If you want to find life on Mars, here's how to do it
Researchers have idea that will allow them to easily explore subsurface of planet.
Scientists have published a new theory that explains where life could have once existed on Mars, and how it might be found. The theory is based on what we know about the natural development of life on Earth and even locates a prime spot to conduct the search.
According to Professor John Parnell and Dr. Joseph Michalski, a planetary Geologists at the Natural History Museum in England, a particular crater might be just to place to search for life on Mars.
Parnell told the Telegraph, "We could be so close to discovering if there is, or was, life on Mars. We know from studies that a substantial proportion of all life on Earth is also in the subsurface and by studying the McLaughlin Crater we can see similar conditions beneath the surface of Mars thanks to observations on the rocks brought up by the meteorite strike."
Parnell explained why looking at the crater is so critical to finding life.
"There can be no life on the surface of Mars because it is bathed in radiation and it's completely frozen. However, life in the sub surface would be protected from that. And there is no reason why there isn't bacteria or other microbes that were or still are living in the small cracks well below the surface of Mars. One of the other things we have discussed in our paper is that this bacteria could be living off hydrogen, which is exactly the same as what microbes beneath the surface of the Earth are doing too. Unfortunately, we won't find any evidence of animals as the most complex life you might get in the sub surface would be fungi. But fungi aren't even that far removed from plants and animals, so I think you could say that life on Mars could be complex, but small."
There are a number of problems in the search for life on Mars, chiefly, getting below the surface far enough to find layers of strata where life may have, or still does exist. Robot vehicles can only be built so large and are limited in what equipment they can carry. They cannot possibly drill more than a few feet below the surface.
However, where man fails, nature succeeds. Meteors, some quite large, have struck Mars throughout the planet's history. When a large meteor impacts the surface, it forms a crater, sometimes excavating hundreds of meters deep, exposing the strata beneath. A craft that is capable of testing these layers can effectively study Martian history since each layer would be specific to a particular era of geologic activity.
Mars has an added advantage of being a tectonically stable planet with little erosion. That means layers of sediment would be preserved for billions of years whereas on Earth such preservation is remarkably rare.
So, if at any time in history, life has ever existed on Mars, the odds are very good that examining a feature such as the McLaughlin Crater, they can rule almost conclusively about the question Martian of life.
In the meantime, research continues with what tools scientists have. Currently, there are five active scientific missions on Mars. That number may increase within the next two years as India sends its first mission to the Red Planet in November and the European Space Agency has another mission slated for 2016. Several other agencies, including NASA will send further missions in the years ahead as the pace of research accelerates.
However, a mission to the McLaughlin Crater is not in the works - yet.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- Debate between scientists over details of evolution becomes heated
- DRAMATIC DEATH IN SPACE - Astronomers watch as an entire galaxy bleeds to death before their eyes
- Duck and Cover! Asteroid 2014 DX110 will buzz Earth today and you can watch it happen!
- 330-foot long aircraft hailed the largest in the world
- GIBBERISH! More than 100 articles in scientific journals found to balderdash
- New super pill could prolong human longevity
- Vintage cheese - found on the chests of 3,500-year-old mummies!
- Boeing producing 'BLACK' a super-spy phone worthy of James Bond
- Why the Kepler planet discovery changes ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?