From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Is Mars biologically worth its salt?

Mars    (Hubble photo)
Scientists recently announced that there might be flowing water on Mars, at least seasonally.

They believe this to be possible because of “dark narrow streaks” which appear on the slopes of Mars “every warm season.” 

These streaks (aka “stripes”) indicate that salty water flows there during the warmer parts of each Martian year.  The streaks may well be trails of salt that were left behind as the brine evaporated.

Ahoy mates!  Does this mean that some sort of aquatic life might exist on Mars?  It could. Whales and squids are highly unlikely suspects. Microbes, on the other hand, have been known to survive within extremely harsh and salty conditions.

Although the salts on Mars (“magnesium perchorlate, magnesium chlorate, and sodium perchorlate”) tend to “break down organic material,” it is possible that some types of microbes can handle this challenge.  Sarah Fecht of Popular Science therefore holds out a “longshot” possibility that life on Mars exists.

Copyright September 29, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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