And on Mars gardens bloom! Martian soil is suitable for plant life


27/06/2008

"Put the asparagus in a pot filled with Martian soil, and the asparagus will grow" - stunned the world with his statement academics. The rover Phoenix (Phoenix), from planting to dig in the dirt on the northern arctic plains of the planet, transmitted to Earth a study of Martian soil, which clearly shows that the soil is alkaline and thus more nutrients necessary for plant life.

"Basically, we found those nutrients that are necessary to support life in the past, present or future - said Konaves Samuel (Samuel P. Kounaves) from Tufts University (Tufts University), - This is the type of soil, which is any a person can find in their backyard. "

Mars today is cold and dry, and its surface is irradiated with ultraviolet light, making life impossible. But in the past, probably the conditions were more favorable. Plants that prefer alkaline soil (such as asparagus) could easily grow in the Martian soil, provided the presence of other components of the environment, including air and water.

Preliminary findings do not indicate whether there was ever life on Mars (or might still exist somewhere beneath the surface). Sent Phoenix data say only that (at least at the location of the rover) are not so severe as previously believed. Soil taken close to the surface, similar in some areas the soil Antarctica. But the soil elsewhere on Mars may be quite different. It may be that at greater depths of soil will be acidic or even some kind of chemical composition. Phoenix able to perform the same chemical analysis on three more samples.

In another experiment, a tiny oven heated the sample of Martian soil to 982 degrees Celsius, which led to the emergence of steam. According to scientists, the Martian soil in the past clearly has interacted with water. However, to specify the time when water was present on Mars in the form of a liquid or even a place where it has been, to date, it is impossible. Perhaps the moisture arrived in the study area with dust particles from other parts of the world.

Experiment with oven also showed a pair of carbon dioxide, which is not surprising, since Scene thin planet consists essentially of carbon dioxide. In addition, the data showed the presence of carbon compounds.

Of course, the Phoenix mission is not directly in the search for life on Mars. Most searched for signs of the presence of conditions favorable for life ever. And the rover has made it clear to scientists that there is hope, and the Martian soil, in fact, quite friendly. All the details about the main events of the day widgets news let us know.

Photo: morris-photographics.com

Original: NYTimes.com


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