Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

Water And Life On Mars

page: 1
74
<<   2  3 >>

log in

join
+61 more 
posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 10:55 PM
link   

Water On Mars


When many view satellite images of Mars, they see a dry, uninhabitable wasteland devoid of any water or life. However, in the past couple of years, evidence has surfaced which shows that water used to flow on the surface. In the past, Mars could have had oceans and lakes on it's surface just like Earth currently does.

When water flows over dirt on Earth, there are certain characteristics left in the ground that follow. These structures left in the dirt are seen in
satellite images of Mars surface, leading scientists to believe that liquid water used flow on the surface.

Earth:
Dried up lake bed

Lake erosion:



Mars:

In the center of the image is a round- ended chasm or canyon, deeper than the Grand Canyon on Earth. The walls of the chasm form steps down to its floor, and each step is a layer of tough, strong rock; there must be weaker rock layers between the steps. These layers extend for hundreds of kilometers, and may have formed originally as sediments (mud and sand) deposited in an ancient lake.
Source

The evidence seen in the terrain of these images makes it pretty clear that water was once present on Mars surface.

This article discusses definitive proof of the shoreline of a Martian lake, roughly the size of Lake Champlain. (No images, sorry)

Scientists have discovered the first definitive evidence of shorelines on Mars. Using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the team found evidence of a deep, ancient lake. The finding could be important in the search for past life on the Red Planet.


More parallels between Mars and Earth are seen with the discovery of hematite on Mars surface. Hematite is a combination of iron and oxygen, and this mineral is found on Earth in environments that once interacted with liquid water.

"We believe that the gray hematite is very strong evidence that water was once present in that area," said Victoria Hamilton, a planetary geologist at Arizona State University (ASU). "We think the deposit is fairly old. It was buried, perhaps, for several hundred million years or more and now it's being exposed by wind erosion."

This brings up the question: What happened to the water on Mars? Where did it all go? Some scientists believe that the planet began to cool after
it’s formation, diminishing the iron cores ability to generate a protective magnetic field. This allowed the charged particles emitted from the solar
winds of the Sun to ionize the atmosphere, slowly eating away at it. The loss of Mars atmosphere slowly stripped the planet of its warmth and
pressure, both necessary factors for the presence of liquid water.

However evidence suggests that underneath the frozen carbon dioxide poles of Mars lies millions of gallons of frozen water, the remnants of the oceans
and lakes that once flowed. Orbiting spacecraft have found evidence that water does exist underneath the poles, and measurements of soil
composition have detected high levels of Hydrogen, water being 2 parts Hydrogen and 1 part Oxygen (H2O).



In this false-color map of Mars, soil enriched in hydrogen is indicated by deep blue. Source: the neutron spectrometer onboard NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft.
From the article:

"This is the best direct evidence we have of subsurface water ice on Mars." Indeed, he added, "what we have found is much more ice than we ever expected."
It's estimated that there is 100X as much H2O in the Martian polar ice caps than in all 5 of the Great Lakes.

This frozen water could actually be underneath the surface of the entire planet, as evidence from the odd configuration of debris from asteroid impacts on the surface suggets. Also, photographic evidence of ice evaporating supports that:


Not only is frozen water found a few inches underneath the surface, but it's also found in the form of snow:

A laser instrument designed to gather knowledge of how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars has detected snow from clouds about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) above the spacecraft's landing site. Data show the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground.


In an act of seredipity, the Mars Spirit Rover got one of it's wheels jammed in the dirt, and after freeing itself it found silica-rich soil, which on Earth is associated with geysers.

There are two known ways that such silica-rich soil - which is 90% pure silicon dioxide - could have formed. Water heated by subsurface volcanic activity, with lots of silica dissolved in it, could have percolated up into the soil, and then as it evaporated left the silica behind....


Some scientists believe that liquid water may still be present in certain areas of the planet, because under the right conditions, aquifers could be underground.

Here's a picture indicating that liquid was flowing on the surface in the last few years:
A picture of the exact same spot was taken again in 2001, but nothing too interesting showed up. However in 2005, a white residue appeared showing either flowing liquid water or the evaporation of liquid that flowed on the surface:
So just in this one area of Mars, we have an image providing evidence of flowing liquid, a later image of the same spot showing nothing exciting, and then an image taken after that one showing liquid water or liquid water that has recently evaporated.


Here is a before an after image of a crater showing a white residue thought to be caused by the evaporation of flowing liquid on the surface:


This image shows evidence of recent underground water seepage on a crater rim:


The evidence is overwhelming: Water once flowed on the surface of Mars.


 



Life On Mars


So what does this mean for Mars? If water was present, could life have developed? It's definitely a possibility.

Since the oceans and lakes have dried up, does that mean that any living creatures have gone extinct? Not necessarily, because since evidence shows that water and ice exist under the surface, perhaps life has adapted to the changing environment and moved underground. This is not impossible, because here on Earth, creatures called extremophiles live in some of the harshest, presumably most uninhabitable places on the planet, such as next to hydrothermal vents, underwater beneath ice near the poles, or in extremely salty waters.

What would Martian life forms look like? Most scientists agree that the most prevalent life forms would also be the hardest ones to detect: bacteria.

A highly controversial image taken from the Mars meteorite ALH84001 shows what some see as a fossilized life form, and others see as a rock tricking the mind:


Along with this “fossilized life form”, iron-oxide
crystals called magnetite have been found inside of
the meteorite.


The meteorite does contain magnetite, but the results of an analysis by Kim and other scientists in 1999 proved inconclusive – the
magnetite’s magnetic signature looked like something in between the signals expected for biogenic and non-biogenic magnetite.


Magnetite is a mineral within it’s own magnetic field, and on Earth it can be created by certain ocean dwelling bacteria. Bacteria use this to their advantage by growing magnetite crystals in their bodies which help orient them to the Earth’s magnetic field. Maybe bacteria on Mars had the same idea?

But if life developed on Mars, what kick-started the process? Well for one liquid water would need to be present according to our current understanding of how life develops. But what actually created the 'spark' that got life going? How about dry lightning?

It might even have implications for the origin of life, as suggested by experiments in the 1950s


Where would Martian life live at? In Yellowstone and other hot springs around the Earth, some forms of life make a living in the mineral rich hot-spots:


Some scientists believe that the molten interior of Mars
has not fully cooled from it’s accretion, and these mineral rich “hot spots” could exist underground in which bacteria would thrive.

Or, if Mars molten core indeed fully cooled and solidified as many believe, life could exist underground where the ice/aquifers are at, or possibly at the polar ice caps where tons of frozen water exists. The presence of methane hotspots backs this idea up.


“Methane is quickly destroyed in the Martian atmosphere in a variety of ways, so our discovery of substantial plumes of methane in the northern hemisphere of Mars in 2003 indicates some ongoing process is releasing the gas,” said Dr. Michael Mumma of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “At northern mid-summer, methane is released at a rate comparable to that of the massive hydrocarbon seep at Coal Oil Point in Santa Barbara, Calif.”


Methane is broken down in just a few months on Mars due to high doses of UV radiation and perhaps dry lightning. So if there’s methane, something is resupplying it. On Earth methane is released during volcanic eruptions, however Mars volcanoes have been inactive for millions of years. Another explanation for the presence of methane is underground, basaltic rock getting turned into a mineral called serpentine which releases methane, and it can seep up through the ground and come out in the atmosphere, however this process requires hot water. The explanation that I like the most is bacteria producing the
methane. Here on Earth, 90% of methane is produced by bacteria in animals and plants, so maybe on Mars bacteria could be living underground, among the frozen water or the liquid aquifers, and producing the methane.

Stay tuned, new discoveries might be made everyday.
 

Source: The Universe:
Episode 2: Mars: The Red Planet,
Episode 58: Mars: The New Evidence
edit on Sun Jul 10 2011 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)
edit on Sun Jul 10 2011 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)
edit on Sun Jul 10 2011 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 11:00 PM
link   
reply to post by TupacShakur
 


Thank you for the copious amount of detail in your post. Also it was a great read! Loved the pictures. But your fourth last picture of how Mars would have looked like with the water and atmosphere draws a close resemblance to environmental conditions on Earth.

I just wonder how it was made possible that Mars dried up like a prune and into dust?! Was it too close to the Sun? Did asteroids blast it a few times to create high heat conditions thus vaporizing life on the planet? Or did a higher level civilization of aliens with huge motherships suck up the physical contents on the planet thus making it uninhabitable? The theories are boundless!

*SnF*
edit on 9-7-2011 by Skywatcher2011 because: added word



posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 11:02 PM
link   
Awesome thread OP I appreciate you taking the time to lay it out so well and for the new pictures ( to me anyways ) of what is believed to be new wate seepage etc.

S and F most definently!



posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 11:04 PM
link   
reply to post by TupacShakur
 


Star n Flag, excellent post and good detail too

You know I just finished watching the movie Sanctum and it's about cave explorers, but underground
Imagine the caves that might be in Mars, would be awesome to check out

If there was water then maybe there are some very large caves under the ground in Mars
who knows what we could find there, just the thought of if is fascinating

I believe there was nuclear war on Mars that's why it looks like.... well like there was a Nuclear War there



posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 11:05 PM
link   
reply to post by Skywatcher2011
 



I just wonder how it was made possible that Mars dried up like a prune and into dust?!
In the OP I explained probably the more popular theory that as Mars cooled after it's formation, the interior molten core solidified, slowly weakening the magnetic field, leaving the planet and atmosphere vulnerable to charged particles from the sun. Over time those particles ionized the atmosphere slowly eating away at it. Since the atmosphere was damaged, the pressure and warmth of the planet was altered, both factors necessary for the presence of liquid water.


Or did a higher level civilization of aliens with huge motherships suck up the physical contents on the planet thus making it uninhabitable?
I like this one the best.
edit on 9-7-2011 by TupacShakur because: To edit my post



posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 11:08 PM
link   
reply to post by Skywatcher2011
 


No way the reason was it's too close to the sun. The Earth is closer.



posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 11:34 PM
link   
reply to post by TupacShakur
 


Good thread! I was hoping that you'd bring forward something I didn't know and you did. I knew all of that except for the methane segment of the OP. If I'm reading that correctly, the most likely source of the methane is extant microbes, no?



posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 11:35 PM
link   
Wow, that was a great write-up, very informative and well put together. Where to start? I have always noticed how deceiving the structures located on planets' surfaces can be when the pictures are taken from above, effectively making it difficult to determine whether a structure is convex or concave. Without knowing any better, I would have concluded that one of those first images wasn't a canyon at all, but a hill. The same effect takes place when viewing images of the Moon.

I have always believed that Mars started cooling and in-turn lost its magnetic field, causing the depletion of surface liquid to a large degree. I don't think I have ever truly believed that water is necessary for all life in the universe, however it doesn't seem to matter in the case of Mars, since there is water present.

I am wondering if there are elaborate cave structures on Mars, caused by, among other factors, erosion. This could allow for larger animals to dwell in Mars' interior, where the temperature remains fairly constant and warm, although it is more likely that any life would be microbial, for the most part.

I never knew that there was such an abundance of processes involving water, in whatever form, taking place on the Martian surface, and it is intriguing. Again, I am glad that you made this thread, and I think you have done an excellent job.
edit on 7/9/11 by JiggyPotamus because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2011 @ 11:37 PM
link   
great thread, OP.


there are theories that in Mars' distant past it suffered a massive impact, which caused many of its unique features, including its 'two-faced' nature (one half of the planet is relatively smooth, the other is not).

www.dailygalaxy.com...
www.world-science.net...

there is speculation that this impact is what blew Mars' atmosphere right off it.

arcturi.com...


more wild theories then surmise that the organic debris that originated on Mars seeded the Earth...

www.huffingtonpost.com...
www.naturalnews.com...


anyhow... great thread again. Mars is fascinating and no doubt holds a key to understanding the nature and origins of our solar system.



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 04:48 AM
link   
The presence of methane detectible on Mars has sprung a great deal of speculation since 2003/04 and the origins of the 10 parts per billion or so quickly dissipating into the Marian atmosphere once released from the surface may not have a firm answer until we get data from the soon to be launched Mars Science Laboratory later this year.

This is a very lengthy subject to cover so let me outline. Methane is abundant on the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, where it was the product of chemical processing of primordial solar nebula material. Saturn's moon Titan is teaming with methane. Exoplanets recently discovered are glowing with methane. On Earth, though, methane is special. Of the 1,750 parts per billion by volume of methane in Earth’s atmosphere, 90 to 95 percent is biological in origin.

The best way to judge whether methane has a biological origin is to look at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 in the molecules. Living organisms preferentially take up the lighter C-12 isotopes as they assemble methane, and that chemical signature remains until the molecule is destroyed. But isotope signals are subtle, best performed by accurate spectrometers placed on the martian surface rather than on an orbiting spacecraft. It's more complicated than that, the C-12 to C-13 ratio of methane alone is not always proof of life.

Methane can be a product of subsurface water reaction to rock, but that requires heat, that Mars lacks on or near its surface. I don't think Mars is a solid dead rock, its sheer volume would suggest some molten activity deep below its crust, and could be a source of abiogenic methane. CO2 vents near the polls annually erupt in Titan-like vents due to the seasonal change from the faint heat from the sun, fissures in the Martian crust could run deep and or connect to ancient lava tubes, extending possibly to a warmer subsurface heat.

When the water gets trapped over very, very long time periods, an abiogenic reaction between water and rock makes methane, ethane, propane and butane. Precambrian igneous rock studied from the Canadian shield yielded such results of methane signatures not of a biologic origin, as do the deep mid Atlantic vents.

There are too many links and research into this specific topic that I don't want to derail this thread too far into.

Many scientists more qualified than me will stand firm that Mars had great bodies of liquid water on its surface in a distant past but it just doesn't make sense to me, and if it did near the time of accretion, that is not a habitable time for life to form. It took a billion years for earth to cool after accretion for the first biological single cell to arrive and another 2.8 billion years after that to evolve to the lofty advance life form similar to a common earth worm.

I don't buy life on Mars ever beyond microbial, and not sure I even buy that. That's even more involved of a subject as to when mineral compounds become organic, I side with a living cell to define life, beyond chemical reactions.

I will star or flag this nicely presented thread topic if I can figure out how, (I believe I have done that before). Nice job!



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 08:02 AM
link   

Originally posted by Skywatcher2011
reply to post by TupacShakur
 


Thank you for the copious amount of detail in your post. Also it was a great read! Loved the pictures. But your fourth last picture of how Mars would have looked like with the water and atmosphere draws a close resemblance to environmental conditions on Earth.

I just wonder how it was made possible that Mars dried up like a prune and into dust?! Was it too close to the Sun? Did asteroids blast it a few times to create high heat conditions thus vaporizing life on the planet? Or did a higher level civilization of aliens with huge motherships suck up the physical contents on the planet thus making it uninhabitable? The theories are boundless!

*SnF*
edit on 9-7-2011 by Skywatcher2011 because: added word


I like the Theories of Immanuel Velokosvky, that say a comet now known as Venus passed close to the planet that Mars was the moon. This does seem unlikely given our current understanding of the mechanism of our solar systems beginning but I still say it is on the table as possible.

That theory says the planet exploded and blew the atmosphere off of Mars, THEN it dried up like a prune as there was no way for the remaining atmosphere to equibrilize to the original state. Thus changing forever the moisture content in the ground like a wick moving water up to the atmosphere that we see today. Photo's of Mars appear to reveal a scar upon one side to support the theory and then there is the asteroid belt. That is a possible exploded planet. It would explain the icy comets we have too. It would also explain why scientist think we have rocks from Mars and they show that microorganism once lived in them. I believe in the electric universe theory also and that could add to the idea by saying something like the orbitals are like an atom, there are levels of energy where planets could exist. I am not saying it is so, I am saying it is on the table.
edit on 10-7-2011 by Justoneman because: cause



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 10:02 AM
link   

Originally posted by Terrorist
If I'm reading that correctly, the most likely source of the methane is extant microbes, no?


We don't have enough information yet to say whether the methane on Mars comes through non-biological geologic processes, or whether life is involved.

As Illustrionic mentioned above, hopefully the Mars Science Laboratory will give us more answers next year.



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 10:15 AM
link   
reply to post by Illustronic
 





Many scientists more qualified than me will stand firm that Mars had great bodies of liquid water on its surface in a distant past but it just doesn't make sense to me, and if it did near the time of accretion, that is not a habitable time for life to form. It took a billion years for earth to cool after accretion for the first biological single cell to arrive and another 2.8 billion years after that to evolve to the lofty advance life form similar to a common earth worm.

I don't buy life on Mars ever beyond microbial, and not sure I even buy that. That's even more involved of a subject as to when mineral compounds become organic, I side with a living cell to define life, beyond chemical reactions.



Care to explain the apparent absence of craters in the northern hemisphere compared to the southern
Hemisphere?





I think this is the answer; everyone has their own suppositions i surmise...


edit on 10-7-2011 by TheUniverse because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 10:39 AM
link   
Very interesting information OP,thanks.

It wouldnt surprise me if their once was water on Mars,seems like there still is.



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 10:53 AM
link   

Originally posted by TheUniverse
...Care to explain the apparent absence of craters in the northern hemisphere compared to the southern
Hemisphere?...


Water is one answer. Lava flows is another possible answer.

Using our own Moon as an example, the side of the Moon that faces the Earth has fewer visible impact craters because lava flows the created the "mare" has flattened out that part of the surface (and, no, it's not because the Earth was shielding that side of the Moon. The Earth is too far from the Moon to make that big a difference).

Having said that, I believe water once flowed freely on Mars, possibly creating seas or even oceans.



edit on 7/10/2011 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 10:56 AM
link   
reply to post by TheUniverse
 


More of the CO2 vents on Mars seem to be more active in the south polar region than the north polar region which apparently is contradictory to tectonic activity eroding impact craters. So no, I have no explanation for more impact craters in the south opposed to the north of Mars, if indeed this is the case. The most severe terrain extremes on Mars seem to be located equatorially, ie. furthest from the core. To me this implies ancient scars from a relatively inactive body.

Is there something you want to suggest about that? If so I'm all ears, (eyes here).



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 11:00 AM
link   
Found this film from Professor John Talbot. He is an electrical physicist. An electrical discharge from a large object passing Mars may explain almost all the surface anomalies. The asteroid belt presents a nice smoking gun as it is right next to Mars. The belt itself indicates some kind of possible collision. Sumerian stories tell of Marduk's (Nibiru) war with Tiamat (Half of earth is half of Tiamat and the other half of Tiamat is the asteroid belt). Many of us have been researching Nibiru, a planet that may be four times larger than Jupiter. Know imagine that passing by mars and the electrical imbalances between mars and Nibiru caused the electrical discharges on Mars’s surface as the planet transitioned past.

Well check it out. Personally Dr. Talbot has presented a compelling argument.

www.youtube.com...

.



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 11:05 AM
link   
reply to post by Soylent Green Is People
 


Take note of the seemingly visible signs 'that look like water erosion' in this thread about the moon, which is really impact rays of ejecta or slow light debris runoff slides, and Mars has sandstorms the moon doesn't. I'm still in the camp that liquid water didn't ever flow on Mars, for whatever that is worth. Liquid water simply can't exist on the surface of Mars, I believe those signatures are from something else, respectfully.



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 11:20 AM
link   
Thanks for all the great info and hope to read about others planets soon. Quality post



posted on Jul, 10 2011 @ 11:28 AM
link   
Some tentative dates for the disappearance of the water on Mars estimate it at about 4-4.5 billion years ago. On earth according to wiki the first simple cells called prokaryotes started to appear around 3.8 billion years ago. As dates of such antiquity are always speculative they're in the same ball park as far as evolution is concerned. Could it be that some cataclysmic event occured to the Solar System as a whole?





new topics

top topics



 
74
<<   2  3 >>

log in

join