Announcement on Mars forthcoming.

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  • #26
DaveC426913
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Secondly, what a shocker it would be to find that Mars has a similar element distribution in the soil samples? Let's see. It aggregated into its current form most likely in its next out from the earth slot from the sun. Would there be a reason to suppose that it would be dramatically different is all I can wonder?
As some wise person once said, "we just don't know until we know". Even 'confirmation of what we expect' is important new information.

But the current Martian extremes of temperature and lack of atmosphere would surely be extinction events here on earth even if all other things were equal.
Not for microbes. I think "mere" bacteria would send exobiologists into raptures of delight.
 
  • #27
Evo
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Not for microbes. I think "mere" bacteria would send exobiologists into raptures of delight.
The article said that they did not find bacteria.
 
  • #28
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They need to announce it soon before expectations get so high that people end up disappointed.
 
  • #29
DaveC426913
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The article said that they did not find bacteria.
I know, I was merely refuting LowlyPion's complete hypothetical that all life would be wiped out in an extinction event - if it had existed.
 
  • #30
LowlyPion
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I know, I was merely refuting LowlyPion's complete hypothetical that all life would be wiped out in an extinction event - if it had existed.
My point is that there are numerous dimensional aspects (temperature, gravity, element availability, agitation, media, shelter, energy supply, etc.) to this sweet spot that has cradled and developed life through evolution on Earth and merely finding a couple of prerequisites without finding a sufficiently large enough overlap in the remaining dimensions seems a bit of a non-event to me.

Surely it would be interesting if they could find complex organics, more than say the kinds of methane lakes apparently on Titan, but I hold little hope of it.
 
  • #32
Gokul43201
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  • #33
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That's disappointing.
 
  • #34
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it still may be there
 
  • #35
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Large areas of Las Vegas are contaminated with perchlorate from the previous manufacture of solid rocket fuel.

It also occurs naturally in the desert soils of the southwest, and appears to be formed in a manner that requires an atmosphere??

The perchlorate the scientists found is present with high concentrations of naturally occurring chloride and other salts, and represents thousands of years of atmospheric deposition and concentration through evaporation. The new study is an outgrowth of previous work showing that nitrate frequently occurs in arid-region soils, as well.
http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/perchlorate_sw_soils.html
 
  • #36
LowlyPion
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Wikipedia even has an entry on this:
"Discovery of Perchlorate on Mars

NASA reports that: "Within the last month [July 2008], two samples have been analyzed by the Wet Chemistry Lab of the spacecraft's Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer, or MECA, suggesting one of the soil constituents may be perchlorate, a highly oxidizing substance." It is still unknown whether the perchlorate originates from the space ship or if it occurs naturally on Mars.[13]

However, the source of the perchlorate has not yet been evaluated fully, and may represent possible extra-Martian (Earth-sourced) contamination via the Phoenix lander itself. This is however unlikely since the Phoenix used ultrapure hydrazine for its retro rockets, and the perchlorate was found below the surface and at concentrations higher than would be expected from contamination during Earth launch operations. [14]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perchlorate
Also:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/news/phoenix-20080804.html
 
  • #37
kronon
I read today that for those living on Mars time, they suffer from what is basically perpetual jet-lag.

The start of the martian day is constantly moving with respect to earths time because of the relative orbits so it creates a kind of moving GMT longitude axis effect, meaning a person would essentially be in permanent jet-lag. They're testing how/if the human body will cope.
 
  • #38
WarPhalange
If we're constantly inside and use artificial lighting, would it matter?
 
  • #39
kronon
Yeah, thats exactly what they're testing for at the moment...on some poor soul.

The results will be interesting.
 
  • #40
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Here is apparently a partial transcript (notes apparently) of the teleconference from NASA today:
"Dwayne Brown: Replays of this telecon will play all week. There were reports over the weekend that NASA was withholding information. This caused lots of rumors. This briefing will set the record straight. Mike Meyer, Michael Hecht, Peter Smith, Bill Boynton on telecon.

Mike Meyer: Media discussion could be significant but research results not conclusive. That is why NASA did not include perchlorate results. More result is needed. Results will be publicised widely once confirmed.

Peter Smith: we are breaking with tradition - we are going to allow the public to have window into our process. We have bypassed tradition due to interest by public. Rather than rampant speculation on the Internet I will offer you insight into the process.

We have substantial evidence that our soil samples contain perchlorate. On Earth these molecules are found in the Atacama desert- an arid place that gets little rain. These compounds do not destroy living organisms. Indeed, on Earth there are perchlorate reducing microorganisms. These findings are neither good nor bad for life.

Slight chance that there may be some contamination form spacecraft propulsion - we have experts checking into this.

Michael Hecht: MECA: starting to get good results from atomic force microscope. Hope to talk bout that in two weeks. Today we are going to focus on chemistry. When we got first soil sample we saw big signal from perchlorate sensor we assumed sensor was not working right. Later found that sensor was working properly. In the second sample that we got we were certain that there was a real perchlorate signal. But still have more tasks to do before claiming a scientific finding. Needed to eliminate more unlikely explanations. TEGA had not "sniffed" sample yet. We do not know what mixture of perchlorate salts we have in our sample.

Bill Boynton: TEGA - find high temp release of Oxygen - thought that this could be due to perchlorate - or other causes as well. During analysis - we did not look for chlorine. Since discovery - er suggestion - by MECA - we changed settings and looked for Chlorine as. Had we seen it - perchlorate finding would be solid. But we did not see it released from second TEGA sample.

Peter Smith - this finding does not preclude life on Mars. Indeed it could be an energy source. We ask that the media be patient with us - and we will share the results as we are confident that they are correct.

Dwayne Brown: neither the WH or the president's science advisor were briefed on this but I assume that they have been briefed now."

http://www.nasawatch.com/

I missed getting the streaming audio from the NASA site, but I thought this was a news worthy enough report of it to post. I am not familiar with the Nasawatch site to vouch for its reliability, but it does appear consistent with previous reports from NASA.
 
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  • #42
DaveC426913
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I read today that for those living on Mars time, they suffer from what is basically perpetual jet-lag.

The start of the martian day is constantly moving with respect to earths time because of the relative orbits so it creates a kind of moving GMT longitude axis effect, meaning a person would essentially be in permanent jet-lag. They're testing how/if the human body will cope.
Bah. The Mars day is a whopping 38 minutes longer than an Earth day.

Arguably Mars will be easier on humans than Earth. All higher animals have a natural (Circadian) rhythm which is normally over-ridden by the day/night cycle. In humans (and in mice) that natural rhythm is about 25 hours. i.e if a human is deprived of the day/night cue that continually resets his internal clock, he will naturally adaopt a day/night cycle of about 25 hours.
 
  • #43
kronon
From what I could gather from the short article, the problem was not so much the slightly longer day, but more that the time of sunrise relative to earth time is varying constantly, which presumably is a situation for which theres been no precedent.

So day 1 its 5am, then 5:40am, then....4:20am.. Like perpetually living in an airplane thats flying at a certain fixed speed enough to keep you constantly jet lagged by 40 minutes i guess. MAybe i have this wrong but that was my initial impression, or maybe the article is over dramatising the effect. Still, i wouldnt like to be the guy they're testing on.
 
  • #44
DaveC426913
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From what I could gather from the short article, the problem was not so much the slightly longer day, but more that the time of sunrise relative to earth time is varying constantly, which presumably is a situation for which theres been no precedent.
Right. I started to talk about that but deleted it for fear of complicating the issue.

The place where Earth-time will come into play will be in communications with mission control. They'll be getting different shifts even if they call at the same Mars time every day.

But hopefully, the Earth-based team will mirror the Mars clock rather than vice versa. The Earth-based team has the resources and give-and-take to do so, and they're not under the pressure of being 150million km from home.
 

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