Sunday, February 17, 2008





Early Mars 'too salty' for life

The Red Planet was too salty to sustain life for much of its history, according to the latest evidence gathered by one of the US rovers on Mars' surface.

High concentration of minerals in water on early Mars would have made it inhospitable to even the toughest microbes, a leading Nasa expert says.


We shall see . . .

9 comments:

W.M. Bear said...

Suppose, in a few billion years when Earth has become dry and uninhabitable, rovers from a future civilization landed in the depressions that were once the Dead Sea or the Great Salt Lake....

with a grain of salt said...

Aren't there some kind of extremophile microbes or bacteria that can or have been found in salt mines?

Anonymous said...

God, will this charade ever end? NASA, I'm tired. Oh so tired.

Mac said...

Anonymous--

I know exactly how you feel. (Maybe we need a support group.)

tubling said...

I hear Dr. Richard Boylan is available for exoplanatory therapy...nuhhh, on second thought, best stay away. Don't go near any hot tubs...heh.

dad2059 said...

I could give my conspiracy theory take, but in this case I'll go along with Anonymous and Mac...

...for now.

W.M. Bear said...

I could give my conspiracy theory take, but in this case I'll go along with Anonymous and Mac...

It certainly sometimes seems like NASA is messing with the public's mind, doesn't it? First they excitedly proclaim the possibility of life on Mars, then they retract this, then they proclaim it again. And on and on and on. If this is their idea of trying to "keep up interest" in the subject, I would strongly advise them to change their tack. All this back-and-forth is doing is giving everyone a bad case of "Mars fatigue"....

Anonymous said...

I think what's really going on is that scientists are capitalizing on different sets of evidence and are arriving at their particular -- albeit tentative -- conclusions. Then each of these scientists, or groups of scientists, are presenting their respective cases for consideration. So it comes down to a matter of the angle from which the evidence is viewed, and which evidences are seen as most significant in these differing viewpoints. Each of these perspectives are then taken into consideration, weighed and debated by the scientific community as a whole -- with the expectation that a felt consensus would gradually emerge out of this process.

It's amusing how persons with no credentials as scientists presume to criticize how things are done by folks who are actually qualified.

-Ken Y.

Paul Scott Anderson said...

It should be remembered that there is still the evidence for earlier, less acidic (and less salty?) water, which left behind the clay mineral deposits. Ray Arvidson of the MER team mentioned this again in this recent December 10, 2007 update:

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20071210a.html

"We see evidence from orbit for clay minerals under the layered sulfate materials," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, deputy principal investigator for the rovers' science payload. "They indicate less acidic conditions. The big picture appears to be a change from a more open hydrological system, with rainfall, to more arid conditions with groundwater rising to the surface and evaporating, leaving sulfate salts behind."

I've commented about this on the blog, also.

Paul

The Meridiani Journal
a chronicle of planetary exploration
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