Presence of Liquid Water and Organics on Mars

Mars is fascinating especially when we are watching movies e.g. Mars Attack etc. As I’ve already depicted prudentially that life on Mars is more probably, lurking with life in some way, it could be either in the form of halophiles or archea or algae. Well, one can’t pronounce presence of life just based on surveys of some squaremiles, more seriously it needs a broad exploration phase. What if any alien probe is landing on Death Valley(though death valley is rich in microbial life but conditions on mars are harsher than on death valley) to search for life on Earth? Probably the data obtained from that probe will elude that no life on planet Earth while the case is conversed. It is more easy to identify the life if you are sure what kind of life could be otherwise you are putting your feet in quagmire from where there is no chance except serendipity. However, that is broadly covered up in other articles(see, Extraterrestrial Life). Data from NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander suggest liquid water has interacted with the Martian surface throughout the planet’s history and into modern times. The new research also provides new evidence that volcanic activity has persisted on the Red Planet into geologically recent times, several million years ago. Although the lander, which arrived on Mars on May 25, 2008, is no longer operating, NASA scientists continue to analyze the data obtained from lander.

These recent findings are based on data about the planet’s carbon dioxide, which makes up about 95 percent of the Martian atmosphere. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is like a chemical spy. It infiltrates every part of the surface of Mars and can indicate the presence of water and its history.

Phoenix precisely measured isotopes of carbon and oxygen in the carbon dioxide of the Martian atmosphere. Isotopes are variants of the same element with different atomic weights. The findings were published in Thursday’s online edition of the journal Science. The paper explains the ratios of stable isotopes and their implications for the history of Martian water and volcanoes. Isotopes can be used as a chemical signature that can tell us where something came from, and what kinds of events it has experienced. This chemical signature suggests that liquid water primarily existed at temperatures near freezing and that hydrothermal systems similar to Yellowstone’s hot springs have been rare throughout the planet’s past.

[Image Details: Instruments on NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander included the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer, right, which analyzed the atmosphere, as well as soil samples.]

Measurements concerning carbon dioxide showed Mars is a much more active planet than previously thought. The results imply Mars has replenished its atmospheric carbon dioxide relatively recently, and the carbon dioxide has reacted with liquid water present on the surface.Measurements were performed by an instrument on Phoenix called the Evolved Gas Analyzer. The instrument was capable of doing more accurate analysis of carbon dioxide than similar instruments on NASA’s Viking landers in the 1970s. The Viking Program provided the only previous Mars isotope data sent back to Earth. The low gravity and lack of a magnetic field on Mars mean that as carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, it will be lost to space. This process favors loss of a lighter isotope named carbon-12 compared to carbon-13. If Martian carbon dioxide had experienced only this process of atmospheric loss without some additional process replenishing carbon-12, the ratio of carbon-13 to carbon-12 would be much higher than what Phoenix measured. This suggests the Martian atmosphere recently has been replenished with carbon dioxide emitted from volcanoes, and volcanism has been an active process in Mars’ recent past. However, a volcanic signature is not present in the proportions of two other isotopes, oxygen-18 and oxygen-16, found in Martian carbon dioxide. The finding suggests the carbon dioxide has reacted with liquid water, which enriched the oxygen in carbon dioxide with the heavier oxygen-18.

The authors of paper theorize this oxygen isotopic signature indicates liquid water has been present on the Martian surface recently enough and abundantly enough to affect the composition of the current atmosphere. The findings do not reveal specific locations or dates of liquid water and volcanic vents, but recent occurrences of those conditions provide the best explanations for the isotope proportions.
It is alluring for me since I love to ponder into extraterrestrial life besides working on string theories and particle physics. I hope, perhaps one day, we’ll find signs of multicellular intelligent life. Waiting for that day…
[Source: Phoenix Mission Page]


About bruceleeeowe
An engineering student and independent researcher. I'm researching and studying quantum physics(field theories). Also searching for alien life.

4 Responses to Presence of Liquid Water and Organics on Mars

  1. Pingback: Extraterrestrial DNA Found In 900 Year Old Starchild Skull [] |

  2. Pingback: Presence of Liquid Water and Organics on Mars « WeirdSciences college university

  3. Pingback: Searching for Other Life Forms in Extraterrestrial Environments « WeirdSciences

  4. Pingback: Seti’s Hunt For Artificially Intelligent Alien Machines « WeirdSciences

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