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Mars' Lumpy Landforms: Space.com pic

  1. Sep 3, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2003 #2

    wolram

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    hi ivan
    im sure eveyone knows what the surface of mars consists of
    but i do not, are there the materials for life?
    is it only atmosphere and free water lacking?
     
  4. Sep 4, 2003 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    My impression is that many scientists now expect to find simple life on Mars. I think many questions still exist in this regard that have no definite answers.

    Back in the 1970s or 80s, some initial results from Martian soil samples indicated that biological processes were detected as releases of gas - CO2 I think. In spite of the consensus that this was just chemistry and not life, the person in charge of that mission still maintains that evidence for life was in fact detected. Also, debate still exists over the Martian rock found on earth a few years ago. Many scientists still feel that simple Martian bacteria may have left traces in this rock.

    Hopefully others can offer better explanations for the possibilities of life on Mars, but I know that serious debate continues over these matters.
     
  5. Sep 4, 2003 #4

    Phobos

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    Scientists have high hopes of findings signs of life on Mars (fossilized remnants of ancient microbes more likely than existing life). A lot of this hope is based on the evidences that Mars once had a lot of liquid water (and may still have some water locked up underground as ice which may occasionally melt and cause local flooding). It is already known that the north ice cap is water ice (the south ice cap is CO2 ice). There are other hints - - like what we see upon examination of Martian meteorites.

    NASA's Viking mission in the 1970s ran 3 tests on Martian soil looking for existing microbial life. At first, the test results seemed positive...adding food (organic stuff) to the soil resulted in a reaction (like converting the organics to CO2). But in the end it was decided that a more likely explanation was that the reaction was a result of chemistry, not biology (e.g., Martian soil oxidizes organic materials). As Ivan said, some people still think the Viking results were positive, but they are in the minority.

    So, most scientists think the surface of Mars is currently without life (e.g., any organic life would be oxidized...disintegrated....note also that Mars has a very thin atmosphere, extreme temperature variations, and no protective ozone layer). But there are still hopes for fossils of microbes from times past, and perhaps microbial life hanging on in the subsurface.
     
  6. Sep 4, 2003 #5

    wolram

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    as mars is our best hope of continuity i had hoped that results
    would be more positive, can you give any hope of colonizing
    mars in the near future?
     
  7. Sep 6, 2003 #6
    I have always thought and heard that we will study mars for life but not to live on, but researchers are looking at the moons of mars or of any planet with satelites to live on. But i think we should try to inhabit moons before planets.
     
  8. Sep 8, 2003 #7

    Phobos

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    Check out this link...
    http://www.marssociety.org/

    They're gung-ho to go to Mars a.s.a.p. and they have some good ideas...now they just need to raise some political interest.

    Also try this...
    http://www.planetary.org/

    In the 1980's G. Bush Sr. announced a plan to have humans visit Mars...it didn't go anywhere (excuse the pun) but at least it was an indication that high-level politics has an eye on it.

    I am confident that a human will set foot on Mars someday and I am hopeful that there will be a successful colony there someday...I have my fingers crossed that I will see some sign of it in my lifetime (less certain there).
     
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