Life on Mars

Since we were talking about the possibility of their being soil on Mars, I found this article from Universe Today talking about how Phoenix has analysed martian regolith containing minerals more commonly found in soil here on Earth. I’m not sure what Martian regolith is, although I did look it up. The only thing I could find what it’s a synonym for soil, but since it’s found in outerspace, it’s “Martian”. The machine took a scoop of soil and analyzed it and found levels of nutrients. Altough the soil is very acidic, scientists have said its not a problem for nutrients and little organisms to survive. Some of the minerals found are magnesium, sodium, potassium and chlorine. This shows that these minerals had once been dissolved in water. The knowledge that these elements exist in martian regolith is nothing new, but the fact that they would be soluble in water means they would have been available for life to form. These new and very exciting results come after preliminary analyses of a scoop of regolith by the landers “wet lab” known as the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) instrument.
A question a lot of scientists are wondering is can Mars support life? These new and very exciting results come after preliminary analyses of a scoop of regolith by the landers “wet lab” known as the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) instrument. there are some strong similarities between the mineral content and pH level of the martian surface and soils more commonly found here on Earth.
I thought this quote was really interesting, “This soil appears to be a close analog to surface soils found in the upper dry valleys in Antarctica. The alkalinity of the soil at this location is definitely striking. At this specific location, one-inch into the surface layer, the soil is very basic, with a pH of between eight and nine. We also found a variety of components of salts that we haven’t had time to analyze and identify yet, but that include magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride.” – Sam Kounaves, Phoenix co-investigator, Tufts University. So now we’ll just have to wait and see if life is found or more evidence appears that says life had been on Mars.

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