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Possible New Way to Search for past Life on Mars Found

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posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:20 AM
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A team of scientists have discovered ancient plant material "frozen in aspic" as a result of a meteor impact in Argentina about 10 million years , the material has been locked in glass created by the impact and revealed by an electron microscope.

Scientists believe as Curiosity rover is in a giant impact crater this could offer a new way to search for past life on Mars and that Martian glass may contain genetic material that could be analysed for traces of RNA or chemical elements associated with biology.

The discovery could offer a novel approach to searching for signs of past life on the Red Planet.

"Mars has the same type of material [loess] spread all over the place, and Gale Crater is one very good example," said Pete Schultz. It is to Gale that Nasa has sent its latest robotic rover Curiosity.

"The stuff in the centre of the crater that's piled up is very likely the result of dust accumulation."

He said the rover could look for impact glass in rocks that had tumbled out naturally from these geological layers
www.bbc.co.uk...


It's a cool discovery in itself but add in the implications for the search for life on other planets and this could be groundbreaking science




posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:27 AM
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a reply to: gortex

Now yes, here we have some more groundbreaking news. Thanks, and I'll look into this further. I haven't seen any posts about glass being on Mars though, and I've been following the Curiosity Rover's excursion fairly closely. Maybe ArMap or someone else will know, I'll link this to the anomaly thread as well. Thanks again.
edit on 18-4-2014 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:43 AM
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a reply to: Aleister



I haven't seen any posts about glass being on Mars though

According to this it hasn't been confirmed but there is an indication of glass at Gale , I think the processes would be the same there as here so glass would be formed from the heat of an impact.

NASA's Curiosity rover may have already found Martian impact glass in the Red Planet's Gale crater, according to a presentation at the Geological Society of America meeting in Colorado last month.
www.newscientist.com...



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:49 AM
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Why don't we as citizens build our own rocket. How hard could it be? Kids have been building them for ages....just add some umpf!! Then buy some DIY guide to drone building and stick that sucker in the rocket. We might need about 300 million of these to ensure one lands on Mars lol. Once achieved we deploy and have a looksy ourselves.

Even if it didn't work it would be fun as #.



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 07:01 AM
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a reply to: gortex

Clever! Great idea to add to the others! years back, there was a fascinating pdf from Scientific American that explained how glass is formed at impact sites; I'll see if I can find it again.


Simon Clemett and Kathie Thomas-Keprta from Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Houston analysed the delicate and complex organic compounds recovered from the glass. They include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other molecules found in biological material.



"it can also preserve components of the local biology present at the time of impact"


^^That could include pollens as well as simple organisms if they ever existed and were at the right place at the wrong time. The rover can get over and look for impact glass...does it have the tools to analyse them??

ETA - The Day the Sands Caught Fire (SciAm page 5)
edit on 18-4-2014 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 07:40 AM
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a reply to: gortex

Interesting idea, but your post (perhaps unintentionally) seems to imply that Curiosity has the capabilities to do the proper analysis to find RNA or other genetic material in meteorite glass; I don't think it can.

However, as I said, the idea itself is certainly interesting, and one more method to search for life elsewhere that we can "put in our toolbox".

edit on 4/18/2014 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 07:41 AM
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a reply to: gortex




A team of scientists have discovered ancient plant material "frozen in aspic" as a result of a meteor impact in Argentina about 10 million years , the material has been locked in glass created by the impact

More like 'glaspic' really.

Very interesting idea. Good that they found that in Argentina to get the idea.



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 08:43 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky
As far as I'm aware Curiosity rover can't do the analysis or get the samples itself but it is our eye in a place where the glass should exist so could perhaps be a scout for the future 2020 mission , then if anything is found in the samples the whole argument of whether it's indigenous or did it come from Earth can begin


a reply to: Soylent Green Is People
As above mate but perhaps the tech can be added to the planed 2020 mission which is "intended to investigate an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars" and give "an assessment of its past habitability and potential for preservation of biosignatures within accessible geological materials." .... sounds right up it's street as this would defiantly fit into finding preserved biosignatures.


The specific payload and science instruments for the mission will be debated and selected by April 2014 through an open competition after the scientific objectives for the mission have been formulated.
en.wikipedia.org...

Let's hope they haven't made the final decisions yet and there's room available as the mission plans to send samples back to Earth for analysis which could be really interesting.



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 10:32 AM
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This is very cool. Thank you for posting it!

I must confess when I read your title (before I saw it was you) I thought, "Really? People are searching for their "past lives" on MARS now?!?!?" lol! Then I saw it was you and re-read it as it was intended - whew! The thing is, either title could have worked on ATS just fine! (wipes away tears of laughter)



But as to the information - this is serious progress, like insects preserved in amber, we could learn an incredible amount of what existed in the past on our own planet, and others. It might further the idea of panspermia at some point as well should we find matching organisms...One step closer to solving the mystery of "how did life begin on earth?"

peace,
AB



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 10:51 AM
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a reply to: AboveBoard




I must confess when I read your title (before I saw it was you) I thought, "Really? People are searching for their "past lives" on MARS now?!?!?"


Thanks for the giggle and Happy Easter AB





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