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Sticky clumps in Martian soil examined with the Phoenix microscope

NASA and the University of Arizona are still cautious and claim that there is no such fact, as well as the white material visible inside the Phoenix excavations, necessarily indicate water, and the answer will be clearer after the results of the oven experiment are received at the beginning of next week

Martian dust as captured in the field of view of the Phoenix spacecraft microscope
Martian dust as captured in the field of view of the Phoenix spacecraft microscope

A press conference for the conclusion of the third week of the Phoenix mission on Mars that took place this evening (Friday) was dedicated to the analysis of the observation findings of a sample of soil from Adimai with an optical microscope. At the same time yesterday, NASA personnel managed to insert dirt from Adimai into the oven for the purpose of baking it and analyzing its chemical composition, and in particular the proportion of water - but the results will not arrive until the beginning of next week.

At the press conference, the speakers focused mainly on sticky dirt clumps that are visible in large parts of the observation plate under the microscope. According to the science director of the Phoenix mission, Peter Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson, the small lump of dirt brought into the field of view of the microscope contains a representative cross-section of all the materials present on Mars, including some grains of volcanic glass. However, most of the dirt has accumulated into sticky lumps, but it is not yet known whether the adhesion is due to the wind or the water.

In response to questions from journalists at the press conference broadcast on NASA television, Smith said that it is still not possible to determine whether the hard white substance discovered during the excavation in the Martian soil is water or salt. The answer will be given after tests are also carried out on other devices of the Phoenix, including, as mentioned, the oven whose function is to "smell" the Martian soil and a chemical laboratory whose function is to "taste" the dirt. A power electron microscope is also awaiting operation in the spacecraft.

13 תגובות

  1. Water between one hundred minus and plus will be in a liquid state from approximately one hundred plus to minus ten minus (and even lower than that, depending on the amount of dissolved in it) and below that it will be in the form of ice. In all these situations, on Earth, life and biological activity are found. At temperatures more extreme than these (Za if we are talking about the Earth then in water hotter than one hundred degrees) no life was found in a normal way.

    The cool commenter, although he enlightened me, there was a slight confusion in his last response regarding hydrogen sulfide: all life on earth, as far as science knows today, without exception, is based on water and carbon. To date, no animal with a different patent has been found. In the photosynthesis process that creates oxygen, water is used to discharge and use its electrons while releasing the oxygen. On the other hand, for photosynthesis or chemosynthesis, there are bacteria that are able to fix carbon using sulfides as the source of electrons. It has nothing to do with the physicochemical basis on which this life form is based. Not only sulfur is used to donate electrons, as there are other examples of other substances that do this.

    Life on Earth as we know it, is based exclusively on water! It is possible that we do not know all the life on the globe and we will find more surprises and also it is possible that what today seems to be a common denominator for all living things known to us (water) is actually a common denominator or a common denominator in addition to other common denominators necessary for life - which may or may not exist on the planet the red.

  2. Where does the energy come from to heat the steamer to 1000 degrees? Did they send more fuel? Or they're going to do it with the solar collectors or a magnifying glass. (-: No matter how small the sample is, energy is still needed.

  3. Liron, I guess this is what Ami Bacher meant.. (H2O in the state of aggregation is more or less liquid).
    I mentioned that water does not mean anything about life, because it is known that even on earth there are bacteria that are not based on water, but on hydrogen sulfide (H2S) whose polarity is a little lower than water.
    I assume that even in stars where there is no oxygen there can be life, fluorine for example can be a great oxidizer that life can be based on.

    In short, you need to get out of the bubble. The one who thinks that the earth "suits" us, is absolutely not true. We are the ones who fit him following the process of evolution.

  4. Lami Bachar,
    Why do you refer to the water temperature as a condition for the development of life? I suppose that the state of aggregation of the water is more important, which of course depends on the temperature and pressure

  5. To the cool commenter, you're right. I do not substantiate my claim. This is not a scientific statement but a gut feeling too strong. I may be wrong both big and small.

    Maybe it's time for me to free myself from the old concepts that have accompanied me for the past ten years where, inexplicably, I insist on believing that there is life wherever there is water at temperatures of minus to plus one hundred degrees Celsius. I don't have a good enough basis to believe that, so I take back everyone's words.

    My example is a classic example of cognitive dissonance in that, even though there are no findings that prove one way or the other, I believe almost religiously in the existence of one thing or another. I hope the talkback readers on this site will learn from my mistake, which was pointed out by the cool commenter.

  6. If I understand the test correctly, it is an oven that heats to a temperature of more than a thousand degrees Celsius. The temperature should be raised slowly and in stages, and the products of each stage should be monitored. There should also be a way to remove the excess gases.

    We have a similar oven in the lab, and analyzing a sample - even the smallest - requires a whole day of work and control. I guess when there are no humans around the procedure is done much slower.

    Regarding the microscope, as Ami Bachar explained in a previous response, it is not an easy thing to extract data from the microscope, especially when you do not know what what you are looking for looks like. Especially when you try to look at three-dimensional lumps of dirt under a light microscope.

  7. Why do these tests take so long? What's the problem with already putting the sample in the oven and getting the results within half an hour? Can someone explain to me why these seemingly simple processes take so long? Is there a serious justification for this annoying waste of time?

  8. Ami, yes, your claim that where there is water at a temperature between 100 and minus 100, there is also life is funny.
    What exactly are you basing your claim on? So far you only have one example and that is the earth..

  9. You can drink water.
    If there is water it will be easy to build life support stations and colonize this damn planet

  10. Water is life. Izo. That's how it is at a temperature between minus 100 and plus 100. There is life wherever there is water and a temperature that does not exceed this range.

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