Mars has a high concentration of the gas isotope Xenon 129 in its atmosphere. Xenon 129 is produced by nuclear reactions. The surface of the red planet also has an excess of uranium and thorium.
These conditions are likely the result of two large anomalous nuclear explosions on Mars in the past, argues propulsion scientist Dr. John Brandenburg in a 2014 paper, titled “Evidence of a Massive Thermonuclear Explosion on Mars in the Past.”
On Earth, in Oklo, Gabon, uranium was extracted in 1972 and found to have unusual properties. Natural uranium deposits all contain about 0.7 percent U235. The isotope U235 in the Oklo mine, however, showed at levels around 0.6 percent, suggesting the U235 had already been “burned.”
Dr. Francis Perrin, former chairman of the French High Commission for Atomic Energy, told the French Academy of Sciences on Sept. 25, 1972, that a nuclear reaction had taken place approximately 1.7 billion years ago.
While many scientists say the nuclear reactions on Earth and Mars could have occurred naturally, some scientists disagree. If the reactions weren’t natural, the implication is that intelligent beings—whether human or alien—artificially caused them.
Even if the reactions did occur naturally, these anomalous events beg the question, could a nuclear explosion happen naturally on Earth and cause mass devastation?
Prehistoric Nuclear Reactor?
The Oklo uranium deposits were geologically estimated to be about 1.7 billion years old. Perrin suggested the reaction took place naturally at that time, since the uranium would have been at its purest. Instead of the 0.7 percent concentration of U235 we see today, it would have been at about 3 percent.
Water is needed for uranium to “burn” in a reaction. The widely accepted explanation for the natural reaction states that water entered the ore deposit, initiating the chain reaction. But the water must be very pure to start such a reaction, noted the late Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg.
Seaborg was head of the United States Atomic Energy Commission and he won a Nobel Prize for his work in the synthesis of heavy elements. He said the reaction could not have happened naturally.
His view is summarized by Rene Noorbergen in Noorbergen’s book “Secrets of the Lost Races”:
Even a few parts per million of any contaminant will ‘poison’ the reaction, bringing it to a halt. The problem is that no water that pure exists naturally anywhere in the world!
A second objection to Dr. Perrin’s report involved the uranium itself. Several specialists in reactor engineering remarked that at no time in the geologically estimated history of the Oklo deposits was the uranium ore rich enough in U235 for a natural reaction to have taken place.
Even when the deposits supposedly were first formed … the fissionable material would have constituted only 3 percent of the deposits—far too low a level for a ‘burn.’ Yet a reaction did take place, suggesting that the original uranium was far richer in U235 than a natural formation could have been.
Explosions on Mars
The Oklo case is often cited in arguments that the nuclear reactions on Mars could have been a natural phenomenon.
But Brandenburg has considered and dismissed the “natural” explanation.
He said the Xenon 129 on Mars is likely the product of a nuclear process rather than mass fractionation (a process in nature by which a certain quantity of an isotope or other substance is separated out of a mixture during a period of transition).
A planet’s atmosphere can erode over time, especially without a strong magnetic field, as on Mars. When this happens, the lighter isotopes on top are more eroded than the heavier ones, leading to an increase in heavier isotopes.
“However, on Mars, whatever process disturbed the … isotopes made the lighter isotopes relatively more abundant than heavier ones. This requires a predominantly nuclear process rather than mass fractionation,” he wrote.
If the explosions were natural, we would see large craters in the surface of Mars, said Brandenburg. He suggests instead that the explosions occurred due to large airborne fusion-fission devices of similar design to those seen on Earth.
He explained how the devices on Earth produce Xenon 129: “In order to boost the yield of a hydrogen bomb, the bomb casing is typically made of uranium 238 or a thorium. Accordingly, Xenon 129 is produced only in small amounts by normal fission, but in a conventional hydrogen bomb explosion it is produced in large amounts.”
He has analyzed the distribution patterns of the uranium and thorium on the surface of Mars and concluded that they are consistent with explosions centered on two points.
Dr. David Beaty, Mars program science manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told FoxNews.com he is interested in Brandenburg’s ideas. But he said it would cost a lot of money for a Mars mission to investigate those ideas.
Edward D. McCullough, a science and space consultant, and Harrison Schmitt, a geologist and retired astronaut, each agreed with parts of Brandenburg’s theory—but did not go so far as to say the anomalies were due to alien nuclear air raids.
Should We Worry About Natural Reactions on Earth?
Beaty told FoxNews.com that a natural nuclear reaction might hypothetically happen in another billion years on Earth, but it’s not something we need to worry about now. Geological conditions don’t often change suddenly.
Brandenburg estimated that the explosions on Mars occurred some 180 million years ago. He said the explosions would have been large enough to create a global catastrophe and to change the global climate of Mars.
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