Social Media Sidebar


Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.


Thomas Edison

Are we looking for Martian life in all the wrong places?

Posted in Science on 9th Aug, 2016 05:04 PM by AlexMuller

A study suggests that we may be searching in the wrong place for signs of life on Mars, when we examine rocks excavated by meteor impacts for organic compounds. The research could allow space agencies to select landing sites for missions that are more likely to yield samples containing the markers of ancient, or even present life.

When NASA searches for life on Mars, the search focuses on trying to detect tiny organic compounds, which are most likely to be discovered encased in Martian rock. However, compounds that may have existed in rocks located on the surface of Mars would have been degraded by radiation from the Sun.
Consequently, rocks that had been buried deep beneath the surface, and recently (at least in geological terms) brought to the surface by powerful meteor strikes, are considered prime targets for rovers such as Curiosity as they trundle along looking for signs of life.
The new study, undertaken by scientists from Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh, aimed to test whether biological compounds encased in Martian rock could survive the extreme conditions created in the aftermath of a meteor strike.
The team placed various organic compounds contained in an analogue of Martian rock inside a piston cylinder device, and subjected them to the temperature and pressure that would be exerted on the sample, if it were to be ejected by the impact of a 10-m (33-ft) meteor impact.
Following chemical analysis of the samples, it was discovered that a meteor strike of this magnitude would destroy certain types of organic compounds, but that others would survive. Traces of long chain hydrocarbon dominated-matter, which comprises algal and microbial life, were degraded to the extent that they were undetectable. However, organic compounds known as aromatic hydrocarbons, which are found in plant life, survived the tests relatively unscathed.
The knowledge that meteor impacts have the capacity to erase the hallmarks of life that may once have been contained in excavated rocks could aide space agencies when selecting the landing sites for future missions to the Red Planet. Further research may identify certain families of impact sites best suited to discovering clues to life on Mars, and which ones to avoid.
Moving forward, the team intends to test a wider range of impact intensities in order to determine the extent to which the size of the meteor, the angle at which it struck, and the depth at which the sample is buried has an effect on an organic compound's ability to survive an impact.

Tags: Marsspacelifebiologychemistryresearch

Read original article » Back to category



Recent headlines

  • Posted in Online on 2018-05-27 15:31:10
    SpaceX’s prototype internet satellites are good more
    Posted in Medicine on 2018-05-27 15:24:22
    Drug Discovery Accelerated By Using Deep Neural more
    Posted in Software on 2018-05-26 01:48:47
    From Here to Human-Level AGI in Four Simple more
    Posted in Science on 2018-05-26 01:41:34
    Research Team Builds a Brain Model Neuron By more
    Posted in Hardware on 2018-05-24 04:45:19
    30% Efficiency Solar more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    In five years quantum computing will be more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Google partners with Johnson and Johnson to make lower more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Electron holography microscope with spatial resolution down more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Lower cost advanced Nuclear power could dominate future US more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Why Hasn’t AI Mastered Language Translation? more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Remember me

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Verify password:
Remember me