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Mars Express Sees Deep Fractures on Mars

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posted on May, 7 2011 @ 01:07 AM

Newly released images from the European Space Agency's Mars Express show Nili Fossae, a system of deep fractures around the giant Isidis impact basin. Some of these incisions into the martian crust are up to 500 m deep and probably formed at the same time as the basin.

Nili Fossae interests planetary scientists because observations taken with telescopes on Earth and published in 2009 have shown that there is a significant enhancement in Mars' atmospheric methane over this area, suggesting that methane may be being produced there. Its origin remains mysterious, however, and could be geological or perhaps even biological.


This image shows an area covering approximately 10 300 sq km. It was taken during orbit 5270, on 8 February 2008, using the High-Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express

E SA HiRes Pics

Dr. Mumma’s group used telescopes in Hawaii to examine the light reflected off Mars. Different molecules absorb different wavelengths of light, and the scientists reported seeing black lines in the spectrum corresponding to methane and to water vapor. As Mars rotated, bringing different areas into view of the telescope, the scientists could measure variations in the concentrations.

The concentrations in 2003 were densest over three regions — known as Terra Sabae, Nili Fossae and Syrtis Major — and as high as 45 parts per billion. The scientists said that mineralogy of the surface suggested these areas had flowing water in the far Martian past.

NY Times 2009

Here we have the pic of where they most wanted to look on Mars with one stated goal of finding a biological source of the higher concentrations of methane. The description of the supplied pic couldn't be much more dull and boring. What is there that might be seen here?

posted on May, 7 2011 @ 01:15 AM
Where is your conspiracy? What are you alledging? Yes methane comes from inside rocks. Are you suggesting there was an earthquake? Are martians fracking the rocks? No agenda?

I have one, why is Astrobiology a working career field if there has yet been no life found? Guys pay tons of money to go to Harvard and then get paid tons of money by Nasa to do what, exactly?

posted on May, 7 2011 @ 06:34 AM
This is a spot to watch on Mars. Reading mostly between the official lines it seems the fractures pictured here may image what is below the surface of Mars where a biosource of Methane is most likely to be found.

I wondered what someone a bit more free thinking/speaking than a NASA Astrobiologist might see in this image.

posted on May, 7 2011 @ 06:54 AM
Well this excerpt is from an independent (of NASA) thoughts, still highly speculative.

NASA’s current Mars strategy is to look for signs of water and perhaps life in the planet’s distant past. “Perhaps we need to also think in terms of present-day life holding on somewhere in the subsurface,” said Lisa M. Pratt, a professor of geological sciences at Indiana University who participated in the news conference but was not involved with the research.

Even if the source turns out to be geological in origin or to have come from long-extinct bacteria, the sites would still be prime locations to look for other microbes that thrive on methane as food.

What I am gathering from this and related articles linked is Mars may not be so geologically inactive as we currently thought, at least before a few years ago, outside of the rivers of flowing liquid surface water erosion myths.

posted on May, 7 2011 @ 07:33 AM
reply to post by Illustronic

I think that is a fair assumption. The methane plumes require some activity either geological or biological.

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