These two puzzles to be solved in order to find life on Mars

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2018-10-08 13:15:09

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These two puzzles to be solved in order to find life on Mars

In June, NASA revealed two mind-blowing fact: Mars has organic matter, and the level of methane in the planet's atmosphere changes with time. This is an amazing news that shook our understanding of astrobiology. And although they definitely do not prove the existence of aliens, most of the methane on Earth is still produced by living beings. And even a child will tell you that if you felt it, so someone had to do it.

Recent discoveries of methane "surprised us with reliable data that require interpretation," wrote a group of international scientists in a study published earlier this month in Astrobiology. The authors of the study, in fact, supported this thesis with their work — they are dismantled, what are the measurements, experiments and missions of NASA and other aerospace organizations have to put to the fore to find the more evidence that Mars supports (or supported) life.

In Short, scientists want to explore the geological activity of Mars. They want to understand what is the link between a newly discovered organic compounds and methane fluctuations in the atmosphere. Their goal is to find traces of other molecules and gases, which can allow some primitive microscopic form of life to survive under the planet's surface. That's what they're looking for.

the

First: redox gradient

When we eat, our bodies draw energy from our food through chemical reactions that create a flow of electrons and oxygen atoms between molecules. These swings needed recharge of our bodies — all living creatures need it. But due to the extreme atmosphere of Mars, this equilibrium does not exist. The atmosphere is so strongly oxidized that these reactions occur only in one direction. Any living creature on Mars will be so hard to react with air that can't survive. Researchers are looking for components in the Martian atmosphere, which could balance this reaction, thus giving life a chance to develop.

the

Second, the methane source

The Next step towards understanding whether Mars can support life, according to scientists, is to excavate the surface of Mars and find out where does all this methane. While living beings on Earth produce methane as the digestion is not the only way to create this gas in the atmosphere. The future of NASA InSight mission will look beneath the surface of Mars. Its main goal is to understand the seismic activity of the planet, but who knows what she'll find with it.

Why the level of methane on Mars ranges? Seasonal freezing and thawing of ice, which gradually expands and produces methane (we know this from data of the Rover "Curiosity"). But there is no easy way to check how much the methane is there and whether it becomes more over time. And this means that the search for the source of the Martian methane is much more difficult than to grab the finger little green man.

Through the chemical composition of groundwater samples, and atmosphere, scientists could find out the origin of this methane is from biological processes or complex chemical reactions that do not involve life.

Scientists, that it is all consider, but don't think we have convincing evidence of the existence of life on Mars. In fact, once said Caleb Scharf, it is much wiser to assume that it does not exist anywhere other than Earth. In the end, it's the only place that we know for sure.

But if, for some strange likelihood, under the surface hid, or if the microbes on Mars was another form of life, the strategy of the authors of this study probably represents our best chance to find them.

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