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#26 2017-03-09 10:12:05

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 400

Re: Mars probably CANNOT support life

Methane on Mars could come from breakdown of clathrate deposits (methane hydrate). The methane spike recorded by a rover may have been caused by disturbance of the surface cover over such a deposit by the machine's wheels. The methane may have originated by volcanism. Its presence doesn't prove that there is or was life on Mars.

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#27 2017-03-09 16:30:35

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,459
Website

Re: Mars probably CANNOT support life

True enough,  elderflower.  But if life did evolve on Mars long ago when it was warmer and wetter,  it's likely to still persist today in underground environments.  Maybe deep ones.  We only found out there was life in the deep rocks here on Earth a few years ago.  Nobody had ever bothered to look. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#28 2017-03-10 04:07:25

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 400

Re: Mars probably CANNOT support life

You are right, GW. There is life within the rocks in the Antarctic dry valleys as well and any where else it can survive in some of it's myriad forms. Evolution is a wonderful thing!
There may well be deep life on Mars, maybe under a glacier in Hellas, or deep within crustal rocks. I can think of only one way to clarify this, and it doesn't involve the presence or absence of methane.

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#29 2017-03-10 04:55:08

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 2,246

Re: Mars probably CANNOT support life

Ice worms seem a good bet for surviving life forms on Mars (there you go - SLF - a new acronym).

https://www.damninteresting.com/the-ice-worm-cometh/

They might have been blasted to Mars via a meteorite impact - wouldn't have needed to have evolved on Mars.

I see no reason why they (suitably adapted over hundreds of millions of years)  couldn't continue to prosper in the ice on Mars.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#30 2017-03-11 15:12:15

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,459
Website

Re: Mars probably CANNOT support life

There's currently nothing by which to judge,  except Earth's own history.  Life seems to have evolved here as some sort of single-celled microbes within several million to at most a billion years of Earth's formation.  For WHATEVER reasons,  life stayed single-celled until about 600 million years ago.  Then,  all of a sudden geologically,  it exploded into myriads of multicellular forms.  Why this happened this way is unclear at best. 

ASSUMING things were similar for early Mars  there should have been microbial life there by the time the environmental degradation began somewhere around 3 to 3.5 billion years ago,  if the geological history interpretations for Mars are in the least correct. 

As perniciously-colonizing as life has proven to be here,  I would think that microbes still exist in the deep rocks on Mars,  same as we recently have found to exist here.  Might not be quite so deep,  could be within maybe 1 to 10 meters of the surface,  who knows? 

Eventually,  I'd predict we're going to find single-cell microbes.  Based on the history here and what we think might have happened there,  multi-cellular forms seem a lot less likely.  But again,  who knows?

Nobody will ever know,  until humans go to Mars and start digging and drilling deep.  And ONLY if they bother actually looking for it. 

The risk is terraforming.  If underground microbes do exist,  once surface conditions are more clement,  they WILL recolonize the surface.  That's quite consistent with what we know about microbes here. 

Maybe there's a shared biology via panspermia and maybe there's not.  The risk of infection is higher the more similar Martian life is to Earthly life. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#31 2017-03-12 20:39:24

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 9,851

Re: Mars probably CANNOT support life

From an old member

Shaun Barret wrote:

According to Dr. Nora Noffke, a geobiologist at Old Dominion University in Virginia, there may be fossils of microbial mats in some of the pictures sent back to us as the Mars rover Curiosity drove through the Gillespie Lake outcrop in Yellowknife Bay, a dry lakebed that underwent seasonal flooding billions of years ago. :huh:
[See  THIS SITE. ]

Dr. Noffke has studied such fossils on Earth for many years and she says the similarities are compelling.

mars-earth-cracks-comparison.jpg

On Earth, carpet-like colonies of microbes trap and rearrange sediments in shallow bodies of water such as lakes and coastal areas, forming distinctive features that fossilize over time. These structures, known as microbially-induced sedimentary structures (or MISS), are found in shallow water settings all over the world and in ancient rocks spanning Earth's history.

... In a paper published online last month in the journal Astrobiology (the print version comes out this week), Noffke details the striking morphological similarities between Martian sedimentary structures in the Gillespie Lake outcrop (which is at most 3.7 billion years old) and microbial structures on Earth.

Although Dr. Noffke utilises 20 years of experience in drawing attention to the similarities - similarities which include: " erosional remnants, pockets, domes, roll-ups, pits, chips and cracks" - some scientists seem to agree with her and others are not so sure:

"The fact that she pointed out these structures is a great contribution to the field," says Penelope Boston, a geomicrobiologist at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. "Along with the recent reports of methane and organics on Mars, her findings add an intriguing piece to the puzzle of a possible history for life on our neighboring planet."

... "I've seen many papers that say 'Look, here's a pile of dirt on Mars, and here's a pile of dirt on Earth,'" says Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center and an associate editor of the journal Astrobiology. "And because they look the same, the same mechanism must have made each pile on the two planets.'" [Life on Mars? The Exploration and Evidence]

McKay adds: "That's an easy argument to make, and it's typically not very convincing. However, Noffke's paper is the most carefully done analysis of the sort that I’ve seen, which is why it's the first of its kind published in Astrobiology."

Here is the surface of the rock captured by Curiosity's camera, and Dr. Noffke's interpretation of the markings on its surface
:
gillespie-lake-outcrop-mars.jpg

mars-noffke-sketch-overlay-rock-bed.jpg

"In one image, I saw something that looked very familiar," Noffke recalls. "So I took a closer look, meaning I spent several weeks investigating certain images centimeter by centimeter, drawing sketches, and comparing them to data from terrestrial structures. And I've worked on these for 20 years, so I knew what to look for."

In strictly scientific terms, Dr. Noffke's comparison of very similar Martian and Terrestrial rocks, the latter being known fossils, does not prove we're looking at fossils on Mars.

But I agree with geomicrobiologist Dr. Penelope Boston's comments that the findings add an important supplement to the argument for Martian life.
Especially when you look at the work in conjunction with the parallel work done by other scientists, which lends strong support to the hypothesis.

Perhaps you'll remember my post here at this thread - the second-last post on page 5 - reporting on the results of Dr. Alan Howard, who examined the long meandering channels on Mars and decided their banks bear all the hallmarks of soil cohesion brought about by microbial mats?:-
"Lastly, Howard has considered that microbial crusts - the closest that Mars could presumably have gotten to "vegetation" - may have provided soil cohesion." :huh:

I'm less and less impressed with the responses of Dr. Chris Mckay (above quote), who lately seems determined to side with the extremist sceptics when it comes to life on Mars.
Dr. Noffke understands that her results are NOT definitive proof of past Martian life but she says this:

"But if the Martian structures aren’t of biological origin," Noffke says, "then the similarities in morphology, but also in distribution patterns with regards to MISS on Earth would be an extraordinary coincidence"

How many "extraordinary coincidences" does it take until the ponderous pendulum finally starts to swing away from the 'ever-cold-and-dead' Mars paradigm? roll

Looks to me like we can confirm it....lets get boots down there.....

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