So is there biological life with only 0 to 5 ppb in the martian athmosphere

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by arauca, Nov 3, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. arauca Banned Banned

    Messages:
    4,564
    The tension as Curiosity rover scientists began their spiel during a press teleconference was palpable. For months of weekly press conferences, reporters had been asking about Curiosity's analyses of atmospheric methane on Mars. If the rover was finding even a part per billion (ppb) or so of methane, there would be a chance that life—life on Mars, today—was producing it.

    But no Martians turned up this time. Christopher Webster of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is the instrument lead for the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS), Curiosity's atmospheric analyzer. He reported that after four analyses, he could say only that, with 95% confidence, there is between 0 ppb and 5 ppb of martian methane.

    That range of concentrations rules out only one possible scenario to explain a methane gush that astronomers on Earth detected in 2003, according to atmospheric modeler Malynda Chizek of New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. (One more whiff of methane in 2006 was reported and nothing since.) Chizek has run an atmospheric model that calculates how fast processes like solar ultraviolet irradiation will destroy methane on Mars. In one run, she simulated what would happen if a gush of methane like the one observed in 2003 recurred every year -- a realistic scenario if the martian spring thaw releases methane trapped in ice or produced underground by bacteria. Under those conditions, the simulation suggested, Curiosity would detect 20 ppb to 35 ppb -- far above Curiosity's new upper limit of 5 ppb.

    All the remaining scenarios are still in play, however. The 2003 gush could have been a once-in-a-century release involving life … or not. Or the 2003 observations were in error, and a few ppb of methane are lingering in the air from volcanic eruptions or the ultraviolet irradiation of organic-rich cosmic dust drifting into the atmosphere. Or, perhaps, methane on Mars is really down at the few-hundred-parts-per-trillion level, and neither life nor methane-belching volcanoes have anything to do with it.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceno...s-.html?ref=hp
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,140
    Well there could life as well as active geology, but its likely deeper down because of these results, as in nowhere near the surface. On earth life penetrates for miles down as bacteria feeding off diffrent rocks, if life ever took hold on mars it would be surviving deep DEEP down on what remains of its active geosphere.

    Then again their might be some unknown mechanism that decrease methane's martian atmosphere half-life by a full fold, any number of possiblities, more science is needed to answer these questions, more rovers, deep core drilling, etc, etc
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. arauca Banned Banned

    Messages:
    4,564

    But then again why should we expect that there should be life on Mars ?
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,140
    I never said such a thing, I said "if"
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    The better we become at investigating the universe, the more it surprises us. It now appears that planets are as common as cockroaches. Perhaps the same is true of life.
     
  9. arauca Banned Banned

    Messages:
    4,564


    That is fine but we can not get out of our solar system for at least 35 years ( voyager 1 ) and exploring by telescope I would not trust their information . look the case of the planet Mars we had and have equipment to analyses and the analysis is not very certain.
     
  10. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,140
    I don't understand, are you questions the present planet count or something? Personally if one wanted to search for life I would think further investigation of Europa would be better then Mars. best would be to get a lander there and then have drill just a few dozen meters into the ice on a relatively fresh crack, if there is any life under the ice, frozen organics and micro-organism would be found in the ice, of course it has to be below the surface enough so that the organics were not destroyed by the high radiation flux there.

    Mars on the other had we know its surface is dead, we know it has no surface water, we know it has very little if any geological activity that could at least keep a deep ground biosphere alive via geochemical feeding, we have no evidence for ground water. Europa on the other hand we know it has oceans under its ice and we are very sure it has geological activity.
     
  11. Exoscientist Mathematician Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    139
    I didn't see the news conference. Weren't the prior methane readings localized? Perhaps we just didn't land in the areas with the high readings.

    Bob Clark
     
  12. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    747
    Perhaps some of the ice on Mars has somehow gotten below ground where it melted from the warmer underground temperature and formed an underground sea. And maybe in that sea there are thermal vents supporting life. And then the methane slowly seeps out of the ground and is in the Martian atmosphere in small quantities????
     
  13. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,826
    I think we are approaching a phase in Mars exploration where all of the spectrometers of the world would not give us sufficient answers to the origin of methane on Mars, a human mission to Mars is a necessity at this point. Localizing the source of methane would require drilling down the Martian ground.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page