Life on Mars? Meet the new rover built to give us the answer

Mar 5, 2020
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Can the new rover strangle somebody?

It doesn’t have a real microscope and no direct chemical (growth media) tests for life. Houston is not even trying that hard to make sure that life remains only a scientific possibility buried in the ancient past. Life on Mars would be planetary heresy for Houston’s “nothing happening here just move along” planetary geology.

Science advances with each funeral and the new rover could go berserk in Houston and advance science a great deal.
 
Nov 25, 2019
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Can the new rover strangle somebody?

It doesn’t have a real microscope and no direct chemical (growth media) tests for life. Houston is not even trying that hard to make sure that life remains only a scientific possibility buried in the ancient past. Life on Mars would be planetary heresy for Houston’s “nothing happening here just move along” planetary geology.

Science advances with each funeral and the new rover could go berserk in Houston and advance science a great deal.
I'm all for liquidating academicians who have been in their field too long and are polluting it with outsize influence and opinions they formed in the 1970s, but I have bad news: There's no life on Mars. Absolutely zero evidence there ever was. Normally I wouldn't be against further investigation, even at the cost of the tens of millions of dollars these rover experiments run, but I fear that unfounded claims that the possibility of life on Mars could exist will be used as cause to justify the delay of colonization efforts. Colonization efforts that I intend to join as an planetary geologist.
 
Mar 5, 2020
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I'm all for liquidating academicians who have been in their field too long and are polluting it with outsize influence and opinions they formed in the 1970s, ... Colonization efforts that I intend to join as an planetary geologist.
Mars’ planetary geology is currently a mess of self contradictory secret geology maintained by Houston’s oil men. The good part (for you) is that the geology of Mars is a lot more active than described in Houston’s fictional narrative. There is some on-going volcanic activity on parts of Mars. You might find lava tubes that are above freezing all the time.

Radioisotope thermoelectric generator RTG’s are not like teddy bears so a nice warm cave makes life a lot simpler.

The heat from the planetary core is largely irrelevant as seen by the amount of melt generated by an interstellar asteroid impact on/through Mars’ northern hemisphere less than 200 mya (Martian meteorite dating).

Mars’ geology might have a lot more ore bodies than current orthodoxy could explain. Ore bodies can be generated on Mars and Earth by interstellar asteroids. Instant volcano (just add interstellar asteroid) can provide the heat for concentrating ore bodies in wet or water saturated Martian strata. Without global tectonics ore bodies on Mars don’t get subducted (but can be buried by sediments). Once they are created Martian ore bodies tend to stick around.

Four billion years of interstellar asteroid impacts along with the presence of water should have created a lot of ore bodies on Mars.

On Mars a gravimeter is your best friend when looking for ore bodies.

An encyclopedic knowledge of explosives that could be manufactured with Martian materials would make you worth your weight in Oreos (Martian medium of exchange).
 
Mar 19, 2020
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I'm all for liquidating academicians who have been in their field too long and are polluting it with outsize influence and opinions they formed in the 1970s, but I have bad news: There's no life on Mars. Absolutely zero evidence there ever was. Normally I wouldn't be against further investigation, even at the cost of the tens of millions of dollars these rover experiments run, but I fear that unfounded claims that the possibility of life on Mars could exist will be used as cause to justify the delay of colonization efforts. Colonization efforts that I intend to join as an planetary geologist.
The current absence for evidence of life on Mars provides no proof that it never existed. Indeed, all evidence from surface probes indicates a reasonable probability that it did arise, and current conditions could still allow for sub-surface life forms to persist. Since life clearly arose by abiogensis on earth right next door to Mars, it is reasonable for most real scientists today to assume (which they do) that it could have arisen on Mars in much the same fashion, particularly since the chemistry of the two planets is very similar.

It is impossible for the well-informed to believe that all those old (and some new) scientists at NASA (and JPL, etc.) are a bunch of idiots to be looking for evidence of life on Mars. Those who think otherwise might use this concept to review their own perspective. Belief in a false premise could be professionally fatal.

And all the old scientists, many well before the 1970s, provided us with most of the knowledge that we currently work with to discover new things everywhere, on earth, and "out there". They were not a bunch of idiots either. If they were, space exploration would be a long dead concept. It would seem to most rational people that appreciation, rather than contempt, is their due.

Anyone trying to be a scientist or engineer of some kind would be well advised to remember the ideas, theories and concepts of all those real scientists who came before today. Again, they laid the foundation on which almost all existing science is conducted.

It is important to point out that in the field of science, there is nothing worse than being wrong. Ignoring the science of the past is a great start to being wrong, and many people are clearly well on their way!
 
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Dec 4, 2019
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Firstly - wonderful! - To hopefully finally get some Mars rocks back for analysis!
Secondly, to date, more than 20 Martian meteorites have been recovered on earth. These Martian rocks were blasted away from the grip of Mars' gravity many years ago as asteroids and comets crashed upon that planet's surface. Of all the Martian rocks ejected into outer space, 7.5 percent eventually find their way to Earth. In 4 billion years about 4 billion tons of Martian material has been deposited on Earth. [C. Mileikowsky et al., "Natural Transfer of Viable Microbes in Space," Icarus 145 (2000), 391-427 ]
More interestingly, during the 3.8+ billion-year-history of life on Earth at least a hundred million tons of Earth material has landed on Mars. Attached to these hundred million tons of Earth material are at least several million pounds of Earth-life remains. If NASA searches long and hard enough, it should find evidence for at least some small amount of life remnants on Mars. Such a discovery will grab headlines for sure, but further study will reveal the source of those remains (likely remnants from earth).
Thirdly, "[life] arisen in a...similar fashion [to earth]?" The chemistry is NOT so similar. Mars has 40x more sulphur in its topsoil. (So much for Matt Damon's little happy garden in the movie The Martian).
Next, despite the excitement, the subterranean “lake” below the surface likely consists of a large volume of liquid water mixed with copious amounts of rock, salt, and perchlorates. [R. Orosei et al., “Radar Evidence of Subglacial Liquid Water on Mars,” Science (July 25, 2018): eaar7268, doi:10.1126/science.aar7268 ] Such chemistry is NOT conducive to life. The math challenge has really gotten pretty severe on even getting life to start on earth, much less such a hostile planet.
BTW, these are real scientists that I have cited. And, BTW, "in the field of science, nothing is worse than being wrong?" Even Einstein was at times wrong, and admitted it when he knew better. It's how we learn, and eliminate (sometimes slowly) error.
But, I agree with your scowl on Dandere's lack of interest in the search on Mars. And, concerning easy colonization, he needs to read the excellent assessment here on this site - https://forums.space.com/threads/mars-colonies-are-a-fantasy.29123/ -- first entry.
 
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Actually, perchlorate could stimulate the development and evolution of life on Mars, as it has on earth. Perchlorate reductase and chlorite dismutase are used by over 40 different and diverse microorganisms, all thriving by reduction of perchlorate. The reactions produce chloride anions and O2. Some subterranean bacterial species consume pyrite and emit sulfur as waste. The chemistry of life can be remarkably variable. While temperature and pH must be limiting in an aqueous milieu, the numerous constraints on chemical compositions and conditions are not well established. The presence of perchlorate and sulfur are not good examples for projecting a negative probability for life on Mars.

Various compounds found on Mars could suggest that life might not form there. However, this assumes they are present in all potential eco-systems, and toxic to abiogenesis and continuation of life, not just toxic to certain forms, as the perchlorate and sulfur examples with life on earth clearly demonstrate. Mars has a rather diverse geology, just like earth. It is impossible to say at this time whether conditions were ever permissible for life to arise and persist on Mars, particularly as such conditions are presently unknown. Grand proclamations based on limited data should be suspect until proven otherwise. Nothing worse than being wrong......
 
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Dec 4, 2019
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Water, water. Important, but it's not totally assured that Mars has a "stable" subterranean body of liquid water on Mars. As Jeffrey Plaut, a MARSIS principal investigator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who was not an author on the paper, stated in an interview, “I would say the interpretation is plausible, but it’s not quite a slam dunk yet. [Daniel Clery, “Liquid Water Spied Deep Below Polar Ice Cap on Mars,” Science, first release (July 25, 2018), doi:10.1126/science.aau8871].

Part of the MASUS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding) team (twenty-two planetary astronomers from research institutions in Italy) who form part of the MARSIS mission, concluded that the likely liquid water layer was located right under a 1.5-kilometer-thickness of ice, which is the thickest part of the south polar ice cap. The pressure from 1.5 kilometers of ice raises the temperature of the likely liquid water layer to -68°Celsius (-90°Fahrenheit). For water to remain liquid at this very low temperature, the water must be saturated with perchlorate salts. This perchlorate saturation rules out any possibility of life surviving in the layer. As geophysicist David Stillman of Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, stated in an interview, “If Martian life is like earth life, this is too cold and too salty. " [Daniel Clery, “Liquid Water Spied Deep Below Polar Ice Cap on Mars,” Science, first release (July 25, 2018), doi:10.1126/science.aau8871]

Yes, there is plenty of types of metabolyses with pretty amazing extremophiles on earth (esp. ocean depths). But, just because we find them today, does not mean it originated that way, especially with extreme thermophiles. So much of their metabolism is spent repairing thermal damage. OOL search seems better looking elsewhere.

Anyway, the determination that the radar bright subterranean layer must be a saturated perchlorate brine led the team (of 22 planetary astronomers) to draw two different possible conclusions about the nature of the layer. In their work they mentioned, “The brine could be mixed with basal soils to form a sludge or could lie on top of the basal material to form localized brine pools.” [Roberto Orosei et al., “Radar Evidence of Subglacial Liquid Water on Mars,” Science, Reports, first release (July 25, 2018): 1–9, doi:10.1126/science.aar7268]

I'm just saying, the MARSIS discovery is not a big freshwater lake, as some internet reports implied. Nor does it seem to me to be a layer that is a particularly possible habitat for life. However, I must add, if indeed the layer is saturated with perchlorate salts, it is highly probable that it is a site with at least a small quantity of stable liquid water. I try not to totally close the door on possibilities, esp. with lots of unknowns.

I never meant wrong in science is good. But, it may not in the end be the absolute worst, if it reveals something new, and we don't cling to the wrong. I should've have cast it better in the sense of wrongs as failures. As in, Edison's "Now we know another way it doesn't work." I say this to my science students when they get something wrong. I then say, okay what have we learned from this!! "Why were we wrong?" (Yes, a better situation is usually, getting it right the first time).
 
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The bright radar reflection would indicate liquid water. Liquid water has a very high dielectric constant, while ice does not. As far as salts are concerned what was the dielectric loss for these measurements? An EM wave like radar creates an evanescent wave on the other side of the ice/water dielectric interface. If that evanescent wave encounters a high loss dielectric the reflection can be greatly reduced. Water which is as salty as they describe is a high loss dielectric producing a reduced to negligible reflection.

Nasa’s temperature analysis is bogus since Mars is currently experiencing some low level of volcanic activity. Houston’s crocodile tears about the death of Mars billions of years ago covers up heating of the Northern Hemisphere by an interstellar asteroid impact about 200 mya. Thermal diffusion from the impact could have heated the interior of Mars so that liquid water could exist near the surface without it being toxically salty.

Perchlorates were blamed for the false biological positives of the Viking landers so this could be an example of reinforcing a fiction by endless repetition.

Nasa has a tendency to send crippled missions (no microscopes and no more biological tests) to Mars after the Vikings.

I doubt you could drink the Martian water but I also know with certainty that Mars is geologically warmer than Nasa will admit.

There is bad science and then there is corrupt science. When someone’s economic agenda conflicts with science, science usually loses.
 
Dec 4, 2019
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You've got some reasonable points regarding temperature. Also, lack of sensors in missions. And, especially your last sentence!
Still, color me skeptical on subterranean life, even on outer planet moons (deep water below the crust, etc.). But, that is another discussion.
 

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