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bison

New Spike in Mars Methane-- Life?

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bison

It's been reported that a large increase in methane gas was detected on Mars on Wednesday. NASA was impressed enough to alter the Curiosity rover's schedule on Friday, instructing it to drop what it was doing, and investigate. Preliminary results should be gotten back by Monday.  A threefold increase in methane concentration in Mars' atmosphere is intriguing, especially when its's recalled that methane could be a sign of life on Mars.

An article with further information is linked below:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/22/science/nasa-mars-rover-life.html  

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sci-nerd

Methane is the simplest kind of hydrocarbons, and is both formed naturally, without living organisms, and by living organisms.
To think, that it indicates the presence of life, is a tad too optimistic.

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Not A Rockstar

IDK, sci, given that right now Mars is our best chance to maybe find "alien" microbes. I'd give it at least 60-40 we may find some form of life on Mars eventually. Just unclear how well the rover is equipped to verify such a finding if it did find anything though. Do you know? Might it just be verifying a spot and gasses there? 

Even if too optimistic, I think hope is fair. Do you really not think so?

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Not A Rockstar

As you science folks read this does anyone know how possible it is that IF we find life - a microbe or something simple - it will really be different? To me, an armchair sort on this topic, I find it as possible we will find out "alien" life in our system may well be the same as we have here if it is true life may have been seeded to some degree by meteorites and such as I have read. Basic forms might not be so alien seeming.

Just a random idea I have had on this issue in my hopes we will find something in my lifetime.

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Piney
1 minute ago, Not A Rockstar said:

As you science folks read this does anyone know how possible it is that IF we find life - a microbe or something simple - it will really be different? To me, an armchair sort on this topic, I find it as possible we will find out "alien" life in our system may well be the same as we have here if it is true life may have been seeded to some degree by meteorites and such as I have read. Basic forms might not be so alien seeming.

There are "rules" to evolution and biology so basic and even advanced forms won't be so different. What we have to worry about is "The Filter", bringing something back and creating a world wide "Columbian Exchange" which rewrites the entire ecosystem on the planet, wiping us out. 

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Not A Rockstar

Thanks, @Piney  that's why I am saying microbe. In (my) theory, something might manage to survive on different planets, but once it evolves it is more likely to differentiate due to the environment it is in, if the meteorite ideas are true. It just makes sense that the basics should be similar to me.

We should know, from all the people we have wiped out with germs through exploration that we do increase risk greatly as we get to returning things from elsewhere to Earth... but...

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sci-nerd
9 minutes ago, Not A Rockstar said:

IDK, sci, given that right now Mars is our best chance to maybe find "alien" microbes. I'd give it at least 60-40 we may find some form of life on Mars eventually. Just unclear how well the rover is equipped to verify such a finding if it did find anything though. Do you know? Might it just be verifying a spot and gasses there? 

Even if too optimistic, I think hope is fair. Do you really not think so?

4 minutes ago, Not A Rockstar said:

As you science folks read this does anyone know how possible it is that IF we find life - a microbe or something simple - it will really be different? To me, an armchair sort on this topic, I find it as possible we will find out "alien" life in our system may well be the same as we have here if it is true life may have been seeded to some degree by meteorites and such as I have read. Basic forms might not be so alien seeming.

Just a random idea I have had on this issue in my hopes we will find something in my lifetime.

Finding any kind of life, even microbes on Mars, would tell us that life is far more usual than we had hoped. It might be the biggest discovery in our lifetime.
It will probably make the UFO=Aliens believers go into a frenzy. But it will not prove there is intelligent life out there.

Personally I don't care if the universe is full of germs. It makes no intellectual difference to me. It just shows life is normal. But it does raise the hope for contact a bit. Despite of the chances of it being very small, considering the enormous distances.

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Not A Rockstar

:huh:

I do not see anywhere here I have suggested intelligent life? 

I do believe there is intelligent life out there and that we are not special in that, but, these are early days and that is an entirely different topic and forum section as yet.

I am just wanting it to be proven that there is life of any sort out there in our own solar system. A microbe is good. To me, this would be the greatest discovery in my lifetime, at least.

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sci-nerd
5 minutes ago, Not A Rockstar said:

:huh:

I do not see anywhere here I have suggested intelligent life? 

I do believe there is intelligent life out there and that we are not special in that, but, these are early days and that is an entirely different topic and forum section as yet.

I am just wanting it to be proven that there is life of any sort out there in our own solar system. A microbe is good. To me, this would be the greatest discovery in my lifetime, at least.

I know you didn't, but it is the elephant in the room, when this topic comes up. So I thought I might as well plunge into it.

Regarding if the Mars rover can detect microbes, I doubt it. Maybe this article can answer it? (Didn't read it. Too tired.)

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Not A Rockstar

Well, if someone believes in ET visiting, your plunge won't make a difference to that belief a bit.

I just hope for life to be found elsewhere. The whole new science that would open, of finding something that began same as here and is evolving differently elsewhere intrigues me. If reincarnation is true, I wouldn't mind coming back and studying that for a career, I think, if we are taking this topic off the original rails.. 

Or maybe be a real rock star, for once.

IDK :) 

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bison
Posted (edited)

Even microbial life on Mars would be a scientific earthquake. That's why this story is noteworthy, even if that life, as indicated, is a mere possibility, at the moment. 

If life should be found on Mars it would be possible, eventually, to get a sense of the connection, or the lack of it between life on the two worlds. 

 If all life on Earth originated on Mars, or all life on Mars came from Earth, then there would be an apparent 'family resemblance' between life on the two worlds; the same sort of genetic likeness that is known to connect all known life on Earth.

If that resemblance is lacking, then life presumably arose independently on those two worlds, in a single solar system. The probability of life, in all its manifestations, flourishing abundantly on a great many worlds would be increased.    

Edited by bison
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and then

Martian cow farts?  The Greenies will be losin they miiiinnds :w00t:

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DieChecker

Are the scientists worried about Martian Global Warming? :lol:

Did they limit where the methane came from, geographically? I mean, it would have to be right next to the rover to be close enough to go check on.

 

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bison

Apparently the methane release site in in Gale crater, relatively near the Curiosity rover. They could be trying to better define the location, right now. If they moved the rover a bit, and the concentration of methane went up, they would have a possible indication of the right direction to it. If the methane level went down, they'd know to move in the opposite direction. A series of such maneuvers, in various directions, could take them to the exact spot.

  

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tmcom
On 6/23/2019 at 12:38 PM, and then said:

Martian cow farts?  The Greenies will be losin they miiiinnds :w00t:

The greenies should go to Venus! :lol:

On 6/23/2019 at 3:39 PM, DieChecker said:

Are the scientists worried about Martian Global Warming? :lol:

Did they limit where the methane came from, geographically? I mean, it would have to be right next to the rover to be close enough to go check on.

Yes, quite!

NASA is discussing how to whitewash this as we speak, and ignore the plant on the left.

:lol:

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bison

The methane spike disappeared before Curiosity could re-observe it. There's an outside chance that the Mars Express Orbiter observed the spike, too. It will apparently be a while before it downloads its data to Earth. 

An increase of methane, of this concentration (~20 parts per billion by volume) could probably enable the Trace Gas Orbiter to distinguish between its carbon 12 and carbon 13.  An unexpected excess of carbon 12 could indicate that the source of the methane is life. Living things selectively take up the lighter isotope and concentrate it in their metabolism.  

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Skulduggery

If the source is life, could it be something like algae? I am not sure how much methane that is by numbers. I have my faults. Other, more advanced life may not be recognizable if it is even possible to find. I would suspect underground might have something going on.

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Skulduggery
Posted (edited)

Basically, asking how big of a spike this really is and what is it comparable to here on Earth as far as organism bio markers go. Not that it would be the same but there may be archetypes.

Edited by Skulduggery

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bison

By itself, the Curiosity rover can't distinguish between methane from living and merely geological sources on Mars.  The concentration of methane in Earth's atmosphere is approximately one hundred times greater than the recent methane spike on Mars, and is chiefly due to biological organisms. 

This seems to suggest that if the methane on Mars is due to living things, it represents sparse life, in comparison to Earth. This is largely in accord with scenarios for life on Mars, where it began under more favorable conditions earlier in Mars' history, and is now merely 'holding on', presumably underground, so as to avoid harsh conditions at the surface.

 These harsh conditions include severe temperature swings, high radiation levels, and chemicals called perchlorates, which tend to destroy organic materials.   

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