Friday, January 16, 2009

Mars Gets More Interesting

Mars Gets More Interesting

A report getting play recently shows that Methane is being emitted from underground sources on Mars. Since there is no evidence of volcanic activity on the red planet, it is supposed that a biological source is possible, if not probable, for this basic building block of life as we know it. As principal investigator Michael Mumma, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said, "Suppose we put a probe into a fissure at one of the release sites site and we could get measurements from some extant life form," he said. "We could then sequence the life form and see if it had the same origins as Earth life. What could be more compelling?"

Lisa Pratt of Indiana University, who was part of a team that identified a microbe two miles down in a South African gold mine that lives entirely without drawing energy from sunlight said, "Mars just got a whole lot more interesting." Pratt called the methane find "a breathtaking discovery."

On another note, I recently saw a documentary about Venus, which has the hottest weather in the solar system. It was claimed that excessive heat is present on the surface of Venus due to the atmosphere being predominately made up of carbon dioxide. At the time I just chalked this statement up to the AGW hysteria current in Western scientific circles. What I found very interesting about that in regard to the latest findings about Mars is that, along the way, it is revealed in the articles on the methane discovery on Mars that the atmosphere of Mars is also predominately carbon dioxide. See the Goddard article which states "Mars today is a world of cold and lonely deserts, apparently without life of any kind, at least on the surface. Worse still, it looks like Mars has been cold and dry for billions of years."

Mars has no globally warming greenhouse effect, yet the ambiguity is never mentioned in any of the reports I have read. Imagine that!