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June 26, 2008

Martian soil could sustain life

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thermal and evolved gas analyzer, used to determine alkaline content on Martian soil

Thermal and evolved gas analyzer, used to determine alkaline content on Martian soil

The scientists behind the Mars Phoenix Lander project announced that the soil on Mars was more alkaline than expected and could sustain life.

Scientists at NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration claimed that they were “flabbergasted” by their discovery on the possibility that life could grow on Martian soil.

Excitement spread among the scientists and explained that their discovery has led them to believe that their discovery could allow the growing of asparagus on Mars, just like in any ordinary backyard.

The project did not elaborate any further if there was indeed life on Mars, down to the microbe level and instead stated that their discovery was only preliminary and more analysis will be needed.

There was still no evidence in the soil that “would preclude life,” and instead of an assumption of a toxic environment, Martian soil is actually, “very friendly.”

The discovery was made after the Mars Phoenix Lander scooped up Martian soil for analysis. The lander touched down on Mars on May 25, 2008 and has been conducting several survey projects.

Asteroid slams into Mar’s northern hemisphere

An asteroid the size of Pluto slammed into the Northern hemisphere of Mars creating the Borealis basin, based on the latest survey of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor.

The report released on the magazine Nature, explains the 1984 observation of the unusual shape of Mars terrain in the northern hemisphere against the southern hemisphere.

An asteroid with a body of 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) smashed into the planet some 3.9 billion years ago, creating the vast Borealis basin measuring 8,500km (5,300 miles) by 10,600km (6,600 miles) across and occupies nearly 40 per cent of the Martian surface.

The new data is said to have convinced a lot of scientists on the impact scenario but there were still a need to prove the theory further.


Sources

  • Jill Serjeant “Scientists say Martian soil could support life”. Reuters, 26 June 2008
  • “Phoenix Mars lander analyzes soil”. UPI, 26 June 2008
  • Katharine Sanderson “Asteroid smash turned Mars into ‘takeaway pizza’ planet”. Nature On-Line, 25 June 2008
  • Lester Haines “Mars whacked by object bigger than Pluto”. The Register, 26 June 2008
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