A Scientifc and Christian View of Life in Outer Space Our Solar System Part 1b

November 2014 Study on Earth by Dr. Frank Keppler Supporting Organic Chemicals or Microbes Having Been Detected on Mars

In November 2014 results of a study led by Dr. Frank Keppler of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Results of this study were on the web sites www.space.com and www.sciencedaily.com and were published in the leading science journal Nature but unfortunately have not been widely publicized including no mention I have heard so far in the general media. In this study Dr. Keppler and his team used a sample of the Murchison meteorite that is a carbonaceous chrondrite metoeoite rich in organic chemicals and some biomass from Hawaii. He and his team heated these samples and sometimes subjected them to the chemical perchlorate that also occurs in the soil of Mars. A primary result of these actions was the chemical chloromethane and related chemicals like dichloromethane. The chloromethane resulting from actions on the sample from the Murchison meteorite had carbon ratios that were characteristic of material including the chloromethane detected by NASA space probes on Mars while the results on the Hawaii biomass had carbon isotope ratios not characteristic of Mars but of Earth. The main conclusion of this study is that the chloromethane detected by the Viking and Curiousity landers was not earth contamination but was native to Mars although this chloromethane detected by the space probes could be native Martian soil or soil on Mars that was originally from meteorites that have fallen to Mars and mixed with the soil. what this likely means is that there are organic chemicals or even microbes dead or alive on Mars that produced the chloromethane observed by Viking and Curiousity despite NASA and the general scientific communitygenerally denying that possibility. One leading NASA scientist that promoted the idea that the chloromethane observed by Viking (or Curiousity) could be from Mars organic chemicals or microbial life is Dr. Christopher McKay who was one of the reviewers of Dr. Keppler's study. Perchlorates are chlorine compounds first found in the soil of Mars in 2008 by the Phoenix lander. They do not automatically react with any organic chemcials in the Martian soil but do quite strongly in samples of Martian soil that are heated such as in the ovens aboard Curiousity and likely the ones on Viking. I have been very suprised by the lack of media coverage so far as this could be one of the greatest scientific discoveries ever if it is upheld about the Viking and Curiosity lander samples that they turn out to be from not just organic chemicals but native martian life especially if it is still living and not fossilized ones. I don't know yet if there is any way that the Curiousity rover can determine the source of the chloromethane whether is was methane or some simple organic chemical, a more complex organic chemical or Martian life either dead or living but I hope this can be determined soon if this study by Dr. Keppler is substantiated. If this study is supported there could be more pressure on NASA and other space agencies to send astronauts to Mars in the nearer future than the 2030s since astronauts would have more perception and resourcefulness to examine any samples that could have organic chemicals or life than purely robotic missions. Even if dead or living microbes are found on Mars it would have to be determined if they are identical to any microbes on Earth to see if they originally came from Earth instead of being unique microbes indigenous to Mars. As a Bible believing Christians I personally don't have a problem even if microbes are found on Mars dead or alive, unique to Mars or identical to some on Earth as I would see that as a further example of the Creator God's creativity, wisdom and power and wonder for humans to explore but I acknowledge some non-Christians could see this as evidence for evolution. I personally as a Bible believing Christian would have a much bigger problem if definite evidence was found beyond earth of mortal extraterrestrial intelligent life as they would presumably have spirits that would somehow need to be saved and restored to a relationship with God from being in their sins by the Lord Jesus Christ dying for their sins on Earth or their planet and the Bible doesn't talk clearly about that and so far I haven't seen any evidence of that by SETI searches or other scientific means.

January 2014 Opportunity Rover Finds Oldest Suitable Site for Past Life on Mars

In January 2014 it was announced that the Nasa Mars Opportunity rover had found a site that would have been supportive of possible past life on Mars. This site is located near Endeavour Crater on Mars in the Meridiani Terra region of Mars near the western end of Valles Marineris. This site is regarded as the oldest location on Mars that has suitable conditions for life. There was found there clay minerals that indicate there was previously water there that would not be acidic and would have been acceptable for humans to drink. This means that when considered together with the Curiousity findings of conditions suitable for life some time later in Mars' history there were conditions suitable for life on different parts of Mars' surface for a significant part of its history. Later on in Mars' history there was still liquid water for a while but it was too acidic for humans to drink and wouldn't be suitable to support life in general.

December 2013 Curiousity Rover Finds Suitable Site for Past Life in Yellowknife Bay in Gale Crater on Mars

In December 2013 it was announced by NASA that they found evidence in the Yellowknife Bay area of Gale Crater of a past lake that could support at least microbial life. A main reason this location in Gale Crater is thought to have been habitable is that it has mudstone including clay that indicate a neutral balance in the water that is not too acidic like some other parts of Mars. The Curiousity rover also detected carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus that are all elements involved with life on Earth and also rocks with iron and sulfur that could be nutrients for bacteria like life. Indications were also found that then Mars was still cold and dry but not so much so as now with still some liquid water including with drinkable places with neutral pH. In locations like this some Earth bacteria could survice and reproduce quite readily. Search is now going to be made for remains of organic chemicals to attempt to provide further evidence whether life was present in this or other places of Gale Crater on Mars. As a bible believing Christian I personally don't have a problem with the possible discovery of life beyond Earth and believe this could be evidence of God's great wisdom, creativity and power not necessarily the spontaneity of evolution in the universe but it would be more difficult on a biblical basis if intelligent mortal life was found outside Earth in the universe but so far there is little evidence for that.

September 2013 Negative Results for Curiousity Rover Attempts to Find Methane on Mars

According to a report in the online source spacedaily.com no methane has been found on Mars down to about a part in a billion atoms or molecules. This means methane in the Martian atmosphere is at least six times rarer than predictions before. The instrument used for these measurements is called the Tunable Laser Spectrometer. Methane can be produced by some forms of life as well as non-living means such as volcanic processes so there was much interest in this measurement. Previous measurements from earth and spacecraft orbiting Mars had measured up to 45 parts per billion in local areas. There is now going to be a search by Curiousity for concentrations of methane below a part per billion. According to the authors of this articles the previous possibly observed measurements should still have been detected anywhere in Mars' atmosphere including Curiousity's location at above a part per billion. The limitation of Curiousity's measurements so far mean that there must be no more than 10 to 20 tons of methane entering Mars' atmosphere each year which is approximately 50 million times less than what enters earth's atmosphere each year. The measurements so far of methane on Mars by Curiousity were done in spring to the latter part of Martian summer when Mars would be warmer and more likely to emit methane by biological or other means. This seems to limit at least the possibility of microbes that take in methane to survive on Mars.

May 2014 Discovery by HiRise Instruments on Mars Orbiter of Tropical Temporary Water Flows

In May 2014 I saw on the Planetary Society web site an article about Recurring Slope Linnae (RSL). There are on slopes on craters and other locations such as the immense Valles Marineris. These occur mostly in the tropical areas of Mars on the slopes mostly facing the sun. They are temporary and are seen by the new layers of deposits on the walls of craters or large valleys like the Valles Marineris. With the temperatures and pressures in the Mars atmosphere likely only support briny or salty water that are liquid at higher temperatures than purer water. I am not sure how salty such water would be but if it isn't too salty it could make these areas more conducive to at least microbial life if there is any there.

September 2013 Substantial Water in Mars Ground Examined by Curiousity Rover

In September 2013 Nasa announced that significant amount of water vapour had been given off in heating a sample of Mars soil in Curiousity's Sam oven instrument. This water vapor would have been about 2% by weight of the soil sample and was the most common gas given off on heating the soil sample. This soil was characteristic of surface soil over all the surface of Mars which means it wouldn't be too difficult for possible future astronauts to obtain water on Mars as they would only have to heat the soil a couple hundred degrees. The amount of water from a cubic foot of soil would be about 2 pints. The bad thing is that chlorine probably from perchlorates was also given off in heating the soil and the perchlorates is harmful to human health and would be dangerous to take in with the water without suitable filtering. That water at least in the form of water bound to the soil is so common on Mars indicates that when Mars was warmer there would have been significant scope for liquid water which would have made Mars more habitable in the distant past. There thus could have been at least microbial life although no proof has been found for this yet. Even if evidence for such life is found this can still be consistant with the wisdom, creativity and power of God in His creation. It is only with intelligent mortal life beyond earth that there could be more difficulties from a biblical view such as how God could save them including whether God coming in the form of a man in the person of Jesus Christ and dying for our sins and rising from the dead would count for such intelligent and spiritual beings on another planet or not or whether God the Son would have go to their planet and be incarnated and die for their sins there as well. All this is still hypothetical and quite complicated but wouldn't be an issue for microbes or even plants or even animals that have souls but not spirits.

March 2013 Curiousity Rover Finds Most Suitable Site So Far For Past Life on Mars

In March 2013 the NASA Curiousity Rover took a drill sample of some bedrock and put it into its ChemMin and SAM facilities for chemical analysis. Among other things these instruments revealed that the sample included a lot of clay and sulfates that are formed out of liquid water. It was also revealed that the pH or amount or how basic or acidic a material is gave a neutral value so the water that once flowed in this area would be acceptable for humans to drink and would provide a ready environment for microbes to live in. This area was once probably the end of a fresh water river or lake and the different elements or their compounds would have been quite suitable for at least microbial life. Other places on Mars that have been analyzed for water have shown that the past water in those sites was too acidic or too salty but the water in this site in Gale Crater would have been neutral and just right for life. This is a more definite indication that some areas of Mars in the past were suitable for life but further results such as of complex organic compounds would have to be found to indicate that even microbial life was actually ever present.

June 2013 Curiousity Rover Finds Evidence That Water Not Wind Carved Many Features on Mars

Around June 2013 the Nasa Curiousity Rover found that pebbles in Gale Crater where the Curiousity Rover is located were of significant size and too large and heavy to be moved by winds. This fact and the other evidence of water in the location indicate that these pebbles and the surrounding features were carved by water. This feature was visible from orbit and it was previously uncertain whether it was formed by water or wind. This evidence on the ground that the feature was carved by water has greatly strengthened the already favoured position that many features on the surface of Mars thought to be carved by water were indeed carved by water rather than wind. This would also strengthen the case that Mars previously had substantial running liquid water and rain from a more signifant atmosphere. This further strengthens the case for past habitability of Mars. So far however no significant evidence for life past or present has been found by the Curiousity rover.

August 2012 Successful Landing of Mars Curiousity Rover on Mars to Look for Evidence of Life

On Mars 5/6 the Mars Curiousity Rover or Mars Science Laboratory landed successfully on Mars. This was even though the landing technique was quite nover and complicated including jettisoning a heat shield, some stages of rockets, a parachute and a mechanism called a sky-crane. Although this was all a great credit to the intelligence and technical abiltiy of those in Nasa or associated organizations we should not forget it is the Creator God of the Bible that gave men and women the intelligence to build and operate such machines in the first place. As I said elsewhere on this web site it was in large part the vastness and orderliness and the beauty of the universe that led me to look for a Creator behind the creation. This later led me to realize that to be ready for God's blessings in the life to come I had to confess my sins and trust in God's Son Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour to have a relationship with this Creator God. Anyway as far as I can tell the rover has landing safely and intact on Mars and so far the cameras or other equipment seem to working properly and hopefully the rest will as well. The reason I have mentioned this project on this web page is because it it the first spacecraft to land on Mars since the Viking spacecraft in 1976 that have the capability to look for life on Mars. There are probably a couple instruments that could do this including those that could determine what types of methane are on Mars that could be a sign of life or the oven that could find organic chemicals or even microbes in the soil especially some distance below the surface. There has already been found regular emissions of methane from some parts of Mars that are hard to explain outside of biological means and this is one thing that will be tested. There will especially be a search for methane with Carbon 12 as this is the only type of Carbon besides some Carbon 14 that is present in methane of other organic chemicals from life on earth. Methane with Carbon 13 apparently is not present when it is produced by life on earth. Of course even if there is life past or present on Mars it wouldn't be difficult to produce life based on Carbon 13 alternatively but this is not what we see on earth. As a Bible believing Christian I don't have a problem if life is found on other planets even if it can clearly be shown not to be contamination from earth as could be the case by now on Mars. I wouldn't have a problem if this life is something like bacteria or even plants or animals. what I would have problems with if intelligent life is found beyond earth with a spirit in each of them like humans other than of course departed humans, angels, demons or God including the Lord Jesus Christ. Such intelligent life in the science sense would be difficult to accomodate from a Christian point because we would have to determine if they sinned and if so whether Jesus' death on earth would apply to them or if Jesus would somehow have to be born and die on their planet for their sins. Especially if there were many alien races this quickly becomes bizarre and cumbersome and for that reason and that such alien races aren't clearly mentioned in the Bible I don't believe there is intelligent extraterrestrial life or that we will find it. The lack of results even from star systems now known to have planets by all the Seti projects adds to these beliefs of mine.

May 2011 Indication of Considerably More Water in the Moon's Interior Than Previously Believed

In late May 2011 there was an announcement that some of the rocks of Apollo 17 were re-analyzed and considerably more water than thought was in some of the rocks. In particular some of these rocks included glass beads formed by volcanic activity which are structures that are very stable in conditions of extreme heat and pressure. This means that any water contained in these beads would not easily be lost to the outside environment. In these glass beads it was found that they contained 100 times more water than previously measured. Scientists believe this is an indication that the layer below the moon's crust could contain a considerable amount of water perhaps as much as in the comparable layer below earth's crust. If there were any gases in those regions of the moon such as oxygen, carbon dioxide or methane it is possible that some bacterial life could have been established or even remain since it would be protected from the layer of rock over it from the radiation from the sun or the universe that pervades space and reaches the surface of the moon. I do not know if the lunar material was retrieved from this area but there is a small patch of lunar soil that is a brown colour instead of the ordinary grey in the area of the Apollo 17 landing where these astronauts had access to and could have obtained lunar rocks or material from. I heard on space.com that this brown colour of material could indicate some presence of water although I would have to confirm this. There was also the discovery recently or significant amounts of water ice on the lunar poles by the American Lunar Prospector probe that crashed into the south pole region of the Moon and of water in a form bound to rocks on the top layer of the surface by a recent Indian orbiter around the Moon. All of these things could better support some type of life or indicate more widespread presence of water on the Moon although the polar areas of the Moon are some of the coldest areas of the solar system and would be too cold to support probably even bacteria life. This more widespread presence of water is some form in some areas of the Moon will also be extremely valuable for astronauts who might visit or try to establish a base on the Moon in the future. It would also be interesting to determine if there is any release of gases including water vapor from the interior of the Moon on any areas of the surface of the Moon now there is an indication that water in some form could be more common below the surface of the Moon.

November 2011 Launch of Curiousity Rover to Mars

In November 2011 Nasa launched the Curiousity rover to Mars and it is expected to land on Mars in August 2012 if all goes well. The Curiousity rover is also called the Mars Science Laboratory. Although there are many experiments on this spacecraft the one that could be viewed as most interesting are the ones that could detect organic chemicals. These instruments could also provide evidence for past or present microbes on Mars if they exist. Unfortunately the main instruments would involve heating the samples which could destroy the organic chemicals like could have happened in the Viking landers in the 1970s. This could have been due to perchlorates in the Martian soil which destroy organic chemicals on heating. Perchlorates were discovered in the Martian soil near the Martian north pole by the Phoenix lander around 2008 and are thought to be common in other regions of Mars. However we know now to take this into account and we could still get an indication if organics are present in the soil even involving experiments with heating now. From my perspective as a biblical Christian I wouldn't have problems if even current microbes are found in Mars and would just see that as further evidence of the wonder, power and creativity of God in His Creation. I would however have problems if extraterrestrial intelligent beings are found. I think UFOs and aliens that have been observed that can't be explanined by natural or human artifical or physchological means are probably real but not extraterrestrial but demonic as the New Testament clearly allows for this type of thing.

August 4, 2011 Possible Indication of Seasonal Current Water Flow on Mars

On August 4th, 2011 Nasa announced that the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter (MRO) had detected possible evidence of ongoing flow of liquid water on Mars. Although liquid water wasn't actually detected, seasonal variations of channels on the sides of a crater in the last couple years was detected. The crater was Newton Crater which is a fairly large crater not too far south of the Martian equator. The evidence was dark channels on the sides of this crater that change with the Martian seasons and seemed to change or grow the most in the Martian spring that would be when liquid water would be expected to occur from the melting of water ice that could be in the sides or near the top of the crater under a layer of dust or soil. Although gullies had previously been detected on Mars, these were thought to be only relatively recent by scientists such as 1,000,000 years ago compared to the idea that the evolutionary idea that the solar system is 4.5 billion year old and the last large scale water on the surface of Mars might be 3 to 3.5 billion years ago. On a literal biblical view this relatively recent flow of water on Mars could be a couple hundred years ago and the large scale water flow on Mars could be about 5000 to 5500 years ago at the time of the great flood on earth or perhaps about 7000 year ago at the time of the curse on creation following ADam and Eve's sin of taking of the forbidden fruit on earth. If this possible evidence of ongoing flow of liquid water discovered in August 2011 is proven to be actually the ongoing flow of liquid water on Mars with the flow on Mars and if perhaps this is also discoved on other locations of Mars under closer examination in its tropical areas one way to examine it further would be to look for emission of methane or some other gases that bacteria that might be still living there would give off. On earth almost all life depend on liquid water to survive. Methane has been observed to occur more than scientists can explain in the atmosphere of Mars and it has been observed to come from some specific locations of Mars such as Nili Fossae. What should be done now is to examine this region of Newton crater or any other place where similiar season channels or indication of flowing water are found for emission of methane. I haven't heard yet if this has been done but it would be a good idea if Nasa could train any orbiter that can detect emission from space on this region to see if it can detect methane emission from the vicinity of Newton crater. If there is further confirmation of possible life in this region as a biblical Christian it wouldn't be a problem for me as I would think that if further evidence of the wisdom and wonder of God's creation and wouldn't be a problem as they would not have spirits that needed to be saved as humans or any hypothetical intelligent extraterrestrial beings.

Probable Timing of End of Wet Period on Mars from a Literal Biblical Perspective

From a literal biblical perspective, the creation was not the only major natural event on earth and probably at least part of the universe. A second major event besides the original curse on creation following Adam and Eve's sin in partaking of the forbidden fruit was God's cursing the earth with the worldwide flood in the days of Noah. This was a curse not only because it killed most people and animals but because in the post- flood world the conditions on earth were not nearly as good for the growth of plants and animals. That is why the dinosaurs and other giant creatures could probably not survive in a post flood world. However it is quite possible that God then put a curse on some of the astronomical objects then as well. One likely candidate would have been the loss of much of the atmosphere of Mars which resulted in the cessation of liquid water rain and the drying up of oceans, seas and rivers of liquid water. There is overwhelming evidence that Mars once had a substantial system of liquid water including the carving of the immense Vallis Marineris which is far larger than EArth's Grand Canyon and this is accepted by most scientists. The end of Mars' once substantial atmosphere would have not only robbed Mars of its liquid water system but also would have stopped much of the protection against harmful radiation from space that now quite freely reaches the surface of Mars. This event of the loss of much of Mars' atmosphere and the cooling of the climate would have occurred probably at the time of the flood of Noah on earth and would have led to the destruction of any large scale life such as plants and animals that could have existed on Mars previously and made analogues of bacteria to find protective niches such as underground. Although I don't think Mars before had intelligent life I do think it could have previously supported large scale life perhaps even intelligent life quite comfortably.

Early Ideas and Following Limitations of Mars as a Possible Abode of Extraterrestrial Life

The planet Mars has long been conceived or looked upon as one of the best places in our solar system outside of Earth for extraterrestrial life. This would probably include some but not all Christians with this viewpoint. Of course at first until probably the first close up pictures by the fly by unmanned Mariner spacecraft past Mars in the 1960s Mars was even thought to possibly shelter extraterrestrial intelligent life human-like or otherwise. This was popularized by the astronomer Percival Lowell who conducted an extensive study of features on Mars he imagined to be artificially produced canals by a desperate civilization on the dry climate of Mars. This idea began with another Italian astronomer named Giovanni Schiaparelli who first noticed these features and called them "canali" which is the Italian word for channels but was often interpreted in English as canals. Another prominent person who popularized intelligent life on Mars was H. G. Wells with his science fiction book The War of the Worlds that was famously broadcast on radio in the United States saying that Martians had landed in United States and were trying to take some power and caused quite a panic by some people who thought this was real. I think this was in 1938. Other people have also popularized the idea of intelligent life on Mars but the pictures of the Mars flyby that showed many craters on Mars and a surface apparently void of noticeable vegetation, liquid water or signs of civilization dealt a severe blow to the hopes of finding extraterrestrial life on Mars. This disappointment was further extended when the first landers on Mars the twin NASA Viking probes saw no trees or vegetation (or humanoid or animal life) on Mars in their immediate vicinity. According to a recent brief article in the magazine Science News (November 18, 2006), there is a report that an experiment was done on earth on three arid or very dry locations in Chile, Egypt and Antarctica and two areas with iron-rich soil in Spain and Hawaii to revisit the Viking lander results bearing on the question of possible Martian microscopic life. In these recent experiments on earth the same experimental equipment or techniques that were used on Viking landers were used called thermal volatization - gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (TV-GC-MS) as well as another technique for detecting microscopic life. In these tests in the soil from the very dry locations in Chile, Antarctica and Egypt this other technique indicated there were some biological entitites in the soil but the TV-GC-MS technique used on Mars showed results giving no indication of biological entities. Also in the soils from Spain and Hawaii with abundant iron the results show that in the TV-GC-MS procedure some of the carbon of the biological materials was turned into carbon dioxide in the examinations. One of the researchers said these findings of carbon being turned into carbon-dioxide in iron rich soils (as the soil on Mars) and the lack of detection of biological entities in the arid soil by the TV-GC-MS could explain why the Viking landers discovered carbon dioxide but not organic material. This means there is a more realistic possibility the Viking landers encountered microscopic life on Mars in the 1970s. Unfortunately the present Spirit and Opportunity rovers only have capability to detect water and perhaps other hydrogen bearing compounds and not carbon based or organic compounds but there are plans to send a further lander or rover to Mars with organic compounds detection ability soon.

Indication of Possible Organic Chemicals on Mars from Comparison of Mars Meteorite and Earth Arctic Conditions in December 2007

Although it is somewhat controversial there is a meteorite from Mars named Allan Hills 84001 named I believe from the area of Antarctica where it was found that contains some possible indications of Martian microbial life. This past life is possibly indicated by such things as structures that look like fossilized miniature bacteria. Although their small size even for bacteria was previously used to dismiss it as not possibly biological I believe some examples of such small bacteria or microbial life have more recently been found on Earth. One of the other main indications of possible former life on Mars in this meteorite is deposits of the iron containing mineral magnetite. However this can be produced by both organic and inorganic processes. Anyway in late 2007 this Mars meteorite was used for a further experiment here on Earth. In this experiment this meteorite was studied and compared with some of the ground of the arctic Norwegian island of Svalsberg north of Norway itself by Norwegian scientists. These scientists examined rocks produced by volcanic processes in the frigid climate a long time ago. These scientists found that organic material was present in carbonate spheres in both the Earth rocks and the Martian meteorite. This organic material is strongly related to the mineral magnetite which is composed mostly of iron oxide. This participation of magnetite is the essential part of realizing the formation process of these organic chemicals. When these rocks cooled the magnetite instigated the formation of the organic chemicals from liquids containing abundant water and carbon dioxide which are both known to occur also on Mars and at least previously would likely have occured in relation to liquid water or perhaps other liquids. Although the organic chemicals in the Mars meteorite are not thought to have been produced by living forms at this time the probable production of organic chemicals in a spontaneous way with the assistance of the mineral magnetite on an otherwise cold and seemingly inhospitable environment such as Mars could make the existence of microbial life on Mars in the past or even present more likely as these organic chemcials could be used as nutrients for any possible Martian microbial life forms. This could also make the presence of organic matter more likely on other worlds in our solar system or extrasolar planets more likely if they have water, carbon dioxide and a catalyst such as magnetite and some liquid to transport the water and carbon dioxide. There are more unmanned landing probes scheduled to reach Mars in 2009 or in the next decade by United States, Europe and perhaps others capable of detecting organic chemicals and perhaps life such as bacteria so the discovery of organic chemicals in this meteorite from Mars in a way similiar to rocks in harsh and Mars-like areas or Earth increases the promise that at least organic chemicals will be found soon on Mars. This could be an indication of bacteria life on Mars but any organic chemicals on Mars could be only limited to inorganic means of production and use if there is no more complex involvement in these processes than the magnetite catalyzed production of organic chemicals.

December 2009 Positive Reconsideration of Allan Hills and Other Meteorites From Mars as Indicating Past Microbial Life There

In a radio broadcast I heard last night that including an interview with a scientific specialist who has experience with the Allan Hills meteorite and was familiar with some of the other meteorites from Mars, it was affirmed that there is renewed confidence that the magnetite and wormlike structures on the Allan Hills meteorite and some positive indications on some other Mars meteorites indicate past biological activity on Mars of a microbial nature. It was stated that this magnetite could be produced inside the bacteria or similiar creatures and could be used to orient the microbes with a magnetic field. However this would still be somewhat difficult for microbes on Mars as there is not a global magnetic field on Mars as on Earth although there are local magnetic fields in some places on Mars but these would not be as useful for orienting these microbes on Mars with the different climatic zones as the magnetic field on Earth would be for microbes here.

Mars from Hubble Telescope

Accumulating Evidence for Possible Past or Present Life on Mars Through Discovery of Past and Present Water on Mars

Although large scale life at least at present of animals, planets or of course humanoid or other intelligent life has pretty well been ruled out on Mars, there is accumulating evidence that Mars can now still support limited bacteria life and may do so and that it could once support much more extensive life and possibly did. The first discovery in favour of the idea that Mars could once support much more extensive life was the early discovery of the Valles Marineris or Mariner Valley which is similiar to but far larger than Earth's Grand Canyon which of course is known to be carved by water. This and many other considerations argue strongly in favour of this Valles Marineris and similiar features that look like they were carved by water erosion actually having been carved by water. Much more recently there has been discovered within a metre of the surface over I think about 2/3 of the surface of Mars especially on either side of its equator a vast sheet of water ice which if melted could form quite a sizable ocean of liquid water and accompanying water system. This could be left over from when Mars was previously a wet planet in its early history including probably an ocean in much of its lower northern hemisphere that also has what looks like several former water channels running into it. In March 2007 it was announced that the European Mars Express has discovered that the south Martian polar cap has about the same surface area as the U.S. state of Texas and that is 1 or 2 miles deep is composed mostly of water ice rather than having a significant part that was dust or other similiar material. It is calculated that is this water ice in the south Martian polar cap were all to melt the resultant liquid water would cover all of Mars to a depth of about 11 metres or 36 feet. Liquid water of course is one of the main components to support life as we know it although theoretically there are some other chemicals that could take its place. Another thing that in some ways is even more interesting is the also recent discovery of what looks like small water gullies on the sides of some crater walls and other places. These are interesting because these gullies usually go over other features such as smaller craters or ridges meaning the water gullies must be more recent. They also in many cases have no apparently more recent features interfering with or imposed on them meaning they are either quite recent or perhaps still active. This would be very interesting for unmanned or manned future Martian explorers to investigate. Ongoing research in support of water is from the NASA Spirit and Opportunity rovers that are continuing to discover evidence of past liquid water on the surface of Mars. This includes the discovery of a rock ledge which seems to give evidence of past water erosion or formation activity as if it was on the shoreline of a former shallow sea. Sulphate components that are usually just formed in liquid water and that were probably dissolved in a liquid water sea at the Opportunity rover site is strong evidence of previous liquid water on Mars especially at that location. There were also many nodules likely formed in water called blueberries because of their blue tinge on some of the rocks there that could also be evidence of past liquid water. The Opportunity rover also found evidence of the mineral Jarosite (K2Fe6(SO4)4(OH)12 that can only form in liquid water and Haematite (Fe2O3) that is usually found mostly in liquid water which is further substantial evidence of former liquid water on Mars. The Spirit rover has also found substantial evidence of Haematite and recently evidence of the mineral Goethite (FeO(OH)) that can only be formed in the presence of liquid water.

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