Methane on Mars

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Blandnuts, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Blandnuts Registered Senior Member

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    Did anyone else catch the show about Methane being found on Mars?

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    To my understanding, I know of certain bacteria that can give off methane, but what else can?



    Fred
     
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  3. Roman Banned Banned

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    Supposedly the seas on Titan, on of Jupiter's moons, are composed of hydrocarbons, and the atmosphere has a lot of methane in it.
    A probe is going down there Decemeber of next year to check it out. There could be life there, because of all the carbon, but unlike any life we know, since the planet's surface temp is -289 F°.

    There's also evidence of massive hydrocarbon wells on our planer that aren't fossil fuels, but naturally occuring oil deposits dozens of klicks below the surface.
     
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  5. Norman Atta Boy Registered Senior Member

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    Ive heard similiar reports about methane on Mars. I also heard NASA is not speaking about it for whatever reason. From what I heard about it, the levels are higher than what scientists imagined or could imagine. Sounds scary. Maybe a heard of martian elephants are unloading up there!

    Atta Boy
     
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  7. blobrana Registered Senior Member

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    Hum, i `ve a roundup of the original announcement on my website, and various press releases...

    <i>“The detection of methane has been the holy grail of scientists studying the Martian atmosphere, as its presence could provide unequivocal proof that there is life beyond Earth. (Methane, a waste product of living organisms on Earth, could also be a by-product of alien microbes living under the surface of the Red Planet).
    Mars Express detected the presence of methane in the Martian atmosphere, something of the order of 10 or 10.5 parts per billion.. Methane is destroyed by the intense ultraviolet radiation on Mars because the gas has a relatively short photochemical lifetime of about 300 years, so if it is present there must be something producing it continually. Its presence is significant and very important. Because if it is present you need a source...
    The second group to detect detected variations in the concentrations of methane, with a peak coming from the ancient Martian seabed of Meridiani Planum was Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland (?), who used powerful Earth based spectroscopic telescopes. The Infrared telescope on Hawaii and the Gemini South observatory in Chile detected the gas last year.
    Scientists operating the Mars Express Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (FPS) have also found the spectral signature of methane in the Martian atmosphere.
    Meridiani Planum is currently being explored by a Nasa rover.”</i>

    http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/blobrana/news/marsmethane.html
     
  8. Roman Banned Banned

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    I just realized that I gave no reason why there was methane on Mars. But, I don't think it's because of microbes, unless there's life on Titan.
     
  9. blobrana Registered Senior Member

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    Well the other contender is some sort of volcanic source,
    but that seems to fly in the face of what we see there - that it has been volcanically dead for at least 1 million years, (though others put a figure of hundreds of millions of years )
     
  10. Norman Atta Boy Registered Senior Member

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    What the methane source on Mars is it's probably right under noises of the rovers......

    Atta Boy
     
  11. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    2,220
    Methane might be an indicator of life.

    Then again, it can also be produced abiotically.
     
  12. blobrana Registered Senior Member

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    @Norman

    Yeah , new calculations now show that the dust devils and storms on Mars produce vast quantities of the highly reactive oxidant , hydrogen peroxide.
    This oxidant destroys Martian methane at a very high rate, and may explain Mars’s uneven distribution of methane.
    "It also implies that methane is being produced at a <b>much higher rate</b> than its present concentration would suggest.
    If so, cometary or volcanic sources become even more unlikely, and the prospect of a living source becomes slightly more plausible."

    http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996669
     
  13. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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  14. Blandnuts Registered Senior Member

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    121
    Hmm, very interesting.... Can't wait to hear more.



    Fred
     
  15. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    9,232
    I'm new here and have not yet looked at many of the posts. I mention this, since I suspect you will already have discussed, disassembled and buried this observation some time ago.
    I believe there is a reasonable chance that the Viking landers in 1976 detected life. For those of you unfamiliar with this possibility, here is a good starting place:
    http://www.biospherics.com/mars/
    And here is an extended quote from the site site:
    "In 1997, Biospherics' President and CEO, Dr. Gilbert V. Levin, announced his new conclusion that his 1976 Viking Labeled Release (LR) life detection experiment found living microorganisms in the soil of Mars.
    Objective application of the scientific process to 21 years of continued research and to new developments on Mars and Earth forced this conclusion. Of all the many hypotheses offered over the years to explain the LR Mars results, the only possibility fitting all the relevant data is that microbial life exists in the top layer of the Martian surface."
    I have always found it disappointing that NASA did not make any serious effort to explore this possibility with improved experiments, but prefered to take the simpler(?) route of seeking non-biological explanations for the results.
     
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Examination of the Viking probes and the results of its 4 bio-test reveled:
    1. On the pyrolytic release experiment it did not matter if the soil was heat sterilized or not, the soil samples still showed signs of carbon uptake, this meant it was more likely a result of non-biological chemical processes in the soil, rather then biological processes as it would have been killed off in sterilization.
    2. The Gas Exchange experiment reveled oxygen production, but the production was not continues and would not happen to second treated soil, also heat sterilized soil responded the same. Thus suggesting non-biological chemical processes in the soil produced some oxygen when exposed to water-nutrient vapor, and that the produces ran on limit reactions and would be depleted over time.
    3. The carbon 14 labeled release test was most confirming for life as heat-treated soil did not release byproducts from carbon-14 labeled nutrients. But the equal assumption could be made that what ever reactions release the carbon-14 labeling could have been deactivated by heat treatment, biological or non-biological
    4. The Mass-Spectrometry test for organics in soil revealed no organics, this was extremely damming, suggesting nothing was alive and the soil was completely devoid of any organics of life or organic nutrients for life. Based on the UV and radiation exposure of Mars’s surfaces it is now assumed that any life or organic material on the surfaced would be destroyed.

    Reference:
    http://www.resa.net/nasa/mars_life_viking.htm
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2004

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