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#1 2014-12-26 16:06:07

RGClark
Member
From: Philadelphia, PA
Registered: 2006-07-05
Posts: 534
Website

Curiosity and the life on Mars Question.

There had been concern expressed by some scientists that for its cost the Mars Science Laboratory rover had been a disappointment:

Flagship Mars Curiosity Rover Doing Too Little with Too Much, Senior Scientists Say.
By Dan Leone | Sep. 3, 2014
http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil- … uch-senior

Scientific Review Evaluates 7 Planetary Missions, Curiosity Rover Comes in Last Place.
http://www.astrowatch.net/2014/09/scien … etary.html

But two separate discoveries relating to life on Mars may have reversed that sentiment:

‘A Great Moment’: Rover Finds Methane, a Clue That Mars May Harbor Life
By KENNETH CHANG DEC. 16, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/17/scien … -mars.html

Curiosity Rover Finds Life's Building Blocks on Mars.
by Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer | December 17, 2014 07:00am ET
http://www.space.com/28033-mars-life-bu … rover.html

This second discovery relates to the finding of organic molecules in surface samples on Mars. The Viking missions of the 70's led to the wide spread conclusion of no life on Mars because the Viking landers were unable to identify organics in the samples collected, and because it was felt liquid water could not exist under Mars surface conditions.

Now, with the realization that liquid water can exist in small quantities in supercooled form under Mars conditions:

Martian salts must touch ice to make liquid water, study shows. 
Jul 02, 2014 
http://ns.umich.edu/new/multimedia/vide … tudy-shows

and with the finding that organics do exist on Mars, the question of current life on Mars needs to be revisited.


Bob Clark


Nanotechnology now can produce the space elevator and private orbital launchers. It now also makes possible the long desired 'flying cars'. This crowdfunding campaign is to prove it:
Nanotech: from air to space.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nano … 13319568#/

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#2 2014-12-26 20:46:59

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,927

Re: Curiosity and the life on Mars Question.

Aren't we in the area of media management here?  I did wonder about that methane announcement and now, given your post, it seems to me it was clearly just a NASA media management exercise. We've known about methane on Mars for a long time - and I think ESA have confirmed it as well.  Clearly it sounds like NASA are now just looking to justify their expenditure on Opportunity.

We all know that the real way forward is to get people on Mars who can do close up observation and effectively direct robots at the surface


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

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#3 2014-12-26 21:57:40

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: Curiosity and the life on Mars Question.

Actually, previous observations of methane were very questionable due to the fact that the concentrations were at the borderline of detectability.  MSL has now confirmed it, on-site, with sufficiently sensitive equipment.  It's a big deal.  Likewise with the organic chemicals.

It's such an interesting question.  The problem is not only that the methane is appearing, but also that it's disappearing: We don't have any good explanation for either.  I'm hoping the MAVEN mission will shed some light on this, because it's possible both have something to do with the chemistry of the upper atmosphere.


-Josh

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