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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 30, 2005 1:21:29 GMT -6
Water ice in crater at Martian north pole
28 July 2005 These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, show a patch of water ice sitting on the floor of an unnamed crater near the Martian north pole.
The HRSC obtained these images during orbit 1343 with a ground resolution of approximately 15 metres per pixel. The unnamed impact crater is located on Vastitas Borealis, a broad plain that covers much of Mars's far northern latitudes, at approximately 70.5° North and 103° East.
The crater is 35 kilometres wide and has a maximum depth of approximately 2 kilometres beneath the crater rim. The circular patch of bright material located at the centre of the crater is residual water ice.
Color view of crater with water ice This white patch is present all year round, as the temperature and pressure are not high enough to allow sublimation of water ice.
It cannot be frozen carbon dioxide since carbon dioxide ice had already disappeared from the north polar cap at the time the image was taken (late summer in the Martian northern hemisphere).
I tell you, they will annouce life one day pretty soon.
Chicago Astronomer Joe Founder, Administrator and Chief Astronomer
Telescope/Observatory Docent Facilitator Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
Astronomy Instructor Instituto Del Progresso/IHSCA
Astronomy Program Instructor British International School of Chicago /Lincoln Park Campus
Resident Astronomer Chicago Park District Nature Oasis/Night Out in the Parks/ 606 Trail
I tell you, they will annouce life one day pretty soon.
Joe, are you privy to some evidence that has yet to be revealed? I'd love to learn about it. I'd be astonished if it were true. Nevertheless, I am quite confident that you are not one of those administrators who would communicate mere hopes and wishes as though they were facts to members of his scientific message board.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 30, 2005 16:49:44 GMT -6
At one time, we were all to believe that Mars was a cold, dry and dead world. Mainstream science held steadfast to that and treated it as fact. There were those who maintained that this was not the case, that in fact water did presently exist Mars and were ostracized as kooks, nuts and sci-fi geeks. Water may even exist at the lunar poles it now seems.
40 years later, water is quite abundant on the planet, plenty of methane with unknown origin and rather comfortable temps at the equator.
Privy...no. Don't confuse my personal deductions with declarations of certainty, as I don't accept all that is spoon fed me...and I'm not alone. I welcome all theories, idea and thoughts on extraterrestrial life, (exo-biology), without fear of ridicule or chastisement.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 30, 2005 21:33:12 GMT -6
As with much of cosmology, there is no hard core proof, but investigations into the theory. We had discussed Panspermia before.
Among those who support the idea of panspermia -- that the seeds of life are everywhere -- Hoyle and Wickramasinghe have their supporters.
"In the 1970s, scientists began to suspect that life on Earth could have come from space," says Brig Klyce, who studies cosmic ancestry and panspermia. "If so, wouldn't it still be coming? They decided to look for evidence that the germs causing plagues and epidemics come from space."
Klyce notes that several studies point to the presence of complex organics in space. "Mainsteam science scoffs, but biology is a possible source for these chemicals," he says. "If there is life, like bacteria and viruses in space, some of it would naturally fall to Earth."
Other researchers agree that comet dust may harbor organic matter, and even that it could transport it into Earth's atmosphere. But during a fiery entry, the organic matter's survival is questionable.
I think it's as sound a theory as anything else proposed on the seeding of Earth and the genesis of life here.
A sound theory is based on proof: physical evidence and irrefutable deductions. Unlike theologians, scientists question all supposed authorities, especially those with imaginings that might verify laymen's fantasies: the type of things that media editors eat up because they know their audience will.
A prime tenet of the scientific method is Ocham's razor: the simplest explanation is normally the correct one. Chemicals first assembled into our ancestral forms somewhere: the simplest explanation is that it happened right here on Earth.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Aug 2, 2005 3:29:22 GMT -6
Is Methane Evidence of Life on Mars?
"There is a chance that there's fossil evidence for life on the surface [of Mars]." -James Kasting Image Credit: NASA
Are microbes making the methane that's been found on Mars, or does the hydrocarbon gas come from geological processes? It's the question that everybody wants to answer, but nobody can. What will it take to convince the jury?
Many experts told Astrobiology Magazine that the best way to judge whether methane has a biological origin is to look at the ratio of carbon-12 (C-12) to carbon-13 (C-13) in the molecules. Living organisms preferentially take up the lighter C-12 isotopes as they assemble methane, and that chemical signature remains until the molecule is destroyed.
"There may be a way of distinguishing the origin of methane, whether biogenic or not, by using stable isotope measurements," says Barbara Sherwood Lollar, an isotope chemist at the University of Toronto.
But isotope signals are subtle, best performed by accurate spectrometers placed on the martian surface rather than on an orbiting spacecraft orbit.
"Even though it is not an indication of life directly, it's an indication that there is warming," says Kral. In those conditions, "there is heat, energy for organisms to grow."
A lot has changed in the past year. Kral, who has spent a dozen years growing methanogens in a simulated martian environment, says, "Prior to last year, when people asked if I thought there was life on Mars, I would giggle. I would not be in this business if I did not think it was possible, but there was no real evidence for any life. Then, all of a sudden, last year, they found methane in the atmosphere, and we suddenly have a piece of real scientific evidence saying that it's possible" that Mars is the second living planet.