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Mars methane discovery hints at presence of life

  1. Jan 15, 2009 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    I hated to let this one go without a post. There is already a post in Astronomy linking to the video.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2035686#post2035686

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sciencea...hane-discovery-hints-at-presence-of-life.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2009 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Strange, the linked thread is no longer applicable so I unlocked this one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  4. Jan 17, 2009 #3

    Mk

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    The post in astronomy links to a video about Mars, but not the one we want.

    Very cool Ivan, my dad was just asking me to look for the original primary sources from NASA about this, any help?
     
  5. Jan 17, 2009 #4

    Mk

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  6. Jan 17, 2009 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    I don't know what happened wrt the linked thread. Maybe a funny cache glitch... It seemed to show the same video as in the news story.

    I had this posted in S&D in a related discussion.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=154990&page=35

     
  7. Jan 22, 2009 #6
    Why isn't everyone more excited about this? I think this is one of the coolest stories of the decade. I hope it isn't a sign that mars is still geologically active. If you were going to look for life on another planet wouldn't you look for methane? I suppose maybe free oxygen would be more conclusive, but methane has to be right up there.
     
  8. Jan 22, 2009 #7
    I'll be convinced when they find the cows.
     
  9. Jan 22, 2009 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    I already believe in the existence of cows.
     
  10. Jan 22, 2009 #9

    LowlyPion

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    I suppose if you were presuming to find terra-forms, that oxygen and methane would be markers of interest. But I rather think that life is a bit rarer, and cows even more so, whereas geology is not.

    Such precursors must surely have been in Earth's past history, and are for us at least the likely prerequisites for the kinds of soups and tidal pools that uncountable combinatorial reactions ultimately built upon until our own recombinatorial chemistries arose from the broth.

    I guess I have to remain a little skeptical that methane venting is dramatically indicative, since there is some question in my mind about how long the atmosphere of Mars can retain the gas. And if there is no replenishment process, that begins to sound to me more like some kind of residual depletion, venting from a cooling core for instance, as opposed to active little sub-surface Martian elf farms tipping cows and making Martian cheese.

    If indeed it is by product of organic action, what is fueling it? What supplies of energy and hydrogen are being depleted in the venting and how sustainable is that likely to be? Water? Certainly it's there in some quantity, but by all evidence it seems it is not nearly as abundant as some of the erosion patterns might suggest from prior epochs.

    It would be definitely exciting to discover even the most primitive cells in a non earth environment - not to mention Martian cows and cheese - but I despair about that.
     
  11. Jan 22, 2009 #10

    G01

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    I'm agnostic in regards to cows. How do we know they are not just fat horses with blotchy skin?
     
  12. Jan 22, 2009 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    Have you ever tried to milk a horse?
     
  13. Jan 22, 2009 #12
    You can indirectly concluded that aliens like beans
     
  14. Jan 22, 2009 #13

    dlgoff

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    And when they do, there will probably be a tax placed on each one for polluting.
     
  15. Jan 22, 2009 #14
    only once.
     
  16. Jan 23, 2009 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    ...a bull?
     
  17. Jan 28, 2009 #16

    DaveC426913

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    So, there seem to be three possible sources: life, volcanism and rust.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but even the discovery of volcanism on Mars would be important.

    However, rust is still a possibility, but it's a mundane one.
     
  18. Jan 29, 2009 #17
    This is nonetheless incredible!
     
  19. Jan 29, 2009 #18

    DaveC426913

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    If it's not due to rust, then yes, I agree. If it's rust, then not so much with the incredible.
     
  20. Jan 29, 2009 #19
    I was just hyping it up....
     
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