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NASA to search for life on Mars

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posted on Jul, 13 2013 @ 03:28 AM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
Do you have any clue what the conditions on Mars are like? Now why would you think they are looking for present lifeforms under those conditions?



It could be that the conditions on Mars are possibly different to what they originally believed.




posted on Jul, 13 2013 @ 03:44 AM
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Originally posted by arianna

Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
Do you have any clue what the conditions on Mars are like? Now why would you think they are looking for present lifeforms under those conditions?



It could be that the conditions on Mars are possibly different to what they originally believed.


How can it be different when we have rovers on the surface telling us the exact conditions?



posted on Jul, 13 2013 @ 05:34 AM
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If ... What is above - is below.

It would therefore be logical to surmise that a direct comparison could be made between:

' Man existing on many continents at one time, not knowing that there were "others" - just over the perceived horizon.'

And possible other life - acting in the same fashion.

It is all about your place in time. And we are very young; comparatively.

We are learning at a perceptually faster rate and our tech reflects such advances.

Can you imagine a civilization far, far older than ours; with similar goals and aspirations ?

Can't see a huge difference between "looking over the horizon" - And "looking into space" ...
The more we advance ... the further we go.

This must rate as a universal given, relating to intelligent life, assuming we are not an anomaly.

If we are not an anomaly; it would be fair to assume, we should be more open minded and humble.

The universe is something that truly eludes us for now.



posted on Jul, 13 2013 @ 06:23 PM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
How can it be different when we have rovers on the surface telling us the exact conditions?


OK! I posted some links earlier in this thread so i am surprised that you are asking this... There is a wealth of information online about discoveries of trace gasses that really should not be evident on mars. Also the surface conditions varies wildly on mars and you will perhaps be surprises to find what the temperature ranges/pressure ranges are in those deep canyons!

Suffice to say i think that anyone who has done their due diligence has been most excited by the last decade odd worth's of discoveries about martian atmospheric conditions!

And i am not just abusing those exclamation marks purely for dramatic effect! I am actually pretty excited(!) As it turns out i guess they will have to sabotage Elon Musk's rockets otherwise he may eventually be the one to force 'disclosure' ( the type of disclosure required for people who can't google&read) on NASA and the people that are keeping them from letting the lid of all the potential discoveries that still awaits us on mars.

Stellar



posted on Jul, 14 2013 @ 04:02 AM
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Originally posted by StellarX

Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
How can it be different when we have rovers on the surface telling us the exact conditions?


OK! I posted some links earlier in this thread so i am surprised that you are asking this... There is a wealth of information online about discoveries of trace gasses that really should not be evident on mars.

Sigh, ok let's play the game if you have to. How do we know those trace gasses are there? Are we guessing? Or do we KNOW because like I said we have instruments on the surface? You are agreeing with me and arguing to argue.

Also the surface conditions varies wildly on mars and you will perhaps be surprises to find what the temperature ranges/pressure ranges are in those deep canyons!

Why would I be surprised when we KNOW what the conditions are? Like I said in my post you want to argue with for absolutely no reason.


Suffice to say i think that anyone who has done their due diligence has been most excited by the last decade odd worth's of discoveries about martian atmospheric conditions!

Oh? Pray tell what information makes you think "Damn there must be life on the surface of Mars"? Is it the fatal levels of UV rays that alone would prevent life from surviving?


And i am not just abusing those exclamation marks purely for dramatic effect! I am actually pretty excited(!) As it turns out i guess they will have to sabotage Elon Musk's rockets otherwise he may eventually be the one to force 'disclosure' ( the type of disclosure required for people who can't google&read) on NASA and the people that are keeping them from letting the lid of all the potential discoveries that still awaits us on mars.

Stellar

What could there possibly be disclosure about? Your hypocrisy is hilarious. First you go on and on about all the stuff they have made public that is so exciting that now they have to prevent the truth from being made public. Huh? Did you listen to yourself?



posted on Jul, 14 2013 @ 08:03 AM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
Sigh, ok let's play the game if you have to. How do we know those trace gasses are there? Are we guessing? Or do we KNOW because like I said we have instruments on the surface? You are agreeing with me and arguing to argue.


Sigh. We(and by we i mean the scientist who make the findings and the few people, apparently excluding you, that reads about it) know about the trace gasses mostly from earth based observation as far as i remember since the various rovers&lander's very infrequently carry the type of equipment that can either establish this information or figure out what is going on in anything but their immediate surroundings. I am agreeing that we have instruments both on Mars and Earth (and LEO) that are giving us this information but that the information is not being presented to the general public in such a way that they could form a accurate opinion as to what it all means.

Also i COULD just argue for the sake of argument with you ( which you know well enough from previous experience) but that would only mean many more pages of my press clippings so why make this so hard on everyone who would rather remain ignorant?


Why would I be surprised when we KNOW what the conditions are? Like I said in my post you want to argue with for absolutely no reason.


Then why do you seem surprised when i state it as fact ( which we, meaning modestly well informed people, know to be true) that conditions in certain areas of mars as conducive to life?


Oh? Pray tell what information makes you think "Damn there must be life on the surface of Mars"? Is it the fatal levels of UV rays that alone would prevent life from surviving?


Well UV radiation is certainly not good for our DNA but our DNA also evolved to combat the effects and only major changes in our atmosphere will really make that UV radiation more or less dangerous than it is now. Also life as we know it on earth (AFAIK) evolved due to the general iradience of the sun so you can not have it both ways when it comes to Mars or Earth! If you want to discuss the conditions that might have been prevalent on Mars when life first evolved there ( or whether Martian life came form somewhere else perhaps) we can do that but i do not agree that UV radiation is the final&fatal determinant.


What could there possibly be disclosure about?


About the fact that according to our best knowledge at the time the Viking lander's found life back in 76' and since then we have as far as i know not come up with a 'better' ( simplicity&accuracy) method of testing for life. If they had include the very same test on the Pathfinder rovers or on other systems we could have had a wider base for 'speculating' about the viking results but according to the specifications before the viking missions we found life on Mars and we have not since made discoveries that calls that into question. Instead we have found much larger methane emissions that they can explain by tectonic or other known means and have discovered trace emissions of several other gases that are on earth closely associate with extant biological activity.


Your hypocrisy is hilarious. First you go on and on about all the stuff they have made public that is so exciting that now they have to prevent the truth from being made public. Huh? Did you listen to yourself?


I suppose the distinction might be a bit subtle for some so perhaps i should elaborate. What i tried to address is the difference between what the public will for the most part be able to gather form their local and national news after a long day at work, preparing dinner, bathing&feeding the children and doing all the other things associated with living in our economic system and times to what knowledge is available out there for people who make a concerted effort to understand what has been happening in the field of research over the last several decades....


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. ( snip)

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, (snip) ( trying to fit this all into one post)

www.space.com...


Hardly conclusive but the tide has and is still shifting as more and more experts ( who's standing and thus income are coupled to their credibility) no longer see much of a risk in saying what the evidence strongly suggests.

Dug up my press clippings...



posted on Jul, 14 2013 @ 08:22 AM
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The Curiosity rover is a disappointment with regards to astrobiology. We already knew that there was once water on the surface of mars. We haven't learned anything new, and paid $2.5 billion for it.

The big question is not how average the rocks are (geologist), but was there, or is there microbial life on mars (astrobiology)?

To me, the question of life is more important than how some rocks have a higher content of one mineral or another.

What I would like to see on the next rover or rovers:

- a friggn microscope to look for microbial fossils or even living ones. Is that too much to ask?!?
- a drill that can collect samples from at least 2 meters down, cause that's where the microbes would be now, not on the surface
- send the rover to a methane hot spot. Methane production can be caused by microbes, and Mars has some areas with high concentrations of methane. Send the rovers there! The Curiosity rover, by comparison, landed exactly on the opposite side of the planet to the largest methane hot spot, why?
- a sample return mission, again from soil collected from underground



posted on Jul, 14 2013 @ 11:55 AM
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Originally posted by ionwind
The Curiosity rover is a disappointment with regards to astrobiology. We already knew that there was once water on the surface of mars. We haven't learned anything new, and paid $2.5 billion for it.

The big question is not how average the rocks are (geologist), but was there, or is there microbial life on mars (astrobiology)?

To me, the question of life is more important than how some rocks have a higher content of one mineral or another.

What I would like to see on the next rover or rovers:

- a friggn microscope to look for microbial fossils or even living ones. Is that too much to ask?!?
- a drill that can collect samples from at least 2 meters down, cause that's where the microbes would be now, not on the surface
- send the rover to a methane hot spot. Methane production can be caused by microbes, and Mars has some areas with high concentrations of methane. Send the rovers there! The Curiosity rover, by comparison, landed exactly on the opposite side of the planet to the largest methane hot spot, why?
- a sample return mission, again from soil collected from underground


First of all, Curiosity has not reached it's primary destination yet, which is 'Aeolis Mons' -- formerly (and informally) known as Mt. Sharp. It won't reach Mt. Sharp for a few more months. The Rover does not rove very quickly -- it has only gone a few hundred meters in the past 11 months. It can travel about 30 to 50 meters per day, although it may stop along the way and do some science if it finds something interesting.

When it finally does reach Mt. Sharp, there will hopefully be plenty more to look at. Mt. Sharp is a mountain in the center on Gale Crater than was though to be constructed of layer upon layer on sediment that was laid down when Mars was still wet -- i.e., layers of sediment thought to be laid down by water.

It was thought that sometime after Gale Crater was created by an impact, it was possibly filled with water, creating a lake. layer upon layer of sediment (some laid down by the lake water, some by wind) filled the crater completely. after the water disappeared, wind erosion stripped away much of that sediment, uncovering the crater, but leaving parts behind -- Mt. Sharp.

Therefore, geologist believe they could investigate the exposed strata in the canyons on the sides of Mt. Sharp, and get an idea of what was there when those strata were being laid down buy water.



Secondly, Curiosity does have microscopic imagers -- both the MAHLI and the ChemCam devices have a modest amount of microscopic capability. Here is and image from the MAHLI camera:


The total field of view for this image is about 6.5 mm X 6.5 mm. that means that the sand grains in this image are less that 1/4 mm (maybe even 1/10 mm) in diameter -- like the size of a pin prick, and the smallest ones visible are the diameter of a hair. That may not be really strong magnification, but it should be strong enough to see fossils of multi-celled creatures.



Thirdly, Curiosity is not a failure. It is doing what it is designed to do. It is mainly a geology laboratory. It has done chemical and spectroscopic analysis of the soil -- even drilling several cm down into the soil to collect samples there. It has used its X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence analyzer (the CemMin instrument) to identify the minerals present in rocks and soil. More to the point you raise, the CheMin can search for potential mineral biosignatures, energy sources for life or indicators for past habitable environments.

It also has an instrument that can analyze the air and soil, looking for organic compounds -- i.e., the building blocks of life.

Yeah -- it would be great to be able to drill down 2 meters, but that would probably be (a) difficult, and (b) take so much of the available power that there may not be any power left to operate any other science instruments. As for a sample return, they are proposing that the 2020 mission (mentioned by the OP) may have a sample return aspect to it. Again, a sample return would difficult due to the increased weight of the sample return craft -- a rocket capable of returning to Earth would not be a small and light thing.

The bottom line is that it is not just there to look for water, and has in fact done much more than find signs of water. It has also found signs of organic compounds. Once it gets to Mt. Sharp, it will begin its primary mission (looking for definite signs that life could have once arisen on Mars), considering Mt. Sharp was the main target of Curiosity -- although analysis of the floor of Gale Crater was also part of the science mission.

The layers of strata at the base of Mt. Sharp should be interesting.


edit on 7/14/2013 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 14 2013 @ 05:30 PM
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reply to post by Soylent Green Is People
 


I didn't say Curiosity was a failure, it has succeeded as a geology mission.

It did detect some chlorinated hydrocarbons, which is kind of strange, but nothing like say, amino acids. Curiosity also has a a laser spectrometer that can quantify hydrogen, carbon and oxygen isotopes, which can be an indicator for biological activity. The ratios detected so far are negative for biological activity.

The MAHLI instrument has about 20X magnification, and you need at least 400X magnification to see large bacteria. I mean really, how much would it have cost to put a real microscope on the rover? Again, it wasn't done because it is a geology mission, not an astrobiology mission.

As far as drilling 2 meters being too difficult, ESA is already developing a rover that can do exactly that, i.e. drill down 2 meters and has a launch date of 2018: ExoMars rover

Don't get me wrong, the pictures alone are awesome, and the trip to Mount Sharp will be stunning. But an astrobiology mission should have the tools to look for life, past or present. They should also select a landing site where there is a good chance of finding life, e.g. methane hot spots or near the poles where the water permafrost is only inches below the surface (as shown by the Mars Phoenix Lander).

The mission planners should listen to the astrobiolgists more, and NASA has them.



posted on Jul, 14 2013 @ 05:56 PM
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I hope the Comet Siding Spring does hit that Red Planet head on and cause some damage because it will wake them up to the necessity of watching the skies in our own backyard and the need to look for solutions here. What if there is life on Mars what good would it do us. It is not like very many people would ever go there to sustain the human race is it? I think our own planet holds more mysteries to life than a dead Mars ever could. This s the planet we need to protect and seriously look into our own past, maybe the answers that they seek are right here.



posted on Jul, 14 2013 @ 06:04 PM
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Originally posted by whatnext21
I hope the Comet Siding Spring does hit that Red Planet head on and cause some damage because it will wake them up to the necessity of watching the skies in our own backyard and the need to look for solutions here. What if there is life on Mars what good would it do us. It is not like very many people would ever go there to sustain the human race is it? I think our own planet holds more mysteries to life than a dead Mars ever could. This s the planet we need to protect and seriously look into our own past, maybe the answers that they seek are right here.


I agree, Earth should be our first priority.

But even if we find any kind of life anywhere else in our solar system (Mars, Europa, Enceladus), it would mean that life is probably everywhere. To be honest, I would find it more disturbing if we didn't find life anywhere else. Although, it would make what we have even more extraordinary and worth protecting.



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