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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 foolsgambit11 on 8/5/2008 5:15:24 PM , Rating: 1
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.

"You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

The truth of 2+2=4 depends greatly upon your interpretation of the symbols used. The first step to agreeing that 2+2=4 is agreeing on the meaning of the symbols '2', '4', '+', and '='. More importantly, realizing that "II et II est IV" is an equally valid manner of arriving at the same conclusion, or "..&..->....".

When people assume that we are alive (I know, that's a self-defeating statement, making an assumption is an act of life), it is like ascribing only one meaning to '+', and refusing to acknowledge that it is also the symbol of the Red Cross, or the Swiss, or 'x' turned 45 degrees. Under another interpretation of our basic molecular actions, perhaps we should not be seen as alive.

When people assume that life is only life if it follows a certain established pattern, it is like refusing to acknowledge that you can represent "The combination of a pair of pairs is a quartet" any way other than "2+2=4"

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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