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Rob Sheldon reflects on the hunt for water on Mars

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Further to the recent evidence for water on Mars, and the BBC News commentary that

“If we find life on Mars and it can be shown to be of a different origin to that on Earth, then that essentially means that the Universe is teeming with life. It seems almost impossible that life could spring up by chance on two adjacent planets if life was rare.”

Actually, that doesn’t follow at all. It’s like saying that if there are several species of monotreme mammals in Australia, they must be common all over the planet. They are not. If one doesn’t know the history, one cannot really insist on things like that.

Meanwhile, Rob Sheldon reminisces:

I had lunch with one of the Nasa scientists involved in exobiology or astrobiology as it is now called. He was rather incensed by the press reports of “flowing water on Mars”, because he had been saying this for years to staunch denials from HQ. NASA has stubbornly refused to admit to water on Mars for the past 40 years perhaps because they denied Gil Levin the discovery of bacterial life on Mars (the incontrovertible results of his “Labelled Release Experiment” on the Mars Viking Lander) by insisting that before he claimed biology, he had to show water. So for 40 years (Gil is now 88), they have repeated the mantra that there is no life because there is no

Now mind you, the scoop that deposited Martian soil into Gil’s experiment in 1976 showed that the disturbed soil was darker under the surface, and one day later, the soil had brightened–the characteristic of wet soil. It is this same color change that Monday’s press release says is evidence of flowing water. What was insufficient evidence then, has become convincing evidence now. Why?

I read the bbc report (undoubtedly generated from NASA press release documents) and read the following sentences with outrage: “And there was eager anticipation for the results of Viking 1’s tests on soil samples.

One of them indicated what was interpreted as a signature for life – but was soon discounted as a bogus result.

And so for the best part of 20 years, Mars was seen as a dry dusty planet devoid of life.”

But now that we know the 2nd sentence is false, why do we still believe the 1st? The last paragraph of the article explains:

“Dr Matthew Balme of the Open University believes that this will be one of the most important experiments carried out in human history.

“If we find life on Mars and it can be shown to be of a different origin to that on Earth, then that essentially means that the Universe is teeming with life. It seems almost impossible that life could spring up by chance on two adjacent planets if life was rare.”

Let me parse this paragraph:

a) “if we find life” denies that Gil found it 40 years ago. It also motivates the researchers to claim credit for it. Looks like Gil better hang on for a few years or his Nobel prize will be reassigned.

b) “it can be shown to be of different origin” means that the author does not believe in interplanetary transport. Otherwise origins don’t matter. This means he is discounting the work on carbonaceous chondrites.

c) “different origin” suggests that the author believes in spontaneous generation. He obviously doesn’t believe in convergent evolution though.

This is a pickle, since one would think spontaneous generation would have created many different life forms on Earth, unless you think convergent evolution made them indistinguishable.

So why would Mars have different rules for spontaneous generation than Earth–surely not because Earth is less hospitable to life!

d) “that means the Universe is teeming” which is the Fermi question, if the Universe is teeming –“where is everybody?” So apparently the author doesn’t believe the Universe is “teeming”, which is a value-laden word that demands a negative answer. (Look at the connotations of “teeming” in Emma Lazarus’ poem: “the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”)

e) “it seems almost impossible…” because the author actually believes it to be impossible. Nonetheless, one should fund a Mars mission to look for life–why?–because for 40 years NASA has banned any instrument to look for life on Mars, so the Europeans are going to try. But if you aren’t going to believe your data, why send a mission?

Like a Spielberg movie, this contradictory viewpoint is supposed to keep everyone happy–Darwinists, ET fans, ET skeptics–and thereby maximize profits. But there’s one fairy godmother not invited to the party. And she still has the goods.

What the thirteenth fairy didn’t have, in the original Sleeping Beauty tale, was a plate at the table. She did have the power to cause trouble and vexation though.

In the event that Martian life is observed to be founded on DNA, at that point there can be no doubt that it has a similar outline source as earthbound life. IOW, both were planned by the same shrewd creators. http://www.gurgaoncompanion.com On the off chance that it is observed to be founded on an option that is other than DNA, at that point it might be an indication that there are numerous originators with various objectives in a similar little corner of the universe. A more conceivable clarification is that similar originators of life on earth were trying different things with some other approach on Mars. All things considered, insightful creatures do direct examinations. This is a call for alert. On the off chance that it's outsider, don't upset it. The "Andromeda strain" situation rings a bell. Verbally processing. ayeshagurgaon
Robert, you need to study some basic chemistry: Water is H20 - two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, and would be the same anyplace in the universe. Water is not an element, by the way, and the fact that it is affected by gravity is irrelevant - all substances are affected by gravity, and all liquid substances, on any gravitational body in the universe, would flow towards the center of gravity. If you don't know these basics, I can't see how anything you would say about science could be credible, since this is introductory high school science. So, when you ask, "Is it only possible for these elements to make only this element?", the answer is "Yes". Instead of musing, you should study. And no, the simple idea of "water equals life" s not true, and no one has said it is. In respect to life as we know it, water is an essential and necessary component, but it is certainly not sufficient. Aleta
daves i don't know. It is chemistry but if water is uniquely developed by earth then it would not be the same as elsewhere. So I guess they say water is not unique or a product of earths unique origin. Fine. its a general element in the universe. So all that remains is IS this element affected by the unique place it is. Gravity and so on. So the simple idea of water equals life would not be true. Could there not be another KIND of water? Is it only possible for these elements to make only this element? Just musing. Robert Byers
anthropic @14: Yup! Robert Byers @15: Yes, although the ratio of heavy water to light water is apparently higher on Mars. What other "materials" do you think are involved besides hydrogen and oxygen atoms? daveS
Daves Are you saying Mars water is the same material as earth water? I understand its an exact equation of what our water is. why would it be the same there? Maybe it is or would be. Would gravity issues affect things? i understand the invesyigation of what water is has still been going on. its weird Its flowing is a product of gravity. Its cohesion. i suspect there is no water and any liquid found is a result of heat melting ice etc. The ice being not evidence of flowing water either. Perhaps truly just a chemical reaction that is water or like water. I got a hunch they haven't thought this through. As usual. Robert Byers
dS 13 Hank on King of the Hill, right? "I tell you what." My other favorite Hank saying is, "That boy ain't right!" anthropic
I don’t know what kind of comment that is suppose to be from our resident dogmatic atheist
In jest, obviously. daveS
daveS states: "If it turns out that Mars water is made of the same materials as Earth water, that’s a slam-dunk design inference, I tell you what." I don't know what kind of comment that is suppose to be from our resident dogmatic atheist, but what I do know is that water, much to the consternation of atheists everywhere, does indeed give every indication of having been Intelligently Designed for a purpose. That purpose being biological life itself.
Multiple ‘Anomalous’ life enabling properties of water http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/anmlies.html Water's remarkable capabilities - December 2010 Excerpt: All these traits are contained in a simple molecule of only three atoms. One of the most difficult tasks for an engineer is to design for multiple criteria at once. ... Satisfying all these criteria in one simple design is an engineering marvel. Also, the design process goes very deep since many characteristics would necessarily be changed if one were to alter fundamental physical properties such as the strong nuclear force or the size of the electron. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/12/pro-intelligent_design_peer_re042211.html Water's quantum weirdness makes life possible - October 2011 Excerpt: WATER'S life-giving properties exist on a knife-edge. It turns out that life as we know it relies on a fortuitous, but incredibly delicate, balance of quantum forces.,,, They found that the hydrogen-oxygen bonds were slightly longer than the deuterium-oxygen ones, which is what you would expect if quantum uncertainty was affecting water’s structure. “No one has ever really measured that before,” says Benmore. We are used to the idea that the cosmos’s physical constants are fine-tuned for life. Now it seems water’s quantum forces can be added to this “just right” list. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.900-waters-quantum-weirdness-makes-life-possible.html
On and on through each characteristic we can possibly measure water with, it turns out to be required to be almost exactly as it is or complex life on this earth could not exist. No other liquid in the universe comes anywhere near matching water in its fitness for life (Denton: Nature's Destiny). Even the oceans have to be the size they are in order to stabilize the temperature of the earth so human life may be possible.
Oceans vital for possibility for alien life - July 20, 2014 Excerpt: "Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate. They are beneficial because they cause the surface temperature to respond very slowly to seasonal changes in solar heating. And they help ensure that temperature swings across a planet are kept to tolerable levels. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140720203459.htm Water-Land Ratio of Habitable Planets - 2015 Excerpt: In addition, recent studies on habitability of planets suggest that the water-land ratio must be similar to the Earth. That is, the water mass fraction should not be far from that of the Earth’s (~0.01wt%): planets with too much water (> 1 wt%)-“ocean planets”-lead to an unstable climate and lack of nutrient supply; and water-poor planets like Venus -“dune planets”-become too arid for inhabiting. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/extraterrestrial-life/water-land-ratio-of-habitable-planets/ etc.. etc..
Moreover, besides all the many other life enabling properties of water, its obvious that water was also 'designed' specifically with protein folding in mind:
Protein Folding: One Picture Per Millisecond Illuminates The Process - 2008 Excerpt: The RUB-chemists initiated the folding process and then monitored the course of events. It turned out that within less than ten milliseconds, the motions of the water network were altered as well as the protein itself being restructured. “These two processes practically take place simultaneously“, Prof. Havenith-Newen states, “they are strongly correlated.“ These observations support the yet controversial suggestion that water plays a fundamental role in protein folding, and thus in protein function, and does not stay passive. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080805075610.htm Water Is 'Designer Fluid' That Helps Proteins Change Shape - 2008 Excerpt: "When bound to proteins, water molecules participate in a carefully choreographed ballet that permits the proteins to fold into their functional, native states. This delicate dance is essential to life." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806113314.htm Water found to be an ideal lubricant for nanomachines - September 1, 2013 Excerpt: Researchers from the University of Amsterdam have discovered that machines just one molecule in size move far quicker if you add a 'lubricant' to their surroundings. To their surprise, water proved to be the best lubricant by far. http://phys.org/news/2013-08-ideal-lubricant-nanomachines.html
John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."…
Why would water on other planets be the same materials?
If it turns out that Mars water is made of the same materials as Earth water, that's a slam-dunk design inference, I tell you what. daveS
What iswater? isour water evolved from selection on the planet? Why would water on other planets be the same materials? I think water could be around if asteroids are said to have ice, smash down, and vaporing might leave water sudden;y for a while. In fact more likely this is the origin for water flow on planets as opposed to their natural origin of creating water. What is water on other planets? Robert Byers
ppolish, "BTW, I thought “water on Mars” was old news. I need to pay better attention." Actually, ice and and subterranean water on mars has been known. What has been confirmed is free flowing surface water (salt water). bFast
Actually a challenge to keep from contaminating Mars with Earth life: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/05/21/curiosity-rover-may-have-carried-bacterial-life-to-mars/#.VhMXIVJHbCQ Many others would like to "terraform Mars": https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming_of_Mars If life is found on Mars, will some resist introducing "invasive" Earth life there? Probably. BTW, I thought "water on Mars" was old news. I need to pay better attention. ppolish
Tugs and pulls: How a molecular motor untangles protein - October 1, 2015 Excerpt: ClpB is one of a vast assortment of similar molecular machines found in all living cells, known as hexameric AAA + enzymes. They have six subunits that form a hexagon with a hole in the middle, and they burn ATP for energy. While the machines are all similar, the kinds of work they do vary widely -- examples include unwinding DNA, helping digest proteins, untangling proteins, cutting microtubules, helping shape plant cells and driving membrane fusion. ClpB is closely related to the ClpA enzyme of E. coli. Unlike ClpB -- which has the job of untangling a protein that has lost its proper shape -- ClpA helps to digest unnecessary proteins into small peptide fragments. Proteins are chains of amino acids, linked together like beads on string, and then folded into a precise shape. ClpA is able to grab one end of a protein that has been marked for recycling, and pull it through the central hole of ClpA, like an anchor chain winched in through the hawse hole of a ship. ATP hydrolysis powers that processive pulling, and the unraveled protein chain is pushed into an attached ClpP enzyme, which cuts up the chain "like a molecular paper shredder," Lucius said.,,, "Our results support a molecular mechanism where ClpB catalyzes protein disaggregation by tugging and releasing exposed tails or loops," they wrote in a paper recently published in the Biochemical Journal, similar to how someone would tug at the loose strands of a tangled ball of yarn. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151001142601.htm
OT: podcast - Felipe Aizpún: Design, Teleology and Philosophy - October 5, 2015 On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin talks with Felipe Aizpún, author of The Fifth Way and Intelligent Design (La quinta vía y el diseño inteligente) and prolific writer on ID and the debate over origins. Aizpún shares how intelligent design is both a scientific and philosophical argument, and discusses Thomist philosophers’ opposition to ID. http://www.discovery.org/multimedia/audio/2015/10/felipe-aizpun-design-teleology-and-philosophy/#more-30861 bornagain77
If Martian life is found to be based on DNA, then there can be no question that it has the same design origin as terrestrial life. IOW, both were designed by the same intelligent designers. If it is found to be based on something other than DNA, then it may be a sign that there are multiple designers with different goals in the same small corner of the universe. A more plausible explanation is that the same designers of life on earth were experimenting with some other approach on Mars. After all, intelligent beings do conduct experiments. This is a call for caution. If it's alien, don't mess with it. The "Andromeda strain" scenario comes to mind. Thinking out loud. Mapou
'Hate to say it but this statement:
“If we find life on Mars and it can be shown to be of a different origin to that on Earth, then that essentially means that the Universe is teeming with life. It seems almost impossible that life could spring up by chance on two adjacent planets if life was rare.”
Makes total sense to me. If no life is found on mars (by far the likely case) then we know that the water = life formula is way too simplistic. If we find life on mars that is very like our life (DNA with the same amino acid mapping) then the assumption that both have the same source (we got life from them, they got life from us or we both got life from a third source) is reasonable. If, however, life on mars is found, and is somehow fundamentally different, the "same source" hypothesis would be about toast. The water = life theory would be supported. Nothing much would be said about ID, one way or 't-other. bFast
Semi related: Citizen Mars - videos We go in depth with five of the finalists for the Mars One mission: everyday people determined to be the first to colonize the Red Planet (with no return trip to earth). Through interviews and extensive vérité that spans India, Egypt, South Africa, Italy, and the U.S., discover the obsession with the future, adventure, and space that's propelling them to leave everything - and everyone - behind. http://www.engadget.com/citizen-mars/ bornagain77
Of note, salt is 'very effective at dismembering membranes and preventing RNA units (monomers) from forming polymers any longer than two links (dimers)'
"...even at concentrations seven times weaker than in today’s oceans. The ingredients of sea salt are very effective at dismembering membranes and preventing RNA units (monomers) from forming polymers any longer than two links (dimers)." Creation Evolution News - Sept. 2002
Moreover, even if the surface of Mars were not exceptionally salty, pure water, with no salts dissolved within it, is also, by itself, very effective at preventing biological molecules of any significant length from spontaneously forming:
The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems – 2007 2.2.2 The Reactivity of Water, pg. 15 The reactivity of water creates problems as well. In particular, many molecules are unstable in water. This generalization applies to many molecules important in terran metabolism, catalysis, and genetics. In some cases, molecules simply decompose through reaction in water, and require another round of metabolism for replacement. For genetic molecules, damage by water must be repaired.,,, etc.. etc.. http://www.ecoversity.org/archives/LOLPS.pdf A Substantial Conundrum Confronting The Chemical Origin Of Life - August 2011 Excerpt: 1. Peptide bond formation is an endothermic reaction. This means that the reaction requires the absorption of energy: It does not take place spontaneously. 2. Peptide bond formation is a condensation reaction. It hence involves the net removal of a water molecule. So not only can this reaction not happen spontaneously in an aqueous medium, but, in fact, the presence of water inhibits the reaction. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/origin-of-life/a-substantial-conundrum-confronting-the-chemical-origin-of-life/ Why the origin of life people are such a glum bunch - March 19, 2015 Excerpt: The problem of making ribose and proteins-a la Miller and Urey, is that the reaction removes a water molecule when making the bond between amino acids–so it only works in a dry environment–on the other hand, the other reactions for making glycine or amino acids need a wet environment. If I recall correctly, the same dichotomy applies to synthesis of RNA, DNA and nucleotides, in which some bonds are broken by water, some are made in water. In a very similar way, heat is needed to drive some reactions forward (endothermic), but also breaks other bonds driving reactions backward (exothermic). So both water and heat are these Janus-faced gods that are both necessary and deadly to biotic chemistry. In a living cell, enzymes perform the magic to drive reactions in the absence of heat or water, but for abiotic chemistry, one can’t invoke them. These conundra are just two of many reasons why Origin-of-Life people are such a glum bunch, and despite 60 years since Miller-Urey, they haven’t solved the problem of abiotic synthesis of biomaterials. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/origin-of-life/why-the-origin-of-life-people-are-such-a-glum-bunch/ Professor Arthur E. Wilder-Smith "Any amounts of polypeptide which might be formed will be broken down into their initial components (amino acids) by the excess of water. The ocean is thus practically the last place on this or any other planet where the proteins of life could be formed spontaneously from amino acids. Yet nearly all text-books of biology teach this nonsense to support evolutionary theory and spontaneous biogenesis ... Has materialistic Neo-Darwinian philosophy overwhelmed us to such an extent that we forget or overlook the well-known facts of science and of chemistry in order to support this philosophy? ... Without exception all Miller's amino acids are completely unsuitable for any type of spontaneous biogenesis. And the same applies to all and any randomly formed substances and amino acids which form racemates. This statement is categorical and absolute and cannot be affected by special conditions." http://theevolutioncrisis.org.uk/testimony3.php Abiogenic Origin of Life: A Theory in Crisis - Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D. Excerpt: The synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids from small molecule precursors represents one of the most difficult challenges to the model of prebiological evolution. There are many different problems confronted by any proposal. Polymerization is a reaction in which water is a product. Thus it will only be favored in the absence of water. The presence of precursors in an ocean of water favors depolymerization of any molecules that might be formed. Careful experiments done in an aqueous solution with very high concentrations of amino acids demonstrate the impossibility of significant polymerization in this environment. A thermodynamic analysis of a mixture of protein and amino acids in an ocean containing a 1 molar solution of each amino acid (100,000,000 times higher concentration than we inferred to be present in the prebiological ocean) indicates the concentration of a protein containing just 100 peptide bonds (101 amino acids) at equilibrium would be 10^-338 molar. Just to make this number meaningful, our universe may have a volume somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^85 liters. At 10^-338 molar, we would need an ocean with a volume equal to 10^229 universes (10, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000) just to find a single molecule of any protein with 100 peptide bonds. So we must look elsewhere for a mechanism to produce polymers. It will not happen in the ocean. http://origins.swau.edu/papers/life/chadwick/default.html
Moreover, there are several more insurmountable hurdles that work in conjunction with the 'water problem' that make the spontaneous OOL drastically unfeasible:
Suzan Mazur: Origin of life shifting to “nonmaterial events”? - December 15, 2013 Excerpt: The first paradox is the tendency of organic matter to devolve and to give tar. If you can avoid that, you can start to try to assemble things that are not tarry, but then you encounter the water problem, which is related to the fact that every interesting bond that you want to make is unstable, thermodynamically, with respect to water. If you can solve that problem, you have the problem of entropy, that any of the building blocks are going to be present in a low concentration; therefore, to assemble a large number of those building blocks, you get a gene-like RNA — 100 nucleotides long — that fights entropy. And the fourth problem is that even if you can solve the entropy problem, you have a paradox that RNA enzymes, which are maybe catalytically active, are more likely to be active in the sense that destroys RNA rather than creates RNA. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/origin-of-life/origin-of-life-shifting-to-nonmaterial-events/ Chemistry by Chance: A Formula for Non-Life by Charles McCombs, Ph.D. Excerpt: The following eight obstacles in chemistry ensure that life by chance is untenable. 1. The Problem of Unreactivity 2. The Problem of Ionization 3. The Problem of Mass Action 4. The Problem of Reactivity 5. The Problem of Selectivity 6. The Problem of Solubility 7. The Problem of Sugar 8. The Problem of Chirality The chemical control needed for the formation of a specific sequence in a polymer chain is just not possible through random chance. The synthesis of proteins and DNA/RNA in the laboratory requires the chemist to control the reaction conditions, to thoroughly understand the reactivity and selectivity of each component, and to carefully control the order of addition of the components as the chain is building in size. http://www.icr.org/article/chemistry-by-chance-formula-for-non-life/ RNA world: Chemists Propose a Seemingly Unlikely Environment for the Origin of Life - February 27, 2013 Excerpt: Benner and his colleagues consider three major problems with the RNA-world model: *The "asphalt problem": Organic reactions often produce unreactive byproducts. These byproducts are a mixture of pieces of the product or polymerization of the product, but are chemically insignificant and otherwise unpromising. Hence the metaphor of "asphalt." Typically, avoiding the production of such byproducts requires very specific and controlled conditions, or post-reaction purification steps. *The "water problem": Many of the bonds in RNA will undergo hydrolysis. This occurs when water reacts with the bond, causing it to break apart. In a lab, the problem is easily addressed by using a different solvent. However, the environment of the early Earth could not draw on the resource of various organic solvents. *The "impossible bond problem": The authors refer here to the difficulty in forming certain bonds in RNA. Usually this follows from thermodynamic issues that prohibit bonds from spontaneously forming. Conspicuously missing from the authors' list of critiques are the "chirality problem" and the "information problem." Later in the paper, however, they concede that their model does not solve the enigma of chirality, and they allude to a potential "fatal flaw" in their proposition, namely that the kinds of RNA molecules that catalyze the destruction of RNA are more likely to emerge than RNA molecules that catalyze the synthesis of RNA. - http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/02/death_valley_da068661.html
Simply put, anyone who is saying life must be abundant in the universe is operating from ulterior motives that have nothing to do with the actual science at hand. bornagain77
Mars Life Would Spit Out the Water - October 2, 2015 Excerpt: What if the water is so bad, Martians would spit it out? Nadia Drake at National Geographic is a tad more realistic: "You might think that the first human explorers on Mars will park next to a salty stream and use it to manufacture fresh drinking water. Maybe they could even find life in damp Martian nooks and crannies, areas where the dusty red planet can still fuel microbes. Reality is much more subtle. Finding evidence for flowing water is not the same as finding life.,,," "[Chris] McKay notes that the type of salts near the Martian streaks, called perchlorates, form different watery mixtures than the salts we’re most used to on Earth. In fact, it’s possible the perchlorate streaks could behave similarly to Antarctica’s Don Juan Pond, which is the saltiest liquid water body on Earth—and totally dead. “Such a brine is not suitable for life and is of no interest biologically,” McKay says. “Nothing can live in the brine of Don Juan Pond.” http://crev.info/2015/10/mars-life-would-spit-out-the-water/ Early Mars Water Was Salty, Toxic Stew – 2008 Excerpt: But data from the rover Opportunity is already suggesting that water on early Mars billions of years ago may have been fit for pickling—not supporting—life. That’s because the water was thick with salt and other minerals, making it far too briny for life as we know it, according to a new study. Nicholas Tosca of Harvard University and colleagues studied mineral clues from the surface of Mars sent back by the rover and used computers to turn back the clock. “Our sense has been that while Mars is a lousy environment for supporting life today, long ago it might have more closely resembled Earth,” said Andrew Knoll, a study co-author also from Harvard. But instead the team found that the soil’s mineral content would have made that liquid a salty, toxic stew. “No matter how far back we peer into Mars’s history, we may never see a point at which the planet really looked like Earth,” Knoll said. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/05/080529-mars-salty.html Toxic Mars: Astronauts Must Deal with Perchlorate on the Red Planet - June 13, 2013 Excerpt: "Anybody who is saying they want to go live on the surface of Mars better think about the interaction of perchlorate with the human body," he warned. "At one-half percent, that's a huge amount. Very small amounts are considered toxic. So you'd better have a plan to deal with the poisons on the surface." http://www.space.com/21554-mars-toxic-perchlorate-chemicals.html

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