Mars rover ruts harbour water, scientists say


hermanntrude
#1
The Canadian Press
October 17, 2007 at 12:55 PM EDT



TORONTO — Scientists at a Canadian university say they've found the first “on-the-spot” evidence of water on Mars.


University of Guelph researchers say a white, salty substance churned up by the wheels of a Mars rover in the Columbia Hills region of the planet could contain up to 16 per cent water.


Lead research Iain Campbell said the find bolsters earlier evidence from satellite probes suggesting that water exists beneath the Martian surface.


Evidence of past and present water is essential to determining if life ever existed on the Red Planet.


Mr. Campbell said the new evidence is the first time actual soil has provided solid evidence there's water on Mars.


The research, under review by the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, suggests that the water is bound into a salty substance that lies beneath the sandy surface, near the planet's equator.
 
triedit
#2
Im a little confused. There must be water to sustain life? How can we possibly know that? While it is true that we must have water to sustain life as we know it, but to say that is always the case is a bit...limiting.
 
hermanntrude
#3
you are correct that it's an assumption. But water does have some properties which make it ideal for life-sustaining, and which other liquids cannot have due to their very nature.

I still agree with you that it's impossible to say that water is the only route to life but i'd say it's very improbable that we'd find life without it.
 
triedit
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

but i'd say it's very improbable that we'd find life without it.

Especially if we aren't looking *wink*
 
hermanntrude
#5
very true
 
MikeyDB
#6
There are other than carbon based life forms on this planet.
 
MikeyDB
#7
I simply point this out in case anyone comes across a cathedral built to the god of Sulphur...
 
hermanntrude
#8
what are you getting at mikey? I know there are lifeforms which don't depend on oxygen but I thought they all needed carbon for DNA/RNA and proteins and so on
 
MikeyDB
#9
Just pointing out that "life" exists on this planet that doesn't need the same collection of elements as does carbon based life. When the rover or any ROV roams the great beyond, NASA has spent a good deal of time describing what "evidence of life" looks like...based on "other-than" carbon based life forms. While it's just groovy finding evidence of H2O on Mars, life exists throughout the universe that doesn't require water.

I've been accidentally cross-posting....my initial post in the "deception" thread was intended to address the discussion in the religious philosophy...thread.

I think it's important to remember or at least consider the idea that "life" doesn't necessarily demonstrate "god-beliefs" and this occurence of non-carbon based life (no Vatican, no Holy See, no hymnals and belltowers....) may tell us how "important" our fantasies regarding "creation" actually are...or might be....
 
hermanntrude
#10
mikey i think you're confused about carbon-based lifeforms.

I think you're thinking of the sulfur-based ecosystems in the deep ocean floor areas. Now sulfur-based makes it sound like it cannot be carbon-based, but what it means is that they don't require oxygen for metabolism and respiration, like almost all other lifeforms do. Their biochemistry is very different from "oxygen based" lifeforms as you might want to call them, but their biochemistry, while being very different, is still entirely based upon carbon. They contain DNA and RNA (or something like that), which contains a carbon backbone made of ribose sugar units and the usual set of bases, all of which are carbon heterocycles. They contain proteins too. Basically they're the same but wildly adapted t their environment.

I believe there are also anaerobic bacteria, which I assume don't need oxygen either.

one thing they all definitely need is water.

but still the argument holds that just cos we havent seen anything that doesnt need water, doesn't mean it couldnt happen
 
#juan
#11
I once read a science fiction story about Mars. The premise of the book was that Mars once had very active volcanism which left gigantic caverns beneath the surface which are now full of water. For the life of me I can't remember the author's name. There seems to be plenty of circumstantial evidence that water once flowed on the surface of Mars. It made a good story...
 
hermanntrude
#12
I've read a lot of stories about mars. but i never heard of that one.

it does seem possible that large amounts of water once flowed on mars, although i did recently read that many of the features said to show evidence of flowing water actually dont. It wasn't a detailed article, though, which makes me suspect it held a lot of truth.
 
MikeyDB
#13
Consider cave microbiology from New Mexico. Conditions which permit photosynthesis or the break-down of any substance into energy capable of supporting life-forms are recognized and "calibrated" through the human lens. I'm simply suggesting that while the search for "life" prudently includes carbon based "life" that combinations and circumstances may exist somewhere in the enormity of the universe that have given rise to "life" that would be unrecognizable as such to the human eye.
 
Just the Facts
#14
Titan is thought to have methane lakes, methane rain, and a mostly nitrogen atmosphere. So if there is life on the moon, it will be what scientists call "weird," with a very different biochemistry from Earth life, a committee from the U.S. National Research Council said in a release.

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2...ife-space.html
 
Zzarchov
#15
Mikey, those are still carbon based.

Carbon based is a very very WIDE term which replies to the chemical make up needed for life. Its VERY broad relating to the way atoms bind, you would need another element with similar bonding properties to carbon for life (there is only carbon based life on earth).

Silicon is the most commonly thought possibility.
 
#juan
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

I've read a lot of stories about mars. but i never heard of that one.

it does seem possible that large amounts of water once flowed on mars, although i did recently read that many of the features said to show evidence of flowing water actually dont. It wasn't a detailed article, though, which makes me suspect it held a lot of truth.

I don't know what these pictures show but it looks like liquid flow. I don't know what liquid other than water it could be.

http://tinyurl.com/ybs6vb
 
hermanntrude
#17
me neither. Maybe I dreamed it but I read something recently which said it just looks like water flow, and actually isn't. I'd be surprised too.
 
no new posts