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Life on Mars?

Discussion in 'Scientific Matters' started by Venetian, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. Venetian

    Venetian New Member

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10790648

    Reasonable evidence that Mars once did have life.

    But anyway, since we read here that "the Mars science community reacted with great excitement" it sounds as if Mars has life right now - a whole science community!

    V
     
  2. Soapy Sam

    Soapy Sam New Member

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    I'm a bit sceptical. Carbonates form both chemically and biologically.
    Plenty of Earth's carbonates have nothing to do with life.
    Ihe wording of that item is a bit misleading. The Australian stromatolites deposit calcium carbonate organically, sure. So do stromatolites all the way through the geologic record to today. But calcium carbonate can also precipitate directly from volcanic groundwater and we know Mars has had active vulcanism and water in it's past.

    I'd like to find life on Mars - even fossil life- but I can't help feeling there's serious competition for landing sites and each team tries very hard to make the case for it's favoured site, so we should discount a bit for enthusiasm.
     
  3. songstress

    songstress New Member

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    Hello Sam,

    A bit late, but here goes....

    No, CaCO2 doesn't always mean that the rock has been life-bearing. It can also mean that there is an abundance of silica within it, which reacts to water and precipitates out of it. One sees this especially in igneous and metamorphic rock, but can also be found in some sedimentaries e.g. sandstone.

    Chalk, as mentioned in the artcile is limestone of course, but it's white because of the creatures that make it up. They are microscopic creatures called coccoliths and are held together within the limestone matrix. That is why chalk is so soft - the matrix of the stuff is composed of microscopic organisms, not shelly ones.

    I personally think that maybe there was life on Mars at one stage, maybe lichens and mosses, but it never really got much further than that. I am sure that some scientists are expecting to see living, breathing Martians but I don't think so.

    Patsy.
     
  4. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

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    Never read anything suggesting that. Most are hoping to find fossilised evidence of very early celluar life. They may or may not - it will rest on evidence more than opinion.
     
  5. songstress

    songstress New Member

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    Hi Crowan,

    I wasn't suggesting that, from what was written in the article - I meant generally. Think they're hoping to find something exciting. They may find cellular life in the end, that's possible, but not intelligent Martian life.

    Patsy.
     
  6. Crowan

    Crowan Well-Known Member

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    I'd find that quite exciting.:)
     
  7. songstress

    songstress New Member

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    That's about as exciting as it will get, Crowan. Finding cellular life on Mars wouldn't surprise me at all.

    Patsy.
     

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