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Desmo
04-12-2012, 05:17 PM
Martian organics? Too soon to tell, NASA says (http://www.sen.com/news/martian-organics-too-soon-to-tell-nasa-says.html)

So let me get this straight; NASA spends $2.5b USD to send a bad arse Martian rover to the red planet to search for signs of life, notably organics and then when they do find it, they think it could be contaminated by something from Earth?
For serious?

g0zer
04-12-2012, 05:31 PM
looking at those pics it occurs to me once they do all their analysis and generate all the data, they will be able to recreate those conditions and see if something here can survive there. that would be cool. if we cannot find life elsewhere we could plant it there ourselves.

agrid
04-12-2012, 05:36 PM
Probably some dirt bike riders got there first. "DAKAR, the Red Planet"

Skut
04-12-2012, 08:45 PM
I think they are being VERY careful with what they release, after being burned by hype in the recent past it is understandable.

Nine
04-12-2012, 09:06 PM
Conspiracy...
Announce a huge discovery to be announced that will change history, a week later come out all sheepish and say 'Oh hai, was just earth dirt lolz'
It's the illuminati, reptilian, greys.

Stu
04-12-2012, 10:04 PM
Jesus you're not a scientist are you? Carbon atoms and molecules tend to look the same no matter where you go. I imagine you can never totally rule out terrestrial contamination as it would be very difficult to send something built entirely on earth and scrub it clean of all earth-based organics. Of course they would have come close and may have succeeded but it would be dangerous to rule it out completely. Not to mention this is some of the first bits of analytical data collected and the mission still has a whole Mars year to go! It might find more tangible evidence that life existed or exists on Mars.

Nine
04-12-2012, 10:25 PM
Fuck man I was taking the piss...

Stu
04-12-2012, 10:46 PM
No Sentient I was relying to the original post!

Nine
04-12-2012, 10:46 PM
Cool, carry on lol

agrid
04-12-2012, 10:54 PM
I assumed it meant contamination from Earth millions of years ago from a meteor strike or something. Not contamination from equipment we have sent to Mars.

thro
04-12-2012, 11:04 PM
What spun me out the other day was organic compounds detected on mercury.

Turns out, organic compounds can actually be synthesized in a supernova (or something) and don't necessarily mean life.

So it could be that, too...

Stu
04-12-2012, 11:04 PM
Might be that as well Agrid. Certainly we have had meteorites (of Martian rock) fall on Earth.

Desmo
04-12-2012, 11:27 PM
Jesus you're not a scientist are you? Carbon atoms and molecules tend to look the same no matter where you go. I imagine you can never totally rule out terrestrial contamination as it would be very difficult to send something built entirely on earth and scrub it clean of all earth-based organic.

Of course you can, they spent $2.5 billion dollars sending this thing to Mars to look for one thing, then when they find it, they state it may have foreign contaminants in it.
From Earth. Seriously, WTF?
I'm sorry, but if you are spending that sort of money on a device to do a specific job, you would want to be shit sure that the thing was cleaner than Lloyd Rainey's boot when you send it into space.
I do agree with Skut that the are just being extra careful after previous egg on face situations, but what a bullshit excuse.

Desmo
04-12-2012, 11:28 PM
I assumed it meant contamination from Earth millions of years ago from a meteor strike or something. Not contamination from equipment we have sent to Mars.

It's (possibly) either.
It shouldn't be from the machinery.

thro
05-12-2012, 12:55 AM
Of course you can, they spent $2.5 billion dollars sending this thing to Mars to look for one thing, then when they find it, they state it may have foreign contaminants in it.
From Earth. Seriously, WTF?


translation:
we think we found evidence of life, but the fruitloops will revolt if we announce it. we need to chat with the pope so he can revise the catholic dogma before giving a press conference.

WhiteNoize
05-12-2012, 05:33 AM
I for one welcome our new organic overlords.

shan
05-12-2012, 05:39 AM
looking at those pics it occurs to me once they do all their analysis and generate all the data, they will be able to recreate those conditions and see if something here can survive there. that would be cool. if we cannot find life elsewhere we could plant it there ourselves.
Tom Cruze likes this

MADOGA
05-12-2012, 08:16 AM
of course there's organics where do u think mars bars come from.

somebodyelse
05-12-2012, 08:44 AM
i always feel it to be shortsighted to expect life anywhere else to be carbon based

Stu
05-12-2012, 08:56 AM
Of course you can, they spent $2.5 billion dollars sending this thing to Mars to look for one thing, then when they find it, they state it may have foreign contaminants in it.

Curiosity has been designed to investigate a number of things and this does not represent the one thing it is looking for. There are many things which may point to life of Mars, not simply just finding organic molecules. It has a mass spectrometer on board which can look at isotopic composition. They may use differences in the isotopic composition of some elements to rule out earth contamination since for many elements the isotopic composition varies between earth Materials and Martian materials. It's how we identified meteorites that originated from Mars.

It is early days, and I imagine there is a lot of data that needs to be worked through before people jump to conclusions:

"We have no definitive detection of Martian organics at this point, but we will keep looking in the diverse environments of Gale Crater," said SAM Principal Investigator Paul Mahaffy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

g0zer
05-12-2012, 09:07 AM
PERCHLORATE

In June 2008, the Wet Chemistry Laboratory (WCL) on board the 2007 Phoenix Mars Lander performed the first wet chemical analysis of martian soil. The analyses on three samples, two from the surface and one from 5 cm depth, revealed a slightly alkaline soil and low levels of salts typically found on Earth. Most unexpected though was the presence of ~ 0.6 wt % perchlorate (ClO4-), most likely as a Mg(ClO4)2 phase.[30]

The extreme temperatures found on Mars typically lead to either crystallization or evaporation of water, making it difficult to imagine that water could be found in liquid form. The salts formed from perchlorates discovered at the Phoenix landing site act as “anti-freeze” and will substantially lower the freezing point of water. Based on the temperature and pressure conditions on present-day Mars at the Phoenix lander site, conditions would allow a perchlorate salt solution to be present in liquid form for a few hours each day during the summer.[31]

The possibility that the perchlorate was a contaminant brought from Earth has been eliminated by several lines of evidence. The Phoenix retro-rockets used ultra pure hydrazine and launch propellants consisted of ammonium perchlorate. Sensors on board Phoenix found no traces of ammonium, and thus the perchlorate in the quantities present in all three soil samples is indigenous to the martian soil.

In 2006, a mechanism was proposed for the formation of perchlorates that is particularly relevant to the discovery of perchlorate at the Mars Phoenix lander site. It was shown that soils with high concentrations of natural salts could have some of their chloride converted to perchlorate in the presence of sunlight and/or ultraviolet light. The mechanism was reproduced in the lab using chloride-rich soils from Death Valley.[32] In 2010, perchlorate was found at the 1000 ppb levels in a vast section of Antarctica, with implications that it is formed naturally and globally on Earth and probably on Mars.[12] Recent isotopic studies have shown that natural perchlorate is produced on Earth by the oxidation of chlorine species through pathways involving tropospheric ozone or its photochemical products

METHANE


Mars – the Martian atmosphere contains 10 nmol/mol methane.[53] The source of methane on Mars has not been determined. Recent research suggests that methane may come from volcanoes, fault lines, or methanogens[54], or that it may be a byproduct of electrical discharges from dust devils and dust storms[55], or that it may be the result of UV radiation.[56] In January 2009, NASA scientists announced that they had discovered that the planet often vents methane into the atmosphere in specific areas, leading some to speculate this may be a sign of biological activity going on below the surface.[57] Analysis of observations made by a Weather Research and Forecasting model for Mars (MarsWRF) and related Mars general circulation model (MGCM) suggests that it is potentially possible to isolate methane plume source locations to within tens of kilometers, which is within the roving capabilities of future Mars rovers.[58] The Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in August 2012, is able to make measurements that distinguish between different isotopologues of methane;[59] but even if the mission is to determine that microscopic Martian life is the source of the methane, the life forms likely reside far below the surface, outside of the rover's reach.[60] Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument is capable of tracking the presence of methane over time to determine if it is constant, variable, seasonal, or random, providing further clues about its source

^wiki

agrid
05-12-2012, 01:01 PM
Fuck those organic overlords, I'm stocking up on vinegar in case it turns out they are made of silicone instead of carbon.

St Ives
06-12-2012, 07:55 AM
i always feel it to be shortsighted to expect life anywhere else to be carbon based

I don't think they discount the other elements entirely. They just know that carbon based life can exist, as opposed to what they know about all the rest, and they also aren't even sure if carbon based life originated here or if it arrived here. The versatility of the carbon atom lends itself to lots of useful compounds that are particularly useful to life as we know it. If you're going to look for life then the most economical way would be to focus on what is already known.

Deej
06-12-2012, 08:06 AM
translation:
we think we found evidence of life, but the fruitloops will revolt if we announce it. we need to chat with the pope so he can revise the catholic dogma before giving a press conference.

No no, it's ok, they will be safe. The have the catch all "god created the heavens and the earth". Heavens automatically includes mars of course. Mars didn't get a specific mention, unlike earth, but you know, the old book wasn't one for detail.

thatguy
06-12-2012, 08:06 AM
I for one welcome our new organic overlords.

Lol

thro
06-12-2012, 12:56 PM
No no, it's ok, they will be safe. The have the catch all "god created the heavens and the earth". Heavens automatically includes mars of course. Mars didn't get a specific mention, unlike earth, but you know, the old book wasn't one for detail.

Recruitment for the one-way mars mission:

"come to heaven!"

XSorXpire
06-12-2012, 03:45 PM
Send em.
And their book...

Sandrat
07-12-2012, 08:33 PM
As a mass fraction in this galaxy, carbon comes in at 4600 parts per million (gleaned from wikipedia, soz), best chance that life would be carbon based rather than say, silica based for example. would be super happy if the Curiosity rover had found something more than a clue as to whether life had or does exist on Mars.

That being said, it would put the kibosh on anyone thinking that terraforming the red planet for our own ends is a ethical course of action (let alone feasible, lol).