, about 1.7 billion years ago, it lasted for a few hundred thousand years, and it averaged about 100 kW of power during that time. To put that in context, my Mac setup from 2008 is currently using about 0.35 kW, or about 0.4% of that reactor. So it's not a trivial amount, but it's also not gargantuan.

How this happens is pretty neat, and it was first predicted in 1956, and the one in Africa was discovered in 1972 by French physicist Francis Perrin.

What happened was that a large deposit of uranium started to accumulate groundwater. Water acts as a neutron moderator, slowing down neutrons and making fast neutrons into thermal neutrons, capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction of uranium-235. So, uranium, plus water, and a nuclear chain reaction took place. Periods of the water boiling away, the reaction stopping, water coming back, and the reaction starting again happened and lasted long periods of times, each.

What let this happen 1.7 billion years ago and why this probably CAN'T happen today on Earth is that uranium-235 had an abundance of about 3.1% relative to all the uranium there. The rest was uranium-238, which isn't fissile. The 3.1% is around what we enrich uranium to today for use in nuclear power plants.

The reason this can't happen naturally on Earth today is that uranium-235 decays faster than 238, having a half-life of about 700 million years versus about 4.5 billion years. So, the natural abundance is only 0.7% today relative to 238, as opposed to the higher 3.1% about 2 billion years ago.

So that's a kinda neat aside.

Potassium and Thorium

The final piece of evidence claimed is the maps of potassium and thorium, though I'm really not sure why. Potassium is a common element, and while thorium might be rarer, and theoretically used in thorium reactors, but he doesn't really give a reason why these are important. Yeah, they're also sorta correlated in where they are on the planet, but a very, very length paper with over a dozen authors was published in 2007 using this as evidence for water carrying rocks to the lowest portion of the planet, draining into a northern hemisphere ocean, which is where the largest concentrations of potassium and thorium are.
 
#35
BTW... whichever way this turns... this moment is one of my favorite parts of Skeptiko. We digging for a truth... both sides seem to know what they're talking about and are sure dishing out a lot of science-y kinda stuff. Only one can survive :)
 
#36
I still have a problem with the timeline. If, as seems to be the consensus view, the one and only ocean on Mars lasted a few hundred million years and disappeared around 3.5 BILLION years ago, how old is this Martian civilisation we are talking about? Could it even have evolved? From what I've just been reading, the answer to that is no. If life got started on Mars, the disappearance of the ocean would have stopped it at the unicellular stage. Life on Earth was still like that for most of its history. Only in the Cambrian, some 550 million years ago, did we see the explosion into the kind of animal phyla that we recognise today.
 
#37
I too lost interest in Cydonia and the Face when I saw the later images of it but I heard nothing in this interview to persuade me it is still worth considering as an artefact.
And glancing at Brandenburg's lifeonmars.pub website - well some of the images there and his claims are laughable.
So put me down in the sceptics camp on this one.

I am also not convinced by images like this.
 
#39
Thanks for that - I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I think my money is with a part psychical explanation of UFO's - in other words something that isn't 'just' an advanced alien race - the sort of explanation advanced by Grant Cameron.

David
I agree, there must be a connection like that.
 
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