Mars from Viking Mission



From the geographic features, we know Mars had an atmosphere similar

to Earth in the past. We assume it somehow (mostly) disappeared.

What is the simplest answer to what happened to it's atmosphere?

Nothing happened to the atmosphere of Mars.

Our assumption that it doesn't have (much of) one is wrong.

Without the NASA Mars rovers, I would have never known enough about Mars to be able to question any of the Mars data.

NASA has done a wonderful job in these rovers, and I am proposing that one of the many types of sensors these rovers

carry is being decoded wrong with the hopes of making what we know about Mars fit together is a simpler way.

Evidence for the units error (Pa vs. hPa):

From Viking logs (First successful US lander on Mars, July 20, 1976 - Units error in conversion of pressure data - off by a factor of 100)

"C Pressure         mb = millibars, 1 mb = 100 hPa, where

 C                        hPa = hecta Pascals"

-Viking Lander 1 Binned and Splined data Rev 2.2 97/6/19, JET, lines 50-51

The conversion factor above is incorrect.

The correct conversion factor is: 100 mb = 100 hPa

Mars Science Laboratory (Currently operational US rover on Mars - Discrepancies in pressure units - Pa vs. hPa - off by a factor of 100) 

REMS Instrument Pressure Sensor (Vaisala Barocap):

"Pressure in the range of 1 to 1150 Pa with a resolution of 0.5 Pa"

- NASA website

"Pressure range       50 ... 1100 hPa"

"Resolution                           0.5 hPa"

- Vaisala Datasheet for PTB200 Barocap

REMS testing of Barocap: Capacitance varies from 14 to 12 pF over the range of 0-1000 Pa

- REMS Space Science Reviews 2012 DOI 10.1007/s11214-012-9921-1, figure 12

My testing of Barocap:      Capacitance varies from 14 to 12 pF over the range of 0-1000 hPa

- Nathan Mariels

Sample REMS pressure data close in time to SAM data below:

Log file: RME_399133183ESE00190000000ACQ____M1.TAB

REMS Barocap :       399177611.0 SECONDS, 721.15 Pa

SAM Instrument:

CDH:PRES_4_MN6: 399118971.8 SECONDS, 711.5 MILLIBARS

Unit #4, A-DIR, Direct atmospheric measurement, ADIR

Log file: sm25008f0018rdr1a_adir_hk__cdhlspd_2.csv

How could we possibly land on Mars if the atmospheric pressure is 9 PSI and the current spacecraft are designed for 0.09 PSI? The are designed with good engineering, and designed to handle unexpected situations.

In 1976, the US successfully landed two landers (Viking I and Viking 2) on Mars. Both landers landed and worked. They made almost no assumptions on what the atmospheric pressure was, relying on the parachute only to slow down, and then using rockets and radar altimeter to land.

The current rovers used dimensionally identical parachutes, and similar rocket landings systems as the Viking missions did.

(As far as I can tell, 99.9% of the physical constants in textbooks are correct. I traced the origins of many of them. It is just the Mars atmospheric pressure, and what depends on it, that seem wrong to me. The Venus data could have errors, but I lack sufficient evidence to prove that there are errors with the Venus data.)

Mars Atmospheric Pressure

Agrees with


620 hPa

60% of Earth's pressure

0.09 PSI

620 Pa

0.6% of Earth's pressure

Textbooks and currently accepted value



Rover images of geographic and atmospheric features



Parachute decent rates



Diffuse light in atmosphere



Images of dust devil movements



Schiaparelli lander root cause of failure



Simple atmospheric model for solar system



Range MSL pressure sensor can actually detect



Viking (1976) mission raw sensor data



CO2 ice seasonal variation at poles



Telemetry data from MSL



Failure of WRP pumps



Math/Software errors I found



Rover Image / Not Rover Image

rover image

rover image it is not

Magical Dust That:
Can not be seen
Can not be measured directly
Is not affected by wind
Exactly matches diffusive properties of air by setting particle size to match observed discrepancy between assumed atmospheric pressure and observations
Does not affect local visibility



Liquid water on surface below 0C/32F



Mars Helicopter



Mars helicopter rotor speed for lowest hover power


~2500 RPM

Mars helicopter motor power at hover



Earth Calibrated Barometric Altimeter

~12,000 ft

~113,000 ft

Smoke from Skycrane crash rising up in column



Mars Helicopter: Nice job. Drones are fun.

A question: What is the actual rotor speed in flight?
(Guessing ~400 RPM if torque control is being used.)

The B&W images show the shadow of the rotors not blurry. If that camera has max 1/480 sec capture rate, I would think the shadow of the rotors would be blurry at 2500 RPM.

Is it possible to get the raw audio for the flight without the bandpass filter filtering out all the interesting sounds? You want there to be 84 Hz rotor sounds, but maybe they are closer to 20 Hz?

The flight control loop is doing a good job for such a drastically different environment than design specification, but the high frequency oscillation could be damped better if modeled for 9 PSI atmospheric pressure.

A slower ramp on rotor spin-up might solve the watchdog trip issue.

If the atmospheric pressure is 9 PSI, all wind measurements will be 100 times lower, as the wind sensor is assuming heat transfer though 0.09 PSI.

Before the Viking spacecraft landed on Mars in 1976, it was thought that the atmospheric pressure of Mars was somewhere between 0.4 PSI and 4.4 PSI. When the Viking spacecraft landed, the pressure sensor appeared to indicate that the atmospheric pressure on the surface of Mars was 0.09 PSI.

There was a software error in the conversion of pressure sensor data, where Pa and hPa were not considered as different units, although they differ by a factor of 100. This implies that Mars has an atmospheric pressure of 9 PSI. This has rather large implications for our understanding of physics, and may be an explanation why most spacecraft attempting to land on Mars fail, and the ones that do land are many miles from the intended landing location.

Units errors have caused the loss of several spacecraft, including one to Mars.

"root cause for the loss of the MCO spacecraft was the failure to use metric units in the coding of a ground software file"
- Mars Climate Orbiter Mishap Investigation Board Phase I Report November 10, 1999

Additional data that supports the idea that Mars has an atmospheric pressure of 9 PSI (60% of Earths):

ESA Lander Failure (Mars atmosphere not as expected)

Root Cause of failure: "Insufficient uncertainty and configuration management in the modeling of the parachute dynamics"

-EXOMARS 2016 - Schiaparelli Anomaly Inquiry

MSL Heat shield (Mars atmosphere not as expected):

"The peak temperature at MISP 7 is ~210 deg C greater than model predictions."

-MSL Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI): Hardware Performance and Data Reconstruction - AAS 13-078

Analysis of Strategic Knowledge Gaps Associated with Potential Human Missions to the Martian System

"FINDING #1. The high-priority gaps for a human mission to Mars orbit relate to

a) atmospheric data and models ..."

-NASA, P-SAG_final_report_06-30-12_main_v26.pdf

Before the landers (The 30 mbar vs. 300 mbar problem)

"The principal difficulty affecting all of the photometric and polarimetric investigations is that of distinguishing between the amount of light scattered by the Martian surface, by the solid particles in the atmosphere and the atmosphere itself. The surface pressure can be computed also from the pressure broadening of the lines in the Martian band spectrum of CO2. The first results of the spectroscopic method disagree by an order of magnitude from previously accepted values, which were based on photometry and polarimetry. Other spectroscopic measurements made by numerous investigators in 1964 and 1965 confirmed this disagreement mentioned above."

-Karl D Rakos, The Atmospheric Pressure at the Surface of Mars, Lowell Observatory Bulletin No. 131, 1965

The question I asked myself a few years ago and still can not find a better answer is:

The sky is not black when viewed from Mars rovers.

At 100,000 feet on Earth, the pressure is similar to the currently accepted pressure on Mars, and the sky is black.

If the diffuse light on Mars is from the dust, what is holding up the dust?   (Most likely not turtles.)

How is it possible a mistake like this was missed?

It started with a math/software error 43 years ago on the Viking mission. The data was close enough to estimates, and it was the only data point. The following mission, also having the same type of error, returned the same value, but with a different type of sensor, so now there were two, both incorrect, data points that agreed.

The pressure sensors are calibrated by the same type of pressure sensor. The sensors work great, but the same software error in decoding the data affects both the calibration and the flight sensor.

The pressure sensors are not considered flight critical. That is, the spacecraft will still land without them. The problem is that the atmospheric pressure value is flight critical data for the next spacecraft, but that flight critical data is from sensors that did not undergo the same type of testing as flight critical hardware normally does.

What are units?

Temperature can be expressed in several ways. For example, 68 degrees Fahrenheit is the same as 20 degrees Celsius, and is considered comfortable by most people. 68 degrees Celsius is 154.4 degrees Fahrenheit will kill most living things very quickly. "Celsius" and "Fahrenheit" are units of temperature. Units are what relate a number to what the number represents.

Pressure can also be stated in several different units. In the US, Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) is common, while Pascals (Pa) are common elsewhere.

The following are all equivalent ways of stating the pressure of the Earth's atmosphere at sea level: 14.7 PSI, 101325 Pa, 1013 hPa, 101.3 kPa, 760 mm hg, 760 mm, 1.013 bar, 1013 mbar, 1 ATM, 29.9" hg, 0 PSIG, 14.7 PSIA

Note 1: "Pa" and "hPa" are a factor of 100 different, while "mm hg" and "mm" are equivalent.

Note 2: Common pressure gages for tires and air compressors read the pressure relative to the atmospheric pressure (PSIG). When your car tire gauge reads 30 PSI, the tire has 44.7 PSI on the inside, 14.7 PSI on the outside, with a difference of 30 PSI between the inside and outside pressure. (At sea level)

Why does it matter if the pressure on the surface of Mars is 60% of the pressure on the surface of Earth?

We could use aircraft on Mars.

We could roam the planet of Mars without spacesuits using just warm clothing and rebreathers.

The mathematical equations of physics fit together in a nice way that currently can not be done.

The question above about where the diffuse light comes from has an answer: An atmospheric pressure of 9 PSI would cause diffuse light and could hold up the dust.

Arguments against the above:

1) The modifications to the Barocap for Mars may be different than what is documented. (Details are sparse.)

2) The WRP turbo pumps on MSL would not work if venting to 700 hPa. (Are they working? Is the Mass-Spec working without the pumps? Anyone have expected current draw and spin-up times? Are 77 seconds to 8K RPM, 14 more seconds to 40K RPM, and 43 more seconds to 100K RPM expected times? Could the second WRP be run backwards as a backing pump to get things working on MSL?)

mars wrp pump spinup times

3) Spacecraft would have burned up if the atmospheric pressure was 60% of Earth's. (Most of the landers/rovers that did successfully land used rockets and radar altimeters to do so, and were not dependent on the atmospheric pressure data. All of the landers/rovers landed downrange from where they expected, possibly from drifting in the atmosphere before the parachutes were cut free. See notes on MSL heat shield temps and ESA lander failure above.)

4) It goes against the standard scientific model of our solar system that so many people agree on. (For everything except the Martian atmospheric pressure, and what depends on it, I agree with the standard accepted view of the scientific community.)

This section is an idea that needs to be evaluated by others before being considered correct.

If we assume that the currently accepted values for atmospheric pressures of Mars and Venus are off by a factor of 100 and 0.01 respectively, the following equations work rather well:

Proposed Eq 1: maximum equilibrium surface pressure (Pa) = 32300 * square root of gravity (m/s^2)

Proposed Eq 2: maximum equilibrium surface pressure (PSI) = 4.69 * square root of gravity (m/s^2)

Proposed Eq 3: P1/P2 = sqrt (g1/g2), where P is the maximum equilibrium surface pressure a planet can support and g is the gravity of the planet in m/s^2

Three examples that show very good correlation for Proposed Eq 3:

Mars/Earth: 9.0/14.7 = 0.612, sqrt (3.7/9.8) = 0.614

Venus/Earth 14.0/14.7 = 0.952, sqrt (8.9/9.8) = 0.953

Mars/Venus 9.0/14.0 = 0.643, sqrt (3.7/8.9) = 0.645

Some estimated planetary surface pressures (in PSI): Mercury = 9.0,     Venus = 14.0 (not 1400),     Earth 14.7     Mars = 9.0 (not 0.09)     Uranus = 13.9     Neptune = 15.6

Some values of planetary gravity (in m/s^2):                Mercury = 3.7      Venus = 8.9                         Earth 9.8,      Mars = 3.7                     Uranus = 8.7,      Neptune = 11

An atmosphere is not a closed system. One side is the rocks, dirt and water, the other is diffusion into space. The square root term comes from the atmospheric weight not being constant with gravity. If gravity increases, it may cause more condensation and absorption, leading to a decrease in atmospheric weight, partially counteracting the pressure increase.

Note: These equations imply that our Moon could support an atmospheric pressure of up to 5.9 PSI.

Mars and Phobos
Mars and Moon (Phobos) taken by Mars Orbiter Mission
                Barocap Testing
Barocap Testing showing Pa vs. hPa discrepancy (factor of 100)


Earth's Moon, Apollo Mission
Low Atmospheric Pressure
Harsh Shadows


Earth's Moon, Chang'e-3 Lander
Low Atmospheric Pressure
Harsh Shadows


Mars, Insight Lander
??? Atmospheric Pressure
Soft Shadows


Mars, MSL Rover
??? Atmospheric Pressure
Soft Shadows


14.7 PSI Atmospheric Pressure
Soft Shadows


14.7 PSI Atmospheric Pressure
Soft Shadows

Mars Drilling

First two images: "Laboratory drilling under Martian conditions yields unexpected results",
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 109, E07S10, doi:10.1029/2003JE002204, 2004
Third image: Mars Rover, MSL, CR0_580106913PRC_F0701752CCAM05056L1

Below this line are concepts based on "exterminate all rational thought."

Black holes are simply holes in perception.

Does the ozone layer protect us from cosmic rays, or is the ozone layer where oxygen turns to ozone as it protects us from cosmic rays?

What does breathing in 5% of LD50 of copper vapor from a plasma torch do to Covid-19?

Google Mars doesn't show any clouds in the sky on Mars. Google Earth doesn't show any clouds on Earth either.

Stars look very different at 60 fps compared to multi second exposures commonly done. They are no longer just points of light.

Physics is a set of polynomial approximations, that each work well in their limited scope, to give similar numerical results as the actual equations we do not yet know.

At what rate does the cadmium of newer solar cells sublime and re-condense on to optics of satellites?

On the F-35, what electrical system components are shared by the pilots oxygen system and navigation lights?

If you use a PRBS 2^7-1 as the clock for an 8 bit counter, does the high bit have a 50% duty cycle? What happens when you use the high bit as a reference clock for a scope?

I had been sailing more than a hundred times at sunset before I saw the green flash (High Roler, 77090). You will know you have seen it when you have; just like to first understands recursion, you must first understand recursion.

If we assume Venus is 45 km larger in diameter (Radar Aliasing Distance) and has 14.0 PSI atmospheric pressure, the surface temperature comes out to about 80F.

Many weather balloons using radiosondes no longer report actual pressure data, but instead report estimated pressure based on GPS position, temperature and humidity. (Vaisala Radiosonde RS41-SG is one example.)

"Johnny had three truckloads of plutonium. He used three of them to power New York for a year. How much Plutonium did Johnny have left? Four truckloads." -U.S. D.O.E.

The usable energy content of one cubic foot of uranium is approximately the same as contained in 100,000,000 gallons of gasoline, and makes one cubic foot of waste.

In the 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake near Japan, and the resulting tsunami, 14308 people drowned, 667 were crushed to death, 145 died from burns, 6156 people were injured by various means, and one person was hurt by falling glass in the meltdown of a nuclear reactor.

When does SHA256 (ivec,block) = ivec?
ivec: 2EC557A2 0B6E2499 0CF13E72 2CDD2309 CD4AB124 B54D3298 9FBAAA26 595767F4
block: 4E617468 616E4D61 7269656C 73800000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000068
hash: 2EC557A2 0B6E2499 0CF13E72 2CDD2309 CD4AB124 B54D3298 9FBAAA26 595767F4

Note that SHA256 (ivec,block) = SHA256 (ivec,block,block) for example above.         sha256mt.c, sha256inv.cpp, sha256fixedpoints.c, sha256collisions.c

If every person/company mining Bitcoin turned off half of thier computers, all the Bitcoin miners would make twice as much money.

Mars image PSP_006966_2035_MRGB

Comments are appreciated. If you have additional supporting information, or if you think that any data, or even the entire concept, is wrong, please let me know. -Nathan     Phone: (354196 times 14407)

Who am I? I am Nathan Mariels.

What do I do? I fix/design things.





Fix LMI systems on cranes





Fix Aluminum Sweat Furnace control systems





Control, Genlock and Power

3x Blackmagic

4x 4K Blackmagic

32x 4K BlackMagic


My Controller Design Working In

CNC Brideport

Rayco T275

Morbark 3060


Design/Build Pressure Vessels (316SS)









Design/Build/Fly Drones









Design/Assemble PCBs









Concept to working PCB

4 Hours

1 Week

30 Years


Languages (Spoken)





Languages (Computer)




Design Software (Desktop)




Design Software (Embedded)




BMS/Lithium Battery Pack Design




Motor Controller Design




FPGA Design





Optics/PHY Design (RS232 to 40G OC-768)








Cesium Beam


Timestamp error on systems >1000 miles apart





Tesla Coils

1 foot

3 feet

18 feet

Arc Length

10 KRPM Rotary Spark

Prius IGBT / Custom
(From Motor Controller)

GaN / Custom
(Zener to reduce Vgate)

Switching Method

      with clock jitter audio injection


6 bit, 8 KHz / 20 MHz

8 bit, 16 KHz / 80 MHz

PWM Bandwidth / Clock


spoken words


Arc Audio Quality

My flamethrower flame length (I built in 2004, handheld)

10 (propane)

25 (gas/OH)

45 (gas/diesel)


Number of pressure sensors/gauges I have in stock




Types of pressure sensors/gauges I have in stock




Time I spend each week trying to understand the Martian atmosphere





Why 5 rotor drones? What an odd number.
I do not believe in the flat Earth. See turtle joke above.
I want to go to Mars. So do many others. If I'm correct about the atmospheric pressure, ignoring this will likely maintain the 30% success ratio of missions to Mars. I'm not willing to get on a spacecraft with those odds, but 75%, sure, why not...

My very own approximation in a Xilinx 9572XL