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The Threat From Life On Mars

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  • Light Eye
    Dear Friends, This is a 2 page article so click the link if you can t proceed to the next page. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1385572,00.html Love
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 3, 2004
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      Dear Friends,

      This is a 2 page article so click the link if you can't proceed to the next page.

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1385572,00.html

      Love and Light.

      David

      The threat from life on Mars
      By Nigel Hawkes
      Earth’s defences may need to be boosted against risk of potentially deadly microbes returning on space probes
      EARTH must take precautions to avoid contamination from lifeforms that must now be presumed to exist on Mars, leading scientists gave warning yesterday.
      Potentially deadly microorganisms could be returned to Earth on a probe which is being planned to collect samples from the Martian surface.
      NI_MPU('middle');The warning comes after a detailed scientific analysis of data sent back by the roving vehicle Opportunity which landed on Mars on January 25.
      Jeffrey Kargel of the US Geological Survey said that protection of our own planet from alien forms of life requires the assumption that Martian life exists. “Before proceeding with sample returns or human missions to Mars, we must review measures for planetary biological protection.”
      His warning appears in Science magazine in an article accompanying the first formal publication of the mass of data from Opportunity, which continues to operate on the Martian surface.
      The search for life on Mars, now more than a century old, is still not finally resolved. But the odds that life existed there and may still exist are shortening, according to planetary experts, Dr Kargel said.
      Nobody any longer expects Martian life forms to be anything like those on Earth. But there remains a possibility that bacteria or other microscopic organisms may survive in regions where there is still water. On Earth, almost every imaginable habitat, including deep underground, has specialised bacteria — called extremophiles — living and thriving.
      The risks are twofold: probes sent from Earth may contaminate Mars with terrestrial bacteria, wrecking future studies of Martian life; or, more important, bacteria brought back from Mars may contaminate the Earth with unpredictable effects.
      Similar precautions were taken at the time of the Apollo Moon landings. Astronauts returned to Earth were kept in quarantine after they landed for fear they might be infected with a lunar bug. None was.
      Although the presence of water on the red planet can be considered proved, of life there are only hints. One is the presence of the gas methane, which might be produced by forms of life. On Earth, life can exist in areas as acidic and salty as Meridiani Planum, where Opportunity landed — examples are the ancient mines of Rio Tinto in Andalucia, Spain, or the salty Permian Basin in Texas. But few earthly species survive in environments that are at the same time very cold, very acidic, and very salty — and none that do survive in such conditions produce methane.
      “But maybe on Mars they do,” says Dr Kargel, the author of a recent book on the latest ideas about Mars. Or maybe, he suggests, the organisms that produced the Martian methane live in areas more hospitable than Meridiani Planum.
      Analysing the data collected by Opportunity, a team led by the rovers’ principal investigator, Dr Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, concludes that the sedimentary rocks found by Opportunity preserve a record of environmental conditions different from any on Mars today.
      “Liquid water was once present intermittently at the Martian surface at Meridiani, and at times it saturated the subsurface,” the team concludes. “Because liquid water is a prerequisite for life, we infer that conditions at Meridiani may have been habitable for some period of time in Martian history.”
      Opportunity has explored two craters, Eagle and Endurance, near its landing site. In both areas, layers in the bedrock showed that it had been laid down as sediments, implying past oceans and voids in the rock were probably caused by the dissolution of salt.
      Opportunity also found quantities of small spheres, named “blueberries” — even though they are grey, not blue. These marbles consist of the iron-rich mineral haematite. Similar spheres have been found in the deserts of southern Utah, formed as iron-rich water seeped through sandstone.
      Page 1 || Page 2



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jahnets
      Great the more the merrier...Maybe one of their virus s will kill one of ours...ha ha ... From: Light Eye [mailto:universal_heartbeat2012@yahoo.no] Sent:
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 3, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        Great the more the merrier...Maybe one of their virus's will kill one of
        ours...ha ha



        -----Original Message-----
        From: Light Eye [mailto:universal_heartbeat2012@...]
        Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 3:21 AM
        To: Global_Rumblings@...; SpeakIt@...;
        SkyOpen@yahoogroups.com; ufodiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [ufodiscussion] The Threat From Life On Mars



        Dear Friends,

        This is a 2 page article so click the link if you can't proceed to the next
        page.

        http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1385572,00.html

        Love and Light.

        David

        The threat from life on Mars
        By Nigel Hawkes
        Earth’s defences may need to be boosted against risk of potentially deadly
        microbes returning on space probes
        EARTH must take precautions to avoid contamination from lifeforms that must
        now be presumed to exist on Mars, leading scientists gave warning yesterday.
        Potentially deadly microorganisms could be returned to Earth on a probe
        which is being planned to collect samples from the Martian surface.
        NI_MPU('middle');The warning comes after a detailed scientific analysis of
        data sent back by the roving vehicle Opportunity which landed on Mars on
        January 25.
        Jeffrey Kargel of the US Geological Survey said that protection of our own
        planet from alien forms of life requires the assumption that Martian life
        exists. “Before proceeding with sample returns or human missions to Mars, we
        must review measures for planetary biological protection.”
        His warning appears in Science magazine in an article accompanying the first
        formal publication of the mass of data from Opportunity, which continues to
        operate on the Martian surface.
        The search for life on Mars, now more than a century old, is still not
        finally resolved. But the odds that life existed there and may still exist
        are shortening, according to planetary experts, Dr Kargel said.
        Nobody any longer expects Martian life forms to be anything like those on
        Earth. But there remains a possibility that bacteria or other microscopic
        organisms may survive in regions where there is still water. On Earth,
        almost every imaginable habitat, including deep underground, has specialised
        bacteria — called extremophiles — living and thriving.
        The risks are twofold: probes sent from Earth may contaminate Mars with
        terrestrial bacteria, wrecking future studies of Martian life; or, more
        important, bacteria brought back from Mars may contaminate the Earth with
        unpredictable effects.
        Similar precautions were taken at the time of the Apollo Moon landings.
        Astronauts returned to Earth were kept in quarantine after they landed for
        fear they might be infected with a lunar bug. None was.
        Although the presence of water on the red planet can be considered proved,
        of life there are only hints. One is the presence of the gas methane, which
        might be produced by forms of life. On Earth, life can exist in areas as
        acidic and salty as Meridiani Planum, where Opportunity landed — examples
        are the ancient mines of Rio Tinto in Andalucia, Spain, or the salty Permian
        Basin in Texas. But few earthly species survive in environments that are at
        the same time very cold, very acidic, and very salty — and none that do
        survive in such conditions produce methane.
        “But maybe on Mars they do,” says Dr Kargel, the author of a recent book on
        the latest ideas about Mars. Or maybe, he suggests, the organisms that
        produced the Martian methane live in areas more hospitable than Meridiani
        Planum.
        Analysing the data collected by Opportunity, a team led by the rovers’
        principal investigator, Dr Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, concludes
        that the sedimentary rocks found by Opportunity preserve a record of
        environmental conditions different from any on Mars today.
        “Liquid water was once present intermittently at the Martian surface at
        Meridiani, and at times it saturated the subsurface,” the team concludes.
        “Because liquid water is a prerequisite for life, we infer that conditions
        at Meridiani may have been habitable for some period of time in Martian
        history.”
        Opportunity has explored two craters, Eagle and Endurance, near its landing
        site. In both areas, layers in the bedrock showed that it had been laid down
        as sediments, implying past oceans and voids in the rock were probably
        caused by the dissolution of salt.
        Opportunity also found quantities of small spheres, named “blueberries” —
        even though they are grey, not blue. These marbles consist of the iron-rich
        mineral haematite. Similar spheres have been found in the deserts of
        southern Utah, formed as iron-rich water seeped through sandstone.
        Page 1 || Page 2



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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