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The existence of a toxic chemical discovered in the Martian soil could reduce the chances of life being found on the planet

Even though there appears to be traces of water on the Red Planet of Mars, a toxic chemical found in the soil located near the Martian north pole has put a damper on the possibility of life on the planet.

The perchlorate chemical, often times used in solid rocket fuel, is an odd discovery, forcing researchers to try and check to ensure the chemical didn't get taken to Mars from Earth.  Several more soil tests in the area will be conducted by researchers, although they are not sure how the chemical develops or the exact amount of it in the soil.

"While we have not completed our process on these soil samples, we have very interesting intermediate results," said Peter Smith, principal investigator from the project.

The Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer aboard the Phoenix recently tested two different soil samples collected at the north pole.  MECA previously painted a rather optimistic picture about the possibility of life on the Red Planet, which became more believable after evidence of ice crumbs found on the planet.

NASA decided to use MECA on Mars because it is able to test the acidity and presence of certain chemicals, salts and minerals in all collected soil samples.

Researchers believe it's still possible that life has existed on the planet, and believe it's possible life could be found in underground aquifers that are able to help reduce exposure to the toxic soil.  

Alongside MECA, NASA also is using the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA) to help try and find evidence of organic chemicals and the possibility of life on the Mars' surface.

Brown University researcher John Mustard, who doesn't have a hand in the project, said that all researchers should reserve judgment regarding the possibility of life on the Red Planet because of the existence of perchlorate.



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RE: Retro-rockets
By Lord 666 on 8/5/2008 8:58:05 AM , Rating: -1
This "toxic" chemical just found on mars sounds like a planted story to quiet the further discussions about life on the planet now that water has been confirmed.

I remember that when STS-114 had its tiles checked after launch, several news articles stated a NSA satelitte that was observing mars was used for tile checking duty. Just searched for those articles again and can't find any.

Why would a NSA satelitte be observing mars in the first place?


RE: Retro-rockets
By FITCamaro on 8/5/2008 9:11:58 AM , Rating: 2
STS-114 was 3 years ago. Why are you even mentioning it?


RE: Retro-rockets
By Lord 666 on 8/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: Retro-rockets
By erple2 on 8/5/2008 10:13:01 AM , Rating: 2
Who cares if the NSA was looking at Mars?

If the NSA is doing something, then there must be credible evidence that there must be aliens there. After all, our intelligence community is infallible, right?

Is this a Cargo Cult springing up now? If so, where can I sign up?

:)


RE: Retro-rockets
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 8/5/2008 10:28:56 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe it was NaSA? I think you read a typo. The NSA doesn't exist.


RE: Retro-rockets
By JustTom on 8/5/2008 11:11:36 AM , Rating: 2
Um, NSA would be NationalSecurity Agency.....

Although, I think you are still right about the typo...


RE: Retro-rockets
By Mojo the Monkey on 8/5/2008 1:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
No, the NSA doesnt exist....


RE: Retro-rockets
By radializer on 8/5/2008 9:46:32 PM , Rating: 2
or as they say ... No Such Agency


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