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Is there life on Mars? Scientists continue to argue

March 7 2006

Mars has always attracted people's attention. In the Dark Age were afraid of him, even idolized. But scientists are now making plans for interplanetary missions, and even colonize Mars. The townsfolk, meanwhile eagerly discussing the existence of life on the red planet.

Representatives of science in no hurry to disappoint them. Valid Academic Adviser Academy of Engineering Sciences Yuri Zaytseev does not exclude the possibility of the existence on Mars of primitive life forms such as bacteria.

"Scientists can not yet explain, due to what in the Martian atmosphere is supported by significant quantities of methane. Therefore, we can not exclude the most exotic assumptions, such as the existence of Mars at a depth of more than two kilometers bacteria methanogens that produce methane in the process of life "- said Yuri Zaitsev. He recalled that such unusual forms of life not so long ago were found in deep pozemnyh Earth's ecosystem.

But it is not so simple. Many will remember the information found on a few years ago in the ice of Antarctica meteorite from Mars, which allegedly found evidence of ancient microbes . It is believed that the Martian meteorites have been ejected from the surface of the red planet during its collision with an asteroid.

The find caused a stormy debate among scientists: some argued that the microbes have a terrestrial origin. Others argued that the structure of bacteria different from what we see on Earth , since their age is extremely large. And some even pointed to Mars, a place where it was thrown out the substance.

Last year a team of U.S. astronomers and geochemists analyzed Martian meteorites found on Earth, and concluded that Mars was never necessary for a life-threatening conditions. According to geologists, the structure of the meteorite lets you know at what temperature it was at different times.

Subjected to analysis of three samples. Two of them belong to nahlitam - fragments of the frozen Martian lava, and so named in honor of alien meteorite, found about a hundred years ago in the Egyptian desert Nahla. The third, found in Antarctica in 1984, has long been a subject of active discussion, as ferruginous blotches inside ascribed activity of bacteria, but this assumption was not confirmed. In addition, an indirect confirmation of the hypothesis that Mars is uninhabited by the fact that meteorites do not contain traces of a long interaction with water.

Late last year, experts from the American space agency NASA also came to the conclusion that life on Mars may experience great difficulties, since ancient times, traces of which remained in the sediments of Martian rocks. Based on survey data obtained by the Opportunity Mars rover scientists have concluded that the conditions of the red planet called Meridiani Planum was once wet, strong acid and oxidizing. These conditions are likely to have problematic origin of life on Mars.

According to scientists, a life that could have arisen on Mars in the early periods, or other more favorable for the region, could adapt to conditions in Meridiani Planum, but the chemical reactions that allegedly participated in the origin of life on Earth could not occur on the Red Planet .

However, American scientists do not despair and offer fantastic projects to create life on Mars. Margarita Marinova and colleagues at the Ames Research Center (NASA) conducted a computer simulation of artificial climate change Marsa.Ranee already offers a variety of methods to transform the Martian atmosphere and climate: from the population of genetically engineered bacteria to spray at the poles of light-absorbing dyes or discharge to the surface of planets and asteroids icy comets.

But as it turns out, the most effective method is injection of synthetic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. They can be produced locally from widely available raw materials

Specially synthesized gases could be ten thousand times more powerful "heaters climate than carbon dioxide.

They can be constructed based on fluorine and carbon. So adding to the atmosphere octafluoropropane substance in an amount of 300 parts per million (0,03%) would cause a rapid greenhouse effect and melting polar ice caps. And there is also carbon dioxide ice and water. Release of carbon dioxide would further accelerate global warming. Increased to atmospheric pressure. And for some few hundred - a thousand years, that by the standards of the evolution of the planets - very fast, Mars would have been suitable for life .

Materials: Interfax Battery News, BBC,

Константин Дятлов

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