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Mars Soil Has Nutrients Capable of Supporting Life

  1. Jun 26, 2008 #1
    The soil on Mars has been found to have nutrients which would be conducive to supporting life:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25396378/

    All the more reason for us to go and start farming over there.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2008 #2
  4. Jun 26, 2008 #3
  5. Jun 26, 2008 #4
    Martian soil can support life

    More exciting discoveries:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080626/sc_nm/space_mars_dc

     
  6. Jun 26, 2008 #5
    Re: Martian soil can support life

    Damn, if only it weren't so cold we might be attempting to grow stuff there right now.
     
  7. Jun 26, 2008 #6
    Re: Martian soil can support life

    Ha, so now we'll colonize Mars, create an atmosphere and everything, simply to grow asparagus.
     
  8. Jun 27, 2008 #7

    wolram

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    Re: Martian soil can support life

    I have booked an allotment for my great, great great, great, great, great, great grand kids,
    cause i am an optimist.
     
  9. Jun 27, 2008 #8
    Re: Martian soil can support life

    Maybe I should as well. :smile:
     
  10. Jun 27, 2008 #9

    Moonbear

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    There were two similar threads on this, so I've merged them, in case anyone is puzzled.
     
  11. Jun 27, 2008 #10
    Don't invest in aspargus futures just yet. Here is an except from the MSNBC article.

    I don't necessarily agree, but some people consider asparagus to be life as we know it (are these guys trekkies or something?). I will assume that the author means compounds containing carbon, oxygen and nitrogen.

    Here's more
    I imagine they would be ecstatic if someone would scoop up some dirt from meters and meters underground and analyze it. But I'm not arguing against there being life there, especially now since we probably infected the entire planet with the stuff.

    By the way, here is the good news:
    I assume they mean chlorine. I'm no fool, you're not going to get me to eat my vegetables based just on preliminary data.
     
  12. Jun 27, 2008 #11
    Maybe someone knows better than me, but as far as I remember, Mars does not have a magnetic field anymore, or at least only a very weak one. If that is true, it seems to me there is pretty much no protection for the solar wind. There are arguments that Venus' atmosphere achieves such a shielding. Whether the ionosphere is enough, or an atmosphere dense as Venus' one is required, has probably not reached a consensus in the community.

    Terraforming of Mars
    [thread=237932]Mars Terraforming (PF thread)[/thread]
     
  13. Jun 27, 2008 #12
    Really the only thing left is the imprint of a past magnetic field embedded in the rocks, just as what happens on Earth. The active (at the time) magnetic field made crustal rock align their magnetic-responsive moments with the given field. No dynamo driven field exists whatsoever, only a 'once was' field which is now scattered out over the planets surface.

    "Magnetic Stripe" Evidence of (past) Plate Tectonics On Mars
    http://geology.com/nasa/mars-plate-tectonics.shtml

    Picture of a portion Mars's current magnetic field as detected by Global Surveyor
    http://geology.com/nasa/images/mars-global-surveyor-full.jpg

    Detailed Map
    http://geology.com/nasa/images/mars-magnetisim-map.jpg

    What Makes Mars Magnetic?
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070810194928.htm
     
  14. Jun 27, 2008 #13
    Maybe we could take all this iron from the Martian surface, turn it into magnetized aerosol nanoparticles, and spew it high into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where their magnetism might help to deflect incoming solar wind. Furthermore, while we're at it, maybe we could also extract some carbon and turn it into Carbon Black aerosol nanoparticles, and spew those into the upper atmosphere, where they could absorb solar radiation (I read that carbon black is capable of absorbing 99.6% of incident solar radiation)

    How would we spew all that aerosol so high up?

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/080625-pf-vortex-engine.html
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,372487,00.html
    http://vortexengine.ca/index.shtml

    If we are creative enough, it could be done.
     
  15. Jun 27, 2008 #14

    Chronos

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    2015 Award

    I'm partial to asparagus so take that into account. It is unfortunate the probe cannot perform more detailed tests [funding issues]. Nonetheless, the mission is a spectacular sucess. Well done, NASA!
     
  16. Jun 27, 2008 #15

    LowlyPion

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    That article is highly misleading

    While there may be some necessary basic nutrients, they apparently haven't tested for there being sufficient nutrients to support asparagus.

    Even assuming there was a benign atmosphere, asparagus plantations are a ways in the future.

    "... Kounaves pointed out that the very top layer at the surface is exposed to high levels of harsh ultraviolet light that is damaging to organic compounds, so that layer of soil may not be able to support life."
     
  17. Jun 27, 2008 #16
  18. Jun 28, 2008 #17
    I'm still down with the Genesis Probe idea.
     
  19. Jun 28, 2008 #18
    I was also musing that Aerosol nanoparticles offer us the chance to engineer a variety of designer properties into them which would not be possible with your run-of-the-mill gases.

    I was thinking that we could perhaps engineer designer nanoparticles whose properties were sensitive to temperature and pressure thresholds, such that they could then act as shuttles between the upper and lower Martian atmosphere.

    For instance, since N2 is lighter and tends to float higher in the Martian atmosphere, perhaps we could have aerosol particles specialized for nitrogen capture/adsorption/fixation at higher altitudes, and after getting heavier from that they'd descend back towards the ground, where they'd release the nitrogen for more productive use by living things on the ground.

    For those things that life might be too fragile to achieve on its own in the hostile Martian environment, nano-particles such as aerosols might be able to give enough of a helping hand with, so as to help life survive.
     
  20. Jun 28, 2008 #19
    Carl Sagan thought of this almost 20 years ago.
     
  21. Jun 28, 2008 #20
    why all the farfetched talk about terraforming?

    Is there some problem with building a floorless greenhouse to live in?
     
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