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Thread: Presence of Life on Mars

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    Default Presence of Life on Mars

    New Analysis of Viking Mission Results Indicates Presence of Life on Mars
    Washington State University ^



    Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University and Joop Houtkooper of Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany, argue that even as new missions to Mars seek evidence that the planet might once have supported life, we already have data showing that life exists there now—data from experiments done by the Viking Mars landers in the late 1970s.


    “I think the Viking results have been a little bit neglected in the last 10 years or more,” said Schulze-Makuch. “But actually, we got a lot of data there.” He said recent findings about Earth organisms that live in extreme environments and improvements in our understanding of conditions on Mars give astrobiologists new ways of looking at the 30-year-old data.


    (Excerpt) Read more at physorg.com ...
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    Default Re: Presence of Life on Mars

    Earlier probe may have killed Martian life
    MonstersandCritics.com ^ | 1/8/07



    Two 1970s-era Martian rovers may have discovered microbes but killed them by accident, U.S. and German researchers said.


    Two scientists said the failure of NASA`s Viking probes to find life on Mars could have been based on how life was defined, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported Monday. Life was defined as being based on water in the mid 1970s.


    'It`s a plausible hypothesis that explains the Viking results quite well,' said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist at Washington State University at Pullman, Wash. He and his German colleague, Joop Houtkooper of Justus Liebig University presented this theory during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.


    Schulze-Makuch and Houtkooper said hydrogen peroxide detected by Viking could have come from killing Martian microbes that use hydrogen peroxide the same way humans use water. Chemical analysis was done by mixing samples with water. This would have lead to a chemical reaction in a microbe with hydrogen peroxide, killing it and releasing the peroxide.


    Because of the cold conditions, Martian microbes might be expected to contain hydrogen peroxide because of its lower freezing point, he said.


    (Excerpt) Read more at science.monstersandcritics.com ...
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    Default Re: Presence of Water AND Life on Mars

    Hints of huge water reservoirs on Mars
    19:00 25 January 2007
    NewScientist.com news service
    David Shiga


    Mars once had enough water for a global ocean several hundred metres deep, but where has it gone? (Illustration: NASA/Greg Shirah)

    Mars is losing little water to space, according to new research, so much of its ancient abundance may still be hidden beneath the surface.


    Dried up riverbeds and other evidence imply that Mars once had enough water to fill a global ocean more than 600 metres deep, together with a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide that kept the planet warm enough for the water to be liquid. But the planet is now very dry and has a thin atmosphere.


    Some scientists have proposed that the Red Planet lost its water and CO2 to space as the solar wind stripped molecules from the top of the planet's atmosphere. Measurements by Russia's Phobos-2 probe to Mars in 1989 hinted that the loss was quite rapid.


    Now the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has revealed that the rate of loss is much lower. Stas Barabash of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Kiruna led a team that used data from Mars Express's ASPERA-3 instrument (Analyzer of Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms).
    Its measurements suggest the whole planet loses only about 20 grams per second of oxygen and CO2 to space, only about 1% of the rate inferred from Phobos-2 data.


    If this rate has held steady over Mars's history, it would have removed just a few centimetres of water, and a thousandth of the original CO2.


    Huge amounts

    Either some other process removed the water and CO2 or they are still present and hidden somewhere on Mars, probably underground, Barabash says.


    (Excerpt) Read more at space.newscientist.com ...
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    Default Re: Presence of Life on Mars

    If they could induce global warming on Mars I think we'd see it's return. So my bet is it is deep inside the planet's crust. I doubt they'll ever know until they drop a robotic drill rig on the old ocean floors there. Costly that.
    Brian Baldwin

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