NASA rover finds active and ancient organic chemistry on Mars..boo!

PIA19088_ip

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4413

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.

“This temporary increase in methane — sharply up and then back down — tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a member of the Curiosity rover science team. “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”

Researchers used Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere. During two of those months, in late 2013 and early 2014, four measurements averaged seven parts per billion. Before and after that, readings averaged only one-tenth that level.

Curiosity also detected different Martian organic chemicals in powder drilled from a rock dubbed Cumberland, the first definitive detection of organics in surface materials of Mars. These Martian organics could either have formed on Mars or been delivered to Mars by meteorites.

Organic molecules, which contain carbon and usually hydrogen, are chemical building blocks of life, although they can exist without the presence of life. Curiosity’s findings from analyzing samples of atmosphere and rock powder do not reveal whether Mars has ever harbored living microbes, but the findings do shed light on a chemically active modern Mars and on favorable conditions for life on ancient Mars.

“We will keep working on the puzzles these findings present,” said John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “Can we learn more about the active chemistry causing such fluctuations in the amount of methane in the atmosphere? Can we choose rock targets where identifiable organics have been preserved?”

Researchers worked many months to determine whether any of the organic material detected in the Cumberland sample was truly Martian. Curiosity’s SAM lab detected in several samples some organic carbon compounds that were, in fact, transported from Earth inside the rover. However, extensive testing and analysis yielded confidence in the detection of Martian organics.

Identifying which specific Martian organics are in the rock is complicated by the presence of perchlorate minerals in Martian rocks and soils. When heated inside SAM, the perchlorates alter the structures of the organic compounds, so the identities of the Martian organics in the rock remain uncertain.

“This first confirmation of organic carbon in a rock on Mars holds much promise,” said Curiosity Participating Scientist Roger Summons of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Organics are important because they can tell us about the chemical pathways by which they were formed and preserved. In turn, this is informative about Earth-Mars differences and whether or not particular environments represented by Gale Crater sedimentary rocks were more or less favorable for accumulation of organic materials. The challenge now is to find other rocks on Mount Sharp that might have different and more extensive inventories of organic compounds.”

Researchers also reported that Curiosity’s taste of Martian water, bound into lakebed minerals in the Cumberland rock more than three billion years ago, indicates the planet lost much of its water before that lakebed formed and continued to lose large amounts after.

SAM analyzed hydrogen isotopes from water molecules that had been locked inside a rock sample for billions of years and were freed when SAM heated it, yielding information about the history of Martian water. The ratio of a heavier hydrogen isotope, deuterium, to the most common hydrogen isotope can provide a signature for comparison across different stages of a planet’s history.

http://www.neonnettle.com/news/1333-breaking-organic-matter-found-on-mars-by-nasa-curiosity-rover

But what does this mean? Is this evidence that the Red Planet once housed life? Well its still not clear. NASA scientists have admitted that some of the organic matter originated on Earth and was transported inside the Rover – but further testing has revealed that some of the detected organics are Martian.

Curiosity Participating Scientist Roger Summons of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge said: “This first confirmation of organic carbon in a rock on Mars holds much promise. Organics are important because they can tell us about the chemical pathways by which they were formed and preserved.

In turn, this is informative about Earth-Mars differences and whether or not particular environments represented by Gale Crater sedimentary rocks were more or less favourable for accumulation of organic materials. The challenge now is to find other rocks on Mount Sharp that might have different and more extensive inventories of organic compounds.”

———–

blah blah blah..water sort of..blah blah organic thingys blah blah blah = LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS!!

“Curiosity also detected different Martian organic chemicals in powder drilled from a rock dubbed Cumberland, the first definitive detection of organics in surface materials of Mars. These Martian organics could either have formed on Mars or been delivered to Mars by meteorites.

exactly..

401

~ by seeker401 on February 1, 2016.

12 Responses to “NASA rover finds active and ancient organic chemistry on Mars..boo!”

  1. Hello Seeker.

    “NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane… (blah blah etc)…”

    This would be the same Curiosity rover that photographed a White Tailed Antelope Squirrel on “Mars”, would it?

    Gee, the things that happen on “Mars”.

    All the best.

    Andrew Farquharson.

  2. Here he is, posing for a selfie.

  3. Hello Seeker and Intriguedbyr.

    So the Curiosity rover took the above self portrait with its complete self contained within the image, and with no part beyond the image, holding the camera?

    Do they think we’re complete idiots? Based on their actions, I guess they do.

    I could easily make up any number of required lies and disumualtions to cover the squirrel photo and the other stuff. It’d actually be interesting.

    Andrew Farquharson.

  4. Always desperate to find the signs of life elsewhere and prove that life is therefore a cosmic accident . Although the Miiler experiment produced no life in the electrified test tube – it is always in a continual state of resurrection

  5. http://www.iflscience.com/opportunity-s-twelve-years-red-planet

    ———————————————————————–
    The Opportunity Rover Was Supposed To Last 90 Days. It Just Celebrated Twelve Years On Mars

    […]

    It was budgeted to last 90 days, with a lifespan of a few months, before it was thought its solar panel would be covered in dust and stop working. But thanks to a number of factors, including wind on Mars, the tenacious rover has been able to endure the harsh Martian environment for much, much longer.

    […]

    The team positioned the rover in a more favorable sun-facing orientation, which has increased the amount of power the solar panels are generating, allowing for power-consuming operations like drilling and rock-grinding.

    […]
    ———————————————————————–

    Any engineer expert in rechargheable batteries out there that perhaps wants to add his two cents to this science triumph story by telling us some reassuring words on the maximum number of possible charging cycles for a battery operating in extreme environment with T° from -100 C° to +20 C°? Thanks in advance…🙂

  6. Hello Seeker, Webrasta, et al.

    I recall the early days of the Curiosity rover on “Mars”, when there were publicly stated concerns about dust covering the solar panels. Then the problem was said to have been solved by wind blowing the dust off the panels.

    The real Martian surface atmospheric pressure (not the one in the south-west of the U.S.A. where this rover is) is on average about 0.6% of Earth’s. How could an atmosphere that tenuous be capable of blowing extremely fine dust of those solar panels? With an atmosphere that thin, a tornado of hundreds of km per hour could barely exert any force.

    It’s obvious that this cleaning of the solar panels was simply done by one of the hoax technicians. One of you (at least) may be aware of a photo from “Mars” showing the shadow of a human who is obviously doing maintenance work on a probe on “Mars”.

    Anyway, the hoax continues.

    Andrew Farquharson.

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