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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: We presume too much
By Oregonian2 on 8/5/2008 1:05:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For instance, 2+2=4 is a very basic mathematical truth that never changes regardless of one's position or location in the known universe.


Has this been proven, or is it just assumed or theorized?


RE: We presume too much
By 3dWings on 8/5/2008 2:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
2 + 2 = 11, base 3......


RE: We presume too much
By FITCamaro on 8/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: We presume too much
By radializer on 8/5/2008 9:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
2 + 2 = 5 for very large values of 2

:-)


RE: We presume too much
By badmoodguy on 8/7/2008 3:17:09 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely every bit of observations fit the model that the universe is the same here as elsewhere. The 2+2=4 is actually a results of symmetries of the universe which also give us conservation of energy, momentum, and other fun stuff. All of which has been tested and no counter example has been seen. It might not be so, but you might turn to stone by reading this also. 'Might happen' is usually indistinguishable from impossible even though it isn't impossible.

The 2+2=4 example also assumes a basic common working standard. Kind of like the idea the letters I'm using to say something mean to you what it does to me.

But hey, people believe that an invisible zombie in the sky wants them to eat his flesh, so observation only goes so far these days.


RE: We presume too much
By Oregonian2 on 8/8/2008 2:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Absolutely every bit of observations fit the model that the universe is the same here as elsewhere.


Uh... what percentage of the universe's volume have these theories been observed from and tested in? What's earth's volume (or to be generous, our solar system's)?


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