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Is evidence of Mars life below the surface ?

Posted on Tuesday, 10 July, 2012 | Comment icon 18 comments

Image credit: NASA

Simple organic molecules could be present just a few inches below the soil on the surface of Mars.

In August NASA's ambitious car-sized rover, Curiosity, will touch down and begin investigating the Red Planet to determine if Mars was ever a place where life could have developed. Researchers believe that simple organic molecules such as formaldehyde could exist just a few inches below the surface, if this turns out to be true then it greatly increases the chance that Curiosity will find something.

"Right now the challenge is that past Martian landers haven't seen any organic material whatsoever," said lead author Alexander Pavlov. "We know that organic molecules have to be there, but we can't find any of them in the soil."

"Researchers say that evidence of ancient life on Mars could take the form of simple organic molecules lying just beneath the Red Planet's surface, and that it could be detectable by NASA's newest rover, which is scheduled to touch down on the planet next month."

  View: Full article |  Source: Christian Science Monitor

  Discuss: View comments (18)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by WillSoMysterious on 11 July, 2012, 8:12
There is definately evidence of Mars (bars) beneath the surface of Junior Chubb.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Chrlzs on 11 July, 2012, 12:01
Where did you read that, and do you think that once evidence of ET was found, it could/would be kept secret? If it was microbial, as seems likely on Mars, why would the evil PTB have to keep it covered up? Is every country in on this - if not, wouldn't there be a slight problem in the future when someone else reveals it?
Comment icon #11 Posted by Junior Chubb on 11 July, 2012, 21:48
Seven day's without Mars Bars will make one weak...
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 July, 2012, 23:44
More importantly, if NASA is forbidden from announcing the discovery of non-terrestrial life, why was it one of their scientists that announced the possibility of fossils in the ALH 84001 'Martian' meteorite in 1996?
Comment icon #13 Posted by gOOgLer on 15 July, 2012, 10:09
What kind of life are we,humans, looking for?
Comment icon #14 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 July, 2012, 10:15
Anything. In the case of Mars simple microbial life.
Comment icon #15 Posted by sktm06 on 15 July, 2012, 13:22
While human beings would contaminate more, do you know how much more we could search if we were there? It would take 10 unmanned missions to do what a person could in 1 trip.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 July, 2012, 14:01
Probably, but we could mount 100 unmanned missions and it would still cost less than one manned mission with virtually no risk to human life involved. I'm not against manned missions to Mars, I just don't think we are ready for them just yet.
Comment icon #17 Posted by sktm06 on 15 July, 2012, 19:01
I would gladly risk myself to visit another world, as would many others. It's just getting us there.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 July, 2012, 19:38
Me too, within reason. All risk must be compared to the potential gain. I would question whether we have reached the point of acceptable risk yet. Spending billions on a manned mission only to have the crew suffer radiation sickness before even arriving would likely set manned spaceflight back a long way. There must be a high chance of success. We are still learning how to protect astronauts from the damaging effects of solar flares in deep space. With Apollo mission lengths were short enough that it was deemed an acceptable risk. A trip to Mars will take months instead of days. Instead of... [More]

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