Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Red Planet is Not a Dead Planet 1.15.2009

NASA Science News for January 15, 2009

A team of NASA and university scientists has discovered 'substantial
plumes' of methane floating through the atmosphere of Mars. The
discovery indicates Mars is either biologically or geologically


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How does the saying go, "Where there is smoke there might be fire?"
And the implication here, "Where there is methane there should be life."
- LRK -

Of course it sounds better if you have a drum roll and proclaim,


ALIEN bugs are responsible for strong plumes of methane gas detected
on Mars, it was claimed tonight.

then one should whisper in the financial officer's ear - "Just need
the money for the next expedition to prove it."

Well a lot of methane might make for fuel for a return flight from Mars.
OH, that has already been suggested, even if you have to make your own.
- LRK -

The Promise of Mars
by Robert Zubrin
From Ad Astra May/June 1996

Methane does burn but we won't discuss the college dorm experiment
with a match and a body bent over. :-)
Yup, does burn.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

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Jan. 15, 2009: Mars today is a world of cold and lonely deserts,
apparently without life of any kind, at least on the surface. Indeed
it looks like Mars has been cold and dry for billions of years, with
an atmosphere so thin, any liquid water on the surface quickly boils
away while the sun's ultraviolet radiation scorches the ground.

The situation sounds bleak, but research published today in Science
Express reveals new hope for the Red Planet. The first definitive
detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars indicates that Mars is
still alive, in either a biologic or geologic sense, according to a
team of NASA and university scientists.

"Methane is quickly destroyed in the Martian atmosphere in a variety
of ways, so our discovery of substantial plumes of methane in the
northern hemisphere of Mars in 2003 indicates some ongoing process is
releasing the gas," says lead author Michael Mumma of NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center. "At northern mid-summer, methane is released at a
rate comparable to that of the massive hydrocarbon seep at Coal Oil
Point in Santa Barbara, Calif."
Exclusive: NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars
By Brian Berger
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 16 February 2005
02:09 pm ET

WASHINGTON -- A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space
officials at a private meeting here Sunday that they have found strong
evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and
sustained by pockets of water.

The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA's Ames Research
Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted
their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their
paper currently is being peer reviewed.

What Stoker and Lemke have found, according to several attendees of
the private meeting, is not direct proof of life on Mars, but methane
signatures and other signs of possible biological activity remarkably
similar to those recently discovered in caves here on Earth.

March 3, 2005 | Science
Hydrogen and methane provide raw energy for life at 'Lost City'

The hydrothermal vents were miles from where anyone could have
imagined. One massive seafloor vent was an unheard of 18 stories tall.
And all were creamy white and gray, suggesting a very different
composition than vent systems studied since the 1970s.

Scientists who named the spot Lost City knew they were looking at
something never seen before when the field was serendipitously
discovered in December 2000 during a National Science Foundation
expedition to the mid-Atlantic.

This week in Science, researchers publish for the first time findings
about the gases produced at Lost City and the organisms that make
their living off them. Both are so different from so-called
black-smoker hydrothermal vents that they may provide a whole new
avenue for looking for the earliest life on Earth and for signs of
life on other planets, according to Deborah Kelley, University of
Washington oceanographer and lead author of the Science article.

Microorganisms at Lost City are living in fluids with alkaline pH that
ranges from 9 to 11, which is nearly as caustic as Liquid-Plumr,
Kelley says. This compares to the previously studied black-smoker
vents where organisms are well adjusted to acidic pHs.

Should the next Mars rover 'follow the methane'?
October 21, 2008 10:54 PM

The detection of methane on Mars in 2004 raised the tantalising
possibility that the cold, dry planet now harbours life in the form of
subsurface, methane-producing bacteria. Now, detailed observations
suggest a way to potentially find any such life.

Nature News reports that observations made over the last four years
show the gas is not spread evenly around the planet but concentrated
in a handful of "hotspots".

The observations were reported at a planetary sciences meeting earlier
this month by Michael Mumma of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Maryland. They show that methane clouds spanning hundreds
of kilometres form over these hotspots and dissipate within a year -
much shorter than the 300 years it was thought to take for atmospheric
methane to be destroyed by sunlight. If methane is being destroyed so
quickly, it must be created at far higher rates than previously
thought, Mumma said at the meeting.




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