When you think of soil you think of that dark brown stuff lying on the ground that we walk on. But soil does not only excist on our planet, soil has been found on our neighboor planer Mars.
Actually, the soil near on near the north pole of Mars is very alike our soil on earth. The soil is very similar in pH, so similar that “you might be able to grow asparagus in it, but strawberries, probably not very well,” said Samuel Kounaves, a chemistry professor at Tufts University, during a NASA press conference. Previous data that have been found have said that the soil on Mars probably is too acidic to support any type of earth “life”. New data have found that an inch under Mars’s surface, soil from the artic plains proved to be very similar to alkaline soils on earth: with a pH between 8 and 9.
These findings can mean, and are good signs for the science hunters hunting for life on Mars, that Mars was or could now be habited. This soil means that there is a broader range of organisms that can excists and grow on the planet.
One thing that has to be remembered is that the soil that was found was from a small spot, which means that the soil may not excist in a large area.
The team that found this soil (MECA) also found that the soil contained magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. These are not any nutrients needed for life though, and the tests that were made did not look at any of the important nutriends eccenssial for life, it only looked at inorganic nutrients.
They also tested gases coming from the soil. With a Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer they could report that that heat caused the sample to emit water vapor, indicating that the soil has water-containing minerals. And this is a really good thing! This can mean that the soil sample has interacted with water in the past.
When the soil was collected the scientists noticed how the soil very clumpy and unable to easily fall through a screen and into the collector. Vibrating the screen helped and the soil fall down.
I wonder if there has ever been life on Mars. If the planet is similar to ours, why can’t they find any signs of life? i think it is exciting to see how much reaserches can find about other planets and how much we can find in the future. The technology is still moving forward so we should be able to find an answer to the question: Has there ever been life on the planet Mars? Or can life excist in the future on Mars?