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Originally posted by Anonymous ATS
The microbes have similar structure to microbes here on Earth. They have a distinct head tail and long abdominal structure. But how if life is so very conditional could they have evolved in almost exactly the same way as microbes on Earth , a completely different condition and environment?
Originally posted by Jay-in-AR
reply to post by Phage
Phage, you also didn't answer my question that I asked you in my first posting in this thread. Care to?
Namely THIS question: Phage, even if the methane was pent up in "cages" as they say, wouldn't you expect quakes be necessary in order to release them? If they were simply seeping out this entire time, why would they measure in amounts comparable to our modern coal industry plants over certain areas only? (without any evidence of quakes, or volcanic activity to jar it loose) I mean, if it were a common occurence, surely it wouldn't be even as recent a discovery as 2003, as obviously we have been searching for things such as methane since we first went there.
[edit on 15-1-2009 by Jay-in-AR]
[edit on 15-1-2009 by Jay-in-AR]
Originally posted by Nirgal
I would imagine if methane is stored in a porous rock formation systematic expansion or contraction of said rocks might be enough to release the gas into the atmosphere.
Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by Jay-in-AR
The plumes are not a slow release. They are seasonal, occurring in the summer, and represent a large volume of gas. This could indicate that the methane is trapped by ice during the winter and released as the ice sublimates. It isn't known whether the same areas release methane on a regular basis.
Something that is almost as interesting as the methane plumes is the fact that away from the plumes there is very little methane found, indication that something (other than sunlight) is "consuming" it.
Scientists at the US space agency NASA have found new evidence of methane gas and water vapour in the atmosphere of Mars, which they say might have been produced by living organisms. But they stress that the discovery is not definite evidence of life on Mars. The scientists trained three highly-powerful infra-red telescopes onto the surface of Mars for seven years, and found large plumes of methane coming from beneath the crust of the planet. They believe the gas could have been produced by microbes, very small living organisms, which may now be extinct. Another possible explanation is that the gas might have formed as a result of volcanic activity. NASA is due to send a small, robotic, roving laboratory to Mars in 2012 to examine the gas more closely.
Originally posted by Smugallo
I knew when I read the first page of The Sun a thread would pop up on this. None of the other tabloids reported this, and big sites like Space.Com and Spacedaily.Com never reported this. Sensationalism by The Sun to sell papers probably. Methane was detected on Mars as far back as 2003!
Originally posted by spin-FX
lets just leave it at that until we have more data.
Maybe Mars even has life today. The evidence sent back from Mars by two Viking Landers in 1976 and 1977 was not clearcut (6). In fact, NASA's first press release about the Viking tests announced that the results were positive. The "Labelled Release" (LR) experiments had given positive results. But after lengthy discussions in which Carl Sagan participated, NASA reversed its position, mainly because another experiment detected no organics in the soil. Yet Gilbert V. Levin, the principal designer of the LR experiment, still believes the tests pointed to life on Mars (7). When the same two experiments were run on soil from Antarctica, the same conflicting results were obtained (LR - positive; organics - negative.) Soil from Antarctica definitely contains life. The test for organics was negative because it is far less sensitive than the LR experiment. The same problem could have caused the organics test on Mars to give a false negative.
In 1998, NASA's Associate Administrator Wesley Huntress, Jr., stated, "Wherever liquid water and chemical energy are found, there is life. There is no exception."
Could there, then, be life on Mars? In the mid-1970s, the Viking Lander mission's Gas Exchange Experiment detected strong chemical activity in the martian soil. Liquid water seems to be the one element needed for the equation of life on Mars. The presence of water there, however, is still hotly contested.
The 1976 Viking Mission LR results met all the pre-mission criteria established for the experiment by NASA and its scientific review committees for proof of life on Mars.
However, the failure of the GCMS to find organic matter in the Martian surface material led to caution. Accordingly, Levin did not claim the LR experiment had detected life, but merely stated that the results were consistent with biology. Other scientists stated that, without organic matter, there could be no life.
All the links necessary for life on Mars have been forged:
* terrestrial microorganisms can live under Martian conditions; there is liquid water available to microorganisms on Mars;
* contrary to the GCMS results, organic matter seems certain to be on Mars (photo-chemically synthesized from the atmospheric gases and also deposited by meteorites);
"Confirm" is the word of choice because the Viking Landers already found evidence for Martian life in 1976. There are some scientists that will no doubt say the results were inconclusive, but for how much longer can they say this is the question.
Dr. Levin and Straat put together the scientific argument that the Viking GCMS should not have been used as "the court of appeals" on whether the Viking biology experiments found evidence for life on Mars or not.
In a scientific paper published in 1981, Levin and Straat demonstrated that in pre-flight-to-Mars testing of an Antarctic soil sample (#726), that their Viking Labeled Release experiment found microbial activity in the same sample of soil that was tested by the Viking GCMS.
The tests showed that the pre-flight Viking GCMS test model could not detect organic molecules in Antarctic soil sample that contained life. Yet this would be the instrument used to render the final verdict against any positive evidence of life on Mars that might have been found by the Viking biology instruments.
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.
"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.
Furthermore, he says winds should spread water vapour through the atmosphere too quickly for it to be concentrated in certain spots. "It would take a tremendous source of water in the surface to pump water into the atmosphere faster than it would be redistributed," he says.
Krasnopolsky, standing by his methane detection, says winds should spread the trace amounts of methane around too. He believes the methane he detected is produced by bacteria that live in "oases" where liquid water can exist - however briefly - on the Martian surface, due to heating by sunlight or by a hydrothermal source.
He argues that a non-biological source of methane is unlikely because crater-counting methods suggest no surface lava on Mars is younger than 10 million years old.
But he will not rule out the possibility that underground bubbles of methane from ancient volcanism might somehow be brought to the surface to replenish the atmosphere.
Because researchers believe that methane can persist in the Martian atmosphere for less than 300 years, any methane they find can be assumed to arise from recent biological processes, produced, for example, by methane-producing bacteria. This close link gives methne its less scientific name of swamp gas.
The European Mars Express mission is capable of detecting methane in the martian atmosphere. As Agustin Chicarro, Mars Express Project Scientist said, these "investigations will provide clues as to why the north of the planet is so smooth and the south so rugged, how the Tharsis and Elysium mounds were lifted up and whether active volcanoes exist on Mars today."
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."