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December 03, 1998 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-12-03

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 3, 1998


Breaking point

New Mars data may dispel theories

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As the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft slips clos-
er and closer to its assigned orbit, scientists find their
plates are already overflowing with exciting data, stuff
they have barely been able to taste, much less digest.
Even before the big spacecraft settles into its circu-
lar path around the red planet by March, the new pho-
tos it is sending home are forcing researchers to
rethink some older ideas. For example:
Although Mars was known to be a very windy place,
the new evidence suggests it's windier yet, so the ter-
rain is probably more rapidly remodeled than expected.
The new photos show that a complex succession of
events - erosion, followed by deposition and re-ero-
sion - accounts for some of the surface sculpturing.
Layered terrain seen near the red planet's poles con-
sists of many more layers, and far thinner, than expect-
ed. This indicates that episodes of climatic change
occur more often than anticipated. Instead of episodes
lasting millions of years, they occur at intervals at
least 10 times shorter.
A few huge valleys seem to have smaller channels
eroded into their floors. This is important because
such features are similar to valleys seen on Earth.

Thus similar processes may be involved in creating
For the first time, evidence shows that massive
flows of fluid lava solidified into huge flat plates,
which then cracked into smaller chunks and floated
around on still-molten lava below.
The new, clearer photos of Mars' Elysium Basin
show that the hardened lava stretches for hundreds of
miles across the northern lowlands. What's visible
now are large dark plates separated by intervening
bright areas.
"Some scientists thought they could somehow be
volcanic, while others thought they might be related to
differences in the way the wind eroded a dried
lakebed,' said Alfred McEwen, a member of the sci-
ence team from the University of Arizona.
"With these new images," he added, "it is now quite
easy to understand the older, lower-resolution Viking
images" that were taken in 1976 by two earlier
American missions.
The scientists noted that other images show similar
plate-like terrain in a nearby basin, Marte Vallis,
which implies that some of the hot lava rolling over
Elysium Basin spilled into the other valley and rolled

on for thousands of miles to the northeast.
Because very few meteorite impact craters are*
visible on the lava plates, the scientists reason that
the lava flows occurred late in the planet's life,
after the major volcanoes such as Olympus Mons
had finished erupting.
"T he sparse occurrence of impact craters on these
plate-like lava surfaces suggests that the eruptions hap-
pened relatively recently in Mars' history," McEwenW
said. "These eruptions could be much younger than the
youngest of the large Martian volcanoes, but they.
would still have occurred many, many millions of years
ago. So these images should not be treated as evidence
that Mars is volcanically active today."
What is active today, according to the latest photos,
are the wind-blown sand dunes, which are certainly'
migrating across the Martian surface.
Obvious changes in the dunes have occurred in the
two decades between the Viking missions and the
arrival of the new spacecraft, Global Surveyor.
Because of the new data, "it's becoming clear that*
Mars is a much more complex planet than seemed to
be indicated by the Viking coverage," said planetary
scientist Joseph Veverka, at Cornell University.

Engineering seniors Chris Barager and Ron Bugaj use water from a pond on North
Campus yesterday to determine when the cooler will break.

Latina entrepreneurs take step forward

Continued from Page 1A
committee Republicans,

said the GOP

Los Angeles Tnes
LOS ANGELES - Maria de Lourdes Sobrino
began her entrepreneurial journey alone in a cramped
storefront, whipping up 300 cups of ready-to-eat
gelatin by hand each day. She knew nothing about food
processing, had no friends in business or banking, and
faced ridicule from her well-heeled family members,
who urged her to cone home to Mexico City.
Sixteen years later, her Huntington Beach business
and a sister company that makes frozen-fruit bars pull
in $8 million a year. After designing her own produc-
tion equipment and experimenting with recipes for
longer shelf life, Sobrino ships her popular Mexican
"gelatina" dessert and all-natural frozen confections to
14 states and three countries. She is building a 70,000-
square-foot plant to handle growth.

Something else has changed. Although Sobrino bat-
tled her way to success alone, she now participates in a
burgeoning sorority of Latina entrepreneurs. She
recently helped form two local organizations to help
other Latinas succeed in business. And she took her
story to a nearby middle school, inspiring gawkily
written thank-you notes from students who more often
see themselves reflected in dropout and teen-pregnan-
cy statistics.
Sobrino's status as boss of Lulu's Dessert Factory,
whose colorful trucks promise "More Fun for Your
Spoon," left many of the schoolgirls awe-struck, but it
is a success they have a better chance than ever of emu-
Studies show Latinas leading the nation in business
formation, creating enterprises at more than four times

the rate of the general population. Revenues and
employment by Latina-owned businesses are growing
even faster than their numbers. And while a majority
fall in the service category, the number in construction,
agriculture and wholesale trade has grown fastest of all
- blasting a hole in gender and ethnic stereotypes.
Latinas are coming together in greater numbers to
network, contracting with one another and offering
free services to sister start-ups. National Latina organi-
zations that never before focused on business are craft-
ing entrepreneurship programs, with financial backing
from big corporations such as American Express. And
across the country, women are stepping out from the
shadows to seize leadership roles in Latino/a business
organizations where they have long toiled as worker

was "certainly willing to notify the
White House prior to its presentation
next week of the issues it may wish to
defend, although the president knows
the truth better than anyone."
A Clinton administration official,
speaking only on condition of
anonymity, expressed doubt that the
committee would provide all the mate-
rial but said the defense would go on.
In fact, under Johnson's orders, the
committee staffers were not permitted
to copy the Freeh and LaBella memos
or even take notes.
The committee announced a sched-
ule that includes the White House pre-

sentation and summaries by theh
Democratic and Republican chief'
investigators, all next Tuesday and'
Wednesday. The committee then will
begin deliberations on articles o
impeachment Thursday and continue,
Friday and possibly Saturday.
"Meanwhile, the committee will con-
tinue with its expeditious investigation{,
of other matters relevant to the inquiry,
including the taking of depositions, the
committee said in a statement.
LaBella said in an interview yester-
day that he would testify in a closed-
door committee deposition Friday.
But the prosecutor, who concluded
that an independent counsel shouk
investigate the Clinton fund raising,
added that he is prohibited from dis-
cussing the memo's grand jury mater-

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