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Mars Soil Fit for Life, Tests Confirm

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posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 02:49 PM
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reply to post by zorgon
 


wow zorgon your paranoid... Back it up with facts. Perhaps when they send a manned mission you might believe them... If you want to stay here on earth by all means do so... but a lot is about to go down in the next 20 years because we have polluted the **%* Out of the world. It will take many more years for the earth to heal herself by natural cleaning methods... the whole point in exploring other planets is to learn... not some conspiracy theory of MARTIANS MAN! MARTIANS! Alright... Theres water on mars... swweeeet. Maybe we should send human monkeys to mars to test it out for us. Like they did in australia... colonies of misfits etc. People WHO CHOOSE To corrupt every being of anything that crosses their faces... get over it. Not everything is a conspiracy..

GENERAL WARNING:

Seek medical attention if you beleive in little green man on mars, but upon hearing life might be habitable on mars you think its a hoax. Thearapy is very helpful, those that say it isn't are probably the ones behind you supporting you
Have a nice day




posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 03:01 PM
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reply to post by rjmelter
 


Oh dear!! I do not know you, nor will I ever know you...right?

I only add this comment because.....I do not wish to be flamed by Zorgon!!

Been there, done that!!!!!

Zorgon....I still offer my peace branch. I hope to meet you, someday. Maybe this Fall???? Send the U2U....



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 04:07 PM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocity
So, the point is we'll always be limited in how we exploit Mars, we'll always be living in pressurized containers and wearing self-contained breathing apparatus.
[edit on 6/27/2008 by Doc Velocity]


With current technology maybe, but mars also has lower gravity so we will be able to build really really big structures on the planet. In a 100 years I'm assuming we'll have cracked molecular assembly by then and with that means under our control we can create what I call a Planetary Umbrella. It's a structure several miles in height with a structure somewhat resembling an umbrella or mushroom. Each structure will be build to specifications for it's current location so that it'll be easy to interlock additional canopies and support struts. Think Shimizu Megacity pyramid on steroids. Once an adequate amount of territory is enclosed then the sides of the structure will be sealed and gas will be pumped in to make it habitable. We could do the same on any planet in our solar system that is within tolerances of our materials. Eventually it could eventually take the shape of a planetary Dyson's sphere. The largest challenge would be to acquire enough nitrogen for the terraforming.

[edit on 27-6-2008 by sardion2000]



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 05:04 PM
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Which is the same as what I originally said: We'll always be living in pressurized containers on Mars. It's never going to be as simple as terraforming the planet and generating a breathable atmosphere. It's always going to be a matter of pressurizing an atmosphere within a container of some sort.

Unless, of course... We follow a more logical route of planetary colonization.

And I think that route is actually much more simple than changing an entire world to fit our human needs. Instead, we change ourselves to live comfortably within the existing environments. Genetically engineered colonists.

Genetically engineered colonists ferried to their new home planet by genetically modified spacefarers — humans who are specifically engineered to survive in weightlessness. Think of it. Humans engineered to breathe a thin CO2 atmosphere. Humans engineered to breathe methane. Humans engineered to survive in extremely low gravity, like birds, or in super heavy gravity, like supermen.

The imagination is the only limit.





posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 05:18 PM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocityhumans who are specifically engineered to survive in weightlessness[


Might not be so far off

SPACE WORMS

Space worms land in B.C., after hopping shuttle





Thousands of worms that hitched a ride to Earth on the shuttle Atlantis have arrived safely at a B.C. university, where they could shed light on how space radiation affects humans.

The worms landed with the shuttle Friday afternoon at Edwards Air Force Base in California, six months after their ancestors — now long dead — were sent to the International Space Station.

"The worms are at the lab and appear to be fine," molecular biologist Bob Johnsen told CBC News on Monday.

The worms were sent to the space station to multiply rapidly, a special skill of the C. elegans worm, so Johnsen and his research team at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby could examine their descendants' genes for mutations.

"We are looking for damage to DNA caused by space radiation," Johnsen told CBC News.


www.cbc.ca...

Good Idea
lets breed worms in space and bring them home



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 05:41 PM
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The believability of terraforming Mars in the next century is about as good as me hitting the lottery next week.

For God's sakes. We can't even take out the trash in our own backyard.

One thing I know for sure. Hawking is absolutely correct saying if we do not pioneer new planets our species is as good as dead.



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 06:10 PM
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reply to post by jpm1602
 

I agree with jpm and Doc Velocity. Small asteroids are going to be populated first anyway. They're just as good a source of raw materials, much easier to go to or come back from; there is no gravity well to climb. Sunlight will provide energy 24h/24, rotating cylinders will create artificial gravity as in "2001 A Space Odyssey". No 500 mph sand storms there. And, best of all, no martians.


Manned missions to the Moon and Mars are pointless IMO.



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 06:45 PM
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Originally posted by WISHADOW
Stop making me laugh! This is the joke of the day. The soils PH balance checks out so anyway. . . . . but hey Mission Control is just having fun with their 500 million dollar pooper scooper.


No doubt about that but it's hardly a joke when so much money is used in such a wasteful way; hell they could have bought 1 3/4 F-22's!


I just thought those new satellites were able to test all this out from above.


They have but it's nice now that we observe how their rovers gets stuck in a mud on a 'dry' planet.


What the hell good would it do to live on a wasteland? What looking for more dirt? Hey you got make sure its real dirt and not that fake martian type.


That's presuming that it is in fact a wasteland but since NASA can barely give us true color images it's hard to know if we should trust them when it comes to more complex investigations...


And those rocks have to check out too. Got make sure you can squeeze every bit of water out you can. Hell there's nothing there don't forget.


What do you mean there's 'nothing' there? In fact the newest estimates show that if you melted all the 'dirty' ice on Mars the entire planet might be covered with a few inches....


And there's no face on Mars.


Absolutely not and it was clearly just Nasa trying to play a trick on US! The fact that they have been doing their best to distort all the images of the face since makes a good lot of sense if you presume that they are just playing a joke on us.



This planet was never like Earth and never supported life.


And what do you base that claim on? Do you know that your view has in fact recently become the minority view in even 'scientific' circles?


There was never an atmosphere.


So why are there so much water left? What about the Methane and all the other normal atmospheric gases?


There are no cities like Aramageddon on Mars.


I don't think they are still inhabited but there certainly seems to be structures and ruins of large scale settlement.


There's no glass towers. No pyramids. No roadways or train tracks. There are no underground bases. There are no temples. And there are certainly no bodies to be recovered. And no spaceships will ever be seen.


So you have seen NOTHING on pictures of the Martian surface that gets your attention?


NASA should be shutdown because these publicity stunts are becoming very lame. The Bush Administration does a better job at hide and go seek than these clowns.


NASA SHOULD be shut down for wasting public funds but how their inefficiency and general deceptive and wasteful practices should invalidate the few things that do get past the NASA censors i just don't know!

Stellar



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 07:32 PM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocity
Well, not quite. I think NASA/JPL made a blunder in describing Martian soil as "just like the soil in your backyard"... It's a far cry from viable soil.


That depends on what you would believe when it comes to NASA press releases. It's interesting that some NASA affiliated scientist should claim that the soil is comparable to Earth varieties based on this evidence when there are so many other clues to go by.


The spots they found were 20 percent brighter in the infrared. Smith had told ABC News in an interview that he was not fully aware how to interpret it.

The fact is, Drs. Smith and Maki were not qualified to make the judgment regarding a biological interpretation of the IMP data and Smith's comments to ABC News demonstrate this. The point is both Dr. Peter Smith, and Dr. Justin Maki are excellent scientists in their fields, but why leave something as an important as the search for life on Mars to scientists who are not qualified to make a biological assessment?

Perhaps because of the limited spectral rage of the IR filters employed in their search, the rational was that the Mars Pathfinder IMP camera would only be able to register the most blatant signs of chlorophyll if it were indeed on Mars. No one on the Mars Pathfinder team realistically expected them to find chlorophyll, but yet, something was detected. In 1999, I had an opportunity to conduct an experiment of my own regarding how geologists interpret their findings. Last June, the University of Buffalo, was host to the Second Mars Surveyor Landing Site Workshop.

www.spacedaily.com...



All the detections occurred close to the camera - as would be expected because these were the areas where the camera had the highest sensitivity and resolution.

Close examination revealed that four of the cases occurred on the Pathfinder spacecraft itself, but two regions showed a chlorophyll signature in the soil around Pathfinder.

Previous searches for evidence of chlorophyll in Pathfinder's pictures were carried out shortly after it landed. The lead scientist of the Pathfinder imaging team, Peter Smith, who designed the Mars Pathfinder imaging camera, conducted a rudimentary search for chlorophyll on Mars with Justin Maki, a software designer.

www.guardian.co.uk...



A new test for the presence of vegetation on Mars depends on the fact that all organic molecules have absorption bands in the vicinity of 3.4 . These bands have been studied in the reflection spectrum of terrestrial plants, and it is found that for most plants a doublet band appears which has a separation of about 0.1 and is centered about 3.46 M Spectra of Mars taken during the 1956 opposition indicate the probable presence of this band.TLis evidence and the well-known seasonal changes of the dark areas make it extremely probable that vegetation in some form is present.

www.journals.uchicago.edu...


And no, the idea is not nearly as 'crazy' as it once used to be...


PARIS — Three-quarters of the 250 Mars science experts meeting to analyze the results from U.S. and European Mars probes believe life could have existed on Mars in the past, and 25 percent think life could be there even now, according to a poll released Feb. 25.

The poll was announced during a press briefing following the First Mars Express Conference, held Feb. 21-25 at the European Space Agency’s Estec technology center in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

The results perhaps reflect the sober caution of scientists who refuse to jump to conclusions before conclusive evidence is in about the No. 1 issue on the minds of everyone attending the conference, held to review a year’s operations of Europe’s Mars Express orbiter.

www.space.com...



Martian "soil" is comprised of inorganic compounds such as silica and salts and elemental igneous minerals, which we certainly have here on Earth in abundance. But inorganic sand does not living soil make.


That's what NASA on the one hand claim with much of the evidence apparently pointing the other way. You are however wrong about 'soil' being a requirement for life but it's the type of common mistake people make when they are in too much of a hurry to dismiss a given notion.

en.wikipedia.org... and FAR more interestingly

en.wikipedia.org...

Always put your money on life; if you want to win the bet that is....


Planting anything in Martian soil alone can be likened to planting in a matrix of crushed glass with a little rock salt, iron filings and pulverized basalt thrown in.


And given the right combination of such substances you could probably grow something edible or at least something that can be readily turned into something edible by means of one industrial process or another; it's just as bad to bet against human ingenuity as it is to bet against life finding a way.


Top that off with a few billion years of super-cold temperatures,


But the temperatures are not even that extreme today and given how little we really know about the past of that planet lets just stick to what we do know?


The current martian atmosphere is 99% thinner than the Earth's. The surface temperature averages -64 F (-53 C), but varies between 200 below zero during polar nights to 80 F (27 C) at midday peaks near the equator. The global picture of Mars is sometimes compared terrestrially to Antarctic dry regions, only colder.

www.spacedaily.com...


Not that i agree with the claim that the Martian atmosphere is 99% thinner but i will explain why i think that if you which to proceed in that direction.


only traces of liquid water and constant exposure to hard ultraviolet radiation, and your Martian "garden" is going to enjoy about the same agricultural success as the rest of the Martian surface. Cold, dead and sterile.


Which interestingly may be the exact opposite of current Martian conditions!


Hellas Impact Basin

The depth of the crater (6 to 7 km[1] (3.7 to 4.3 miles) below the topographic datum, or "sea level" of Mars) explains the atmospheric pressure at the bottom: 1155 Pa[1] (11.55 mbar) (.34375 InHG). This is 89% higher than the pressure at the topographical datum (610 Pa, or 6.1 mbar or .18 InHG). The pressure is high enough that water is speculated to be present in its liquid phase at temperatures slightly above 0 ?C (32 F).

en.wikipedia.org...



Newly released images from Mars Global Surveyor contain telltale deposits left behind by liquid water flowing on the surface within the few years that the spacecraft surveyed Mars. Scientists had previously announced the discovery of features that must have been carved by water within the last several million years, but this is the first evidence that water has flowed on Mars' surface while humans have been studying it. "Ten years ago, Mars scientists were talking about water billions of years ago. Five years ago, [Mike Malin and Ken Edgett] were talking about water millions of years ago. I think now we can honestly talk about liquid water on the surface of Mars today. And that revolution in our thinking truly has changed how we view Mars and how we should think about exploring Mars," said scientist Phil Christensen at a press conference held today at NASA Headquarters

The MOC images clearly demonstrate that these features formed in the last few years, while Mars Global Surveyor has been in orbit at Mars. But how do they demonstrate that liquid water was involved? Edgett stated three lines of evidence: their geological context, their morphology, and their brightness with respect to their surroundings. "The context is, these are in gullies. People have been talking for six and a half years about what could form gullies and what could flow through gullies, and, by and large, the consensus is liquid water. It could be acidic water, it could be briny water, it could be water carrying sediment, it could be slushy, but water is involved." This is in contrast to the consensus opinion for the formation mechanism of another currently forming feature on Mars, the so-called slope streaks. Slope streaks are interpreted to be scars left on slopes by an essentially dry process of dust avalanching. "These things are very far away from regions where dry dust avalanches occur -- they occur in a region where those things are not found," Edgett said.

www.planetary.org...



Even on the present-day cold and dusty surface of Mars, liquid water may be sustaining a world of Martian microbes.

Data churned out by NASA's Mars Odyssey suggests that the nearby planet is waterfront property -- at least in the form of below surface deposits of water ice. Odyssey scientists report that the soil very close to the surface over much of the planet contains large amounts of ice.

www.space.com...


Continued



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 07:34 PM
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The findings announced Thursday -- evidence of water seeping to Mars' surface in recently cut gullies -- bridge a gap in the beliefs of astrobiologists, taking them from strong suspicion to near certainty about the existence of liquid water on Mars.

"There's a subtlety between having every reason to believe [water] is there and having this higher level of certainty," said Bruce Jakosky, a professor of geological science at the University of Colorado, and the director of the university's center for astrobiology.

"We now know pretty convincingly that there is liquid water on Mars, and that it's relatively accessible near the surface," he said.

The field of space studies is known to throw curveballs. For instance, scientists last week said the latest evidence of water was found in cooler and darker areas facing away from the equator, while many had previously assumed that liquid water near the surface could only exist in hotter, sun-facing areas.

The discovery of evidence of liquid water on Mars boosts astrobiology.


So we have currently flowing and or standing water and really no reaso to suspect otherwise given a few admitted 'facts'


A team of researchers from the University of Arkansas has measured water evaporation rates under Mars-like conditions, and their findings favor the presence of surface water on the planet. Water on the planet's surface makes the existence of past or present life on Mars a little more likely, according to the group.

Derek Sears, director of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, and his colleagues graduate student Shauntae Moore and technician Mikhail Kareev reported their initial findings at the fall 2003 meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the AAS.

The researchers have brought on-line a large planetary environmental chamber in which temperature, pressure, atmosphere, sunlight and soil conditions can be reproduced. Sears and his colleagues use the chamber to investigate the persistence of water under a range of physical environments and to study its evaporation.

"These findings suggest that even under worst case scenarios, where wind is maximizing evaporation, evaporation rates on Mars are quite low," Sears said. This implies that surface water could indeed exist, or have existed recently, under the given conditions on Mars.

www.spaceref.com...



On Mars the globally-averaged surface pressure of the planet's atmosphere is only slightly less than 6.1 millibars.

"That's the average," says Haberle, "so some places will have pressures that are higher than 6.1 millibars and others will be lower. If we look at sites on Mars where the pressure is a bit higher, that's where water can theoretically exist as a liquid."

science.msfc.nasa.gov...



Now, if you brought a few hundred pounds of Martian dirt back to Earth, shoveled in some high quality cow manure, and dosed it with 20-20-20 Miracle Grow™, you'd probably harvest some decent asparagus.


I would propose that we just take the asparagus there and see what happens or learn to process whatever allready seems to be giving off all that Methane! If were are luckier than suggested here we can proceed directly to slaughtering some cows.



Methane has been found in the Martian atmosphere which scientists say could be a sign that life exists today on Mars.
It was detected by telescopes on Earth and has recently been confirmed by instruments onboard the European Space Agency's orbiting Mars Express craft.
Methane lives for a short time in the Martian atmosphere so it must be being constantly replenished.
There are two possible sources: either active volcanoes, none of which have been found yet on Mars, or microbes.

news.bbc.co.uk...



"I stand before you and tell you, quite honestly, I'm shocked by these results," said Michael Mumma, an astrobiologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Mumma and colleagues discovered unusually high levels of methane at two places in Mars' atmosphere: above the Hellas Basin, a giant impact scar in Mars' southern hemisphere, and Valles Marineris, the great canyon system near the Martian equator.

Methane is a gas that, on Earth, is produced naturally by plants and animals, such as in wetlands and in the stomachs of cows. On Mars, methane is much rarer. It isn't produced in the atmosphere and likely would be destroyed there by chemical reactions within a few hundred years.

So finding methane in the atmosphere suggests that something on Mars' surface is producing it, Mumma said. The question is whether that something is alive.

seattletimes.nwsource.com...



At the same meeting, NASA's Planetary Protection Officer, John Rummel, described the alternative explanations: "methane in the atmosphere...is a detection from the planetary Fourier spectrometer. ESA, the European Space Agency, has put out an announcement that it's been detected at 10 to 20 parts per billion. Well, methane in the atmosphere on Mars can mean one of three things: either vulcanism, possibly microbial life, or maybe cows. We haven't seen the cows yet. I doubt that we'll find them. But one of the other two would be a very interesting thing to find out."

www.astrobio.net...


If wonder if any betting agencies will take your money on that one?


The difference between Terran soil and Martian soil is that our soil is permeated with rich, complex organic molecules, the product of billions of years of Life feverishly living and dying upon and below the Earth's surface. Martian soil is just sterile brick powder.


And you don't really need anything other than sterile brick powder even if that was the case for Mars. Since it does not seem to be the case according to the article why insist that it is?

Stellar



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 08:06 PM
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Originally posted by nablator
Manned missions to the Moon and Mars are pointless IMO.


So then how do you plan we get that HE3 from the Moon? You know the stuff that can power the world for thousands of years with clean safe fuel?



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 08:17 PM
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Originally posted by rjmelter
wow zorgon your paranoid... Back it up with facts.


Ummm what are you talking about here?
the post you responded to simply showed current images from the Lander?


I am not sure how you get 'paranoid' out of any of those posts? You seem to be very confused... perhaps you could enlighten me on what you are on about?

:shk:



Originally posted by weedwhacker
I only add this comment because.....I do not wish to be flamed by Zorgon!!
Been there, done that!!!!!

Zorgon....I still offer my peace branch. I hope to meet you, someday. Maybe this Fall???? Send the U2U....


Perhaps when you knock off the constant BS like your comment above..

As to the 'peace branch' I thought I was very clear... I wanted your honest evaluation of that document 6013... via U2U... It is really simple but as you do not wish to do so I can only assume you have no interest in any of my work... so in that case why would I wish to meet with you, or waste time meeting your demands errrr 'requests' for proof?



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 08:19 PM
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Shell, BP, and all the other gas giants wouldn't like H3 very much.
Legal mob. In bed with every governmental agency.
They don't care if they destroy the planet.

They will be hunkered down in nice safe pavilions while billions die.

Then rise up to retake the planet.



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 08:39 PM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocity

Planting anything in Martian soil alone can be likened to planting in a matrix of crushed glass with a little rock salt, iron filings and pulverized basalt thrown in. Top that off with a few billion years of super-cold temperatures, only traces of liquid water and constant exposure to hard ultraviolet radiation, and your Martian "garden" is going to enjoy about the same agricultural success as the rest of the Martian surface. Cold, dead and sterile.



You obviously have never tried planting in Nevada
We have very similar conditions here with temps reaching 126 F The soil is salty, volcanic glass and basalt mixed in and caliche that stuff sucks the water out of everything and becomes like cement


I DO wonder why he picked 'asparagus' Even the Fox news guy thought that was weird choice...

We get those red dust storms out here too





posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:18 PM
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Originally posted by StellarX
You are however wrong about 'soil' being a requirement for life but it's the type of common mistake people make when they are in too much of a hurry to dismiss a given notion.

I never said that soil was a requirement of Life — you seem to have manufactured that statement for me. Within the context of my comments, I'm not wrong at all. The context pertained to growing asparagus (an Earthly species) on Mars. You may think that Martian temperatures are not so extreme, but if you'd like to test that contention, try growing asparagus in your deep-freezer, which is considerably warmer than the average temperature on Mars.



Originally posted by StellarX
Always put your money on life; if you want to win the bet that is....

It's easy to say "life will find a way" — a pseudoscientific profundity that seems to be increasingly popular with sci-fi enthusiasts — but if you're talking about transplanting Earth vegetation to a radiation-saturated, freeze dried world, you'll make a lot more money betting on instant death.



Originally posted by StellarX
[Cold, dead and sterile] may be the exact opposite of current Martian conditions!

Given what we really know about Mars (as opposed to what you find in that treasure trove of anecdote, Wikipedia), you're placing a lot of faith in the word "may"... I mean, Mars may be hot and steamy and brimming with all sorts of exotic lifeforms, but that's not what we're actually seeing on The Red Planet. Your wanting Mars to be alive doesn't breathe Life into it, even with magical incantations such as "life will find a way."





[edit on 6/27/2008 by Doc Velocity]



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:43 PM
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Originally posted by zorgon
You obviously have never tried planting in Nevada
We have very similar conditions here with temps reaching 126 F The soil is salty, volcanic glass and basalt mixed in and caliche that stuff sucks the water out of everything and becomes like cement

Well, Science tells us that, in our ancient past, the Southwest enjoyed all sorts of varied climate, from volcanic hell to an inland sea to even lush forests. There's evidence of this all over the American Southwest. The place was inundated with Life and Death on a monumental scale over billions of years.

So, as an experiment, go out with a sledgehammer and break up some of that lifeless Nevada hardpan, prepare a few microscope slides of the soil and take a look at what's in there.

It's not just sterile minerals and silica. That hardpan will yield all manner of fresh organic material, as well as microscopic fossils of ancient hardwoods and marine life. Compare any one of those Nevada slides with the microscopic photos of Martian soil. To a trained eye, that Nevada hardpan will look like the Garden of Eden compared to the Martian soil. All signs of life (ancient and otherwise) are utterly absent from the Martian sample.




[edit on 6/27/2008 by Doc Velocity]



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:47 PM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocity
It's not just sterile minerals and silica.


And up to this point we have no reason to doubt that the stuff on mars won't either
What NASA tells us about Mars changes more than I change my socks
I think I will wait awhile before declaring it barren and lifeless



posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 10:05 PM
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Originally posted by zorgon
What NASA tells us about Mars changes more than I change my socks
I think I will wait awhile before declaring it barren and lifeless


Well, it goes without saying that the longer we search, the more we'll learn...hopefully. But when discussing the current state of our scientific knowledge of The Red Planet, the glaring fact is that Mars is not alive. Any counter declaration is pure speculation, at best, and drug-induced fantasy, at worst.

Perhaps tomorrow they'll find a human footprint on Mars with a trilobite fossil embedded in the heel. Until then, Mars isn't even a graveyard. It's just a super-cold ball of dust.







[edit on 6/27/2008 by Doc Velocity]



posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 09:23 AM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocity
I never said that soil was a requirement of Life — you seem to have manufactured that statement for me.



Originally posted by Doc Velocity
Well, not quite. I think NASA/JPL made a blunder in describing Martian soil as "just like the soil in your backyard"... It's a far cry from viable soil.


and :


Martian "soil" is comprised of inorganic compounds such as silica and salts and elemental igneous minerals, which we certainly have here on Earth in abundance. But inorganic sand does not living soil make.


and:


Planting anything in Martian soil alone can be likened to planting in a matrix of crushed glass with a little rock salt, iron filings and pulverized basalt thrown in.


What could you have meant by viable soil other than that it is not inert given how that is the text book definition of soil? Do you still not understand that life can be cultivated in even "crushed glass, iron filings with rock salt and pulverized basalt thrown in" or in the complete absence of soil; 'viable' or not?


Plant physiology researchers discovered in the 19th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant's water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics, but some will do better than others. It is also very easy to do; the activity is often undertaken by very young children with such plants as watercress. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching.

en.wikipedia.org...


So next time just read the links instead of spending your time trying to make fun of what you don't apparently yourself fully understand.


Within the context of my comments, I'm not wrong at all.


It's funny you should say that given how you now seemed to have changed your context to mean that the soil or absence of it isn't the problem at all and that it's instead the 'environment' that is so absolutely devastating to life. .


The context pertained to growing asparagus (an Earthly species) on Mars. You may think that Martian temperatures are not so extreme, but if you'd like to test that contention, try growing asparagus in your deep-freezer, which is considerably warmer than the average temperature on Mars.


So now you are going to argue that it's the 'cold' that kills them when we could obviously employ hydroponic techniques to regulate to better regulate night time temperatures? Since when is this argument about growing asparagus in the absence of human ingenuity and technology?


Production is most successful in areas where freezing temperatures or drought terminates plant growth and provides a rest period. Without this rest period, reduced yields are likely. Asparagus tolerates great temperature variations: it grows in the Imperial Valley of Southern California, where temperatures can reach 115° F, and it grows in Minnesota, where temperatures can plunge to -40° F. Asparagus can be grown in a wide range of soils and under various climatic conditions, but it thrives in fertile well-drained soils in moist temperate regions that have long growing seasons and sufficient light for maximum photosynthesis.

In Minnesota, asparagus is susceptible to late spring frosts that may kill emerged spears, delaying subsequent spear development. Therefore, production fields should not be established in low areas or in other frost-susceptible locations.

www.extension.umn.edu...



The soil requirements found on Mars are less acidity than NASA expected, containing minerals including magnesium, potassium, and sodium with a possibility of other species not yet found in the analysis. If a greenhouse were built strong enough to withstand the Martian weather, plants that do not like acid would grow well—asparagus, turnips, green beans, or even chemical loving bacteria. Meanwhile, the blueberries or strawberries would not fare as well as they are considered acid-loving crops. Unfortunately, no organic carbon has yet been discovered, a necessary building block but traces of water vapor has.

One of the Phoenix mission scientists is known to have said that [Mars] soil “clearly has interacted with water in the past.” Meanwhile, another one jumped up and down when the soil levels were at 8 to 9, instead of the 1 that was expected—not for life survival. The internet is full of the good news is “that the results of both the TEGA and MECA tests have shown our scientists that it’s possible Mars may indeed have hosted, or be hosting, some form of life. ‘Over time I’ve come to the conclusion that the amazing thing about Mars is not that it’s an alien world but that it’s actually very Earth-like,’ Kounaves said.”

Reuters


and:


Martian soil appears to contain sufficient nutrients to support life - or, at least, asparagus - Nasa scientists believe.
Preliminary analysis by the $420m (£210m) Phoenix Mars Lander mission on the planet's soil found it to be much more alkaline than expected.
Scientists working on the spacecraft project said they were "flabbergasted" by the discovery.
The find has raised hopes conditions on Mars may be favourable for life.

"We basically have found what appears to be the requirements, the nutrients, to support life, whether past, present or future," said Sam Kounaves, the project's lead chemist, from the University of Arizona.

news.bbc.co.uk...



"It's very typical of the soil here on Earth minus the organics," Kounaves said during a teleconference from Tucson, Arizona.
On Earth, asparagus, green beans and turnips could be planted in such an environment and chemical-loving bacteria would thrive there, he said.

The heating experiment, which was designed to look for organics, did not yield conclusive evidence of carbon. Scientists planned to study another soil sample taken from further below the surface.

edition.cnn.com...



The soluble mineral nutrients it found, and the dirt's hospitable pH level, are both promising signs. However, the MECA instrument is not able to test for organic compounds such as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, which are also necessary for life as we know it.

"We did find basically that there's nothing about [the dirt] that would preclude life," Kounaves said. "In fact, it seems very friendly."

Though the dirt itself seems to be hospitable, Kounaves pointed out that the very top layer at the surface is exposed to high levels of harsh ultraviolet light that is damaging to organic compounds, so that layer of soil may not be able to support life.

"There could be microbes living meters and meters underground," he said. "They would be very happy."

www.msnbc.msn.com...


And since your talking about global cimate average conditions you probably never considered looking for more specific 'micro climate' specifics:


But Dr. Gilbert Levin of Spherix, Inc., and his son, Dr. Ron Levin of MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, believe differently. They say that liquid water in limited amounts and for limited times can exist on the surface of present-day Mars. They have based their theory on data collected from the Viking landers and on the 1998 Mars Pathfinder mission.
This father-son team has suggested a diurnal water cycle on Mars: water vapor in the air freezes out by night, then during the day the ice melts. As the day progresses, the heat of the Sun causes this liquid water to evaporate back into the air.

It has already been established from Viking photographs that a thin frost does form overnight on certain areas of the martian surface. Unlike many scientists, the Levins believe that this frosty layer does not instantly revert back into water vapor when the Sun rises. They suggest that, in the early hours of the martian morning, the atmosphere more than one meter above the martian surface remains too cold to hold water vapor. So the moisture stays on the ground.

Data from the Mars Pathfinder support this theory, as the Pathfinder temperature readings noted that temperatures one meter above the surface were often dozens of degrees colder than the temperatures closer to the ground.

www.astrobio.net...



"There is going to be a howl, even outrage," over these findings, geologist and isotope geochemist Paul Knauth at Arizona State University told LiveScience. They will say hot springs could have swamped the rocks Ohmoto and his colleagues looked at with normal sulfur, or that the crystals they analyzed washed in from elsewhere, or that their measurements are inaccurate, he said. However, Knauth noted Ohmoto and his colleagues did address these points "and make good arguments."

www.livescience.com...


And no, i am not the only one who suggest that surface conditions are in fact no more extreme than in some places on earth were we can observe life even today.

Continued

[edit on 7-7-2008 by StellarX]



posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 09:25 AM
link   

"This is a historic moment for Mars exploration when a previously neglected region reveals its secrets," Jan-Peter Muller of the University College London said in a statement today. "Speculations that this area might have water close to the surface have been shown to be correct."

The findings could be important for biology, Muller and his colleagues say.

"Higher levels of methane over the same area mean that primitive micro-organisms might survive on Mars today," the statement reads.

www.space.com...



As I detailed in my paper (published in the Ichnology Newsletter - an informal scientific review of trace fossils), the holes in the rocks at the Viking 2 site look very much like the Bryozoan dissolution cavities from my Lake Ontario specimens.

Of course they also look like the sort of holes bivalves produce along the shorelines of California as Dr. Farmer suggested. But that was it - here was a viable biological hypothesis.

The reason I decided to make the comparison between the Lake Ontario rocks and Viking Lander rocks is because no one had postulated a biological interpretation up to this point- at least not in any scientific literature available to me.

www.spacedaily.com...


And more specifically how would the ice in question 'melt' if the North polar regions ( the coldest) where in fact so cold?

"It must be ice," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. "These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days; that is perfect evidence that it's ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."

The chunks were left at the bottom of a trench informally called "Dodo-Goldilocks" when Phoenix's Robotic Arm enlarged that trench on June 15, during the 20th martian day, or sol, since landing. Several were gone when Phoenix looked at the trench early on Thursday, Sol 24.

Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, lead scientist for Phoenix's Surface Stereo Imager camera, said the disappearing chunks could not have been carbon-dioxide ice. At the local temperatures, that material would not have been stable for even one day as a solid.

www.astrobio.net...


The Stereo Surface Imager has by now completed about 55 percent of its three-color, 360-degree panorama of the Phoenix landing site, Tamppari said. Phoenix has analyzed two samples in its optical microscope as well as first samples in both TEGA and the wet chemistry laboratory. Phoenix has been collecting information daily on clouds, dust, winds, temperatures and pressures in the atmosphere, as well as taken first nighttime atmospheric measurements. Lander cameras confirmed that white chunks exposed during trench digging were frozen water ice because they sublimated, or vaporized, over a few days.

Phoenix robotic arm dug and sampled, and will continue to dig and sample, at the 'Snow White' trench in the center of a polygon in the polygonal terrain.

astrobio.net...


And even more interestingly why woudln't the supposedly thin atmosphere create a evaporation effect much faster than the melting would suggest? Do you have ideas as to how to explain that apparent contradiction?


Originally posted by StellarX
It's easy to say "life will find a way" — a pseudoscientific profundity that seems to be increasingly popular with sci-fi enthusiasts —


I suppose i shouldn't say that lest i be confused with the people who in fact mean to suggest that little green men on mars may be breathing carbon dioxide, expelling methane and eating rocks. That being said 'life' in it's most basic of forms DO seem to find a way to survive in exceedingly hostile environments that makes Mars comparatively attractive. That is basically my intent with the claim.


but if you're talking about transplanting Earth vegetation to a radiation-saturated, freeze dried world, you'll make a lot more money betting on instant death.


Well it's not freeze dried at all as things seem to melt and flow as well.... As for the radiation saturation i'm not much impressed with the pseudoscientific profundity that seems increasingly popular with people who read a few books that included pictures of uclear weapons.



Originally posted by StellarX
Given what we really know about Mars (as opposed to what you find in that treasure trove of anecdote, Wikipedia), you're placing a lot of faith in the word "may"...


I sometimes do, as is the failings of the lay 'scientist'/investigator' , but i would appreciate specific disagreements about the supposed anecdotal nature of my press clippings rather than blanket derision as to the potential fallibility of my MSM/consensus sources. As for what we 'really know' it keeps changing as NASA scientist/spokes people so often have to admit.


I mean, Mars may be hot and steamy and brimming with all sorts of exotic lifeforms, but that's not what we're actually seeing on The Red Planet.


What we are seeing is evidence of very recent methane realises with no geological activity in sight, gully and general water flow formations all over planet that happened since 2003, a atmosphere with dense seeming cloud formations and at least some small evidence of snow, soil that in no way seems inhospitable to life as we know, materials in the top soil that either indicates relatively recent geological activity or atmospheric conditions that are comparatively benign and the general signs of a planet that is in no way as 'dead' as THEY once told us.



"The three papers provide an overwhelming case for new thinking about recent geological activity on Mars," writes Baker in an analysis of the work.

Cataclysmic flooding

Baker said the findings support a 1991 hypothesis, then considered outrageous, that Mars has experienced episodes of cataclysmic flooding in modern times. Water is thought to have formed temporary seas, but researchers had long assumed it all evaporated into the thin Martian air.

Many scientists now agree that much of the water remained.

www.space.com...



To operate the Mössbauer, Spirit deploys her arm and the device, pressing the flat, contact plate directly against the chosen patch of soil. "Each mineral has its own distinctive Mössbauer pattern, like a fingerprint," explained the lead scientist for this instrument, Goestar Klingelhoefer, of Johannes Gutenberg University, in Mainz, Germany. When the data is returned to Earth, the measurements are displayed in graphs as peaks, with the most abundant mineral boasting the tallest peak.

One unexpected finding from Spirit's Mössbauer measurements was its detection of a considerable amount of olivine in the soil, a silicate mineral that is made up of silicon, oxygen, iron, magnesium. In fact, there was more olivine registering than any other single material. "It is the kind of mineral that one finds in igneous rocks, volcanic rocks, lava, and basalt," Squyres explained. Although olivine actually forms in a number of different rocks, it is, for the most part, a primary igneous mineral. "It is not something that you form as a result of lots of chemical weathering," he pointed out.

"We were surprised about finding olivine in the soil, because we expected weathering material like iron oxides and we haven't seen this yet," Klingelhoefer told The Planetary Society later. " We expected to see a little bit of olivine, which is usually around from the rocks, but this amount was a little bit of a surprise."

www.planetary.org...




Methane is not a stable molecule in the Martian atmosphere. If it was not replenished in some way, it would only last a few hundred years before it vanished.

Scientists see two possibilities, both of them scientifically important, but one of them is sensational.

It is possible that the methane is being produced by volcanic activity. Lava deposited on to the surface, or released underground, could produce the gas.

This explanation has some difficulties, however. So far, no active volcanic hotspots have been detected on the planet by the many spacecraft currently in orbit.

If active volcanism were responsible then it would be a major discovery with important implications. The heat released by any volcanism would melt the vast quantities of sub-surface ice discovered on the planet, producing an environment suitable for life.

news.bbc.co.uk...


Continued




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