Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design

Mars soil toxic to life?

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An artist's drawing of one of NASA's Mars rover on the surface of Mars From Mike Wall at Space.com:

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation streaming from the sun “activates” chlorine compounds in the Red Planet’s soil, turning them into potent microbe-killers, a new study suggests.

These compounds, known as perchlorates, seem to be widespread in the Martian dirt; several NASA missions have detected them at a variety of locations. Perchlorates have some characteristics that would appear to boost the Red Planet’s habitability. They drastically lower the freezing point of water, for example, and they offer a potential energy source for microorganisms, scientists have said.

But the new study, by Jennifer Wadsworth and Charles Cockell — both of the U.K. Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland — paints perchlorates in a different light.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation streaming from the sun “activates” chlorine compounds in the Red Planet’s soil, turning them into potent microbe-killers, a new study suggests. These compounds, known as perchlorates, seem to be widespread in the Martian dirt; several NASA missions have detected them at a variety of locations. Perchlorates have some characteristics that would appear to boost the Red Planet’s habitability. They drastically lower the freezing point of water, for example, and they offer a potential energy source for microorganisms, scientists have said. [The Search for Life on Mars: A Photo Timeline] But the new study, by Jennifer Wadsworth and Charles Cockell — both of the U.K. Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland — paints perchlorates in a different light.More.

The good news is that we are really finding out instead of speculating.

See also: Breaking, breaking: NASA has not found ET

2 Replies to “Mars soil toxic to life?

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    But of course our cozy green & blue planet isn’t unusual. Why, there’s probably life on one of the planet’s out beyond Pluto that we haven’t discovered yet.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    Good thing we know that extremophiles can thrive on perchlorates, so as not to waste billions of years of evolution on Mars. With that much time, life is inevitable. Hope it wasn’t wiped out by a flood though.

    -Q

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