An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars by National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life

By National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Board on Life Sciences, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Committee on an Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars

3 fresh advancements have tremendously elevated curiosity within the look for lifestyles on Mars. the 1st is new information regarding the Martian atmosphere together with facts of a watery previous and the potential of atmospheric methane. the second one is the potential for microbial viability on Mars. eventually, the imaginative and prescient for area Exploration initiative integrated an particular directive to go looking for the facts of existence on Mars. those clinical and political advancements led NASA to request the NRC's assistance in formulating an up to date built-in astrobiology approach for Mars exploration. between different themes, this document offers a evaluate of present wisdom approximately attainable existence on Mars; an astrobiological review of present Mars missions; a evaluation of Mars-mission planetary safety; and findings and suggestions. The file notes that the best elevate in figuring out of Mars will come from the gathering and go back to Earth of a well-chosen suite of Martian floor fabrics.

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At most locations, heating of ice-containing soils or surface frosts would result in sublimation without the intervening liquid phase, but where the pressure is in excess of the triple point, liquid could form transiently. Because of the low diurnal mean temperature, any such liquid would be very short lived. It would rapidly freeze and sublimate. Although the present-day average climate is not conducive to the occurrence of liquid water, the possibility exists that liquid water can occur at the surface as a transient phase.

R. A. ” pp. , 2002. 15. For a recent scientific discussion of some of the possibilities see, for example, D. N. Irwin, Life in the Universe: Expectations and Constraints, Springer, New York, 2004. 2 The Present State of Knowledge About Mars and Possible Life ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS FOR LIFE Life requires energy sources, the nutrients necessary for building structures and synthesizing catalysts, and access to environments in which biosynthesis and maintenance of biostructures are possible. Potential energy sources for life on Mars include the direct and indirect utilization of solar radiation, lightning, ionizing radiation, geothermal heat, and various redox couples involving carbon or inorganic compounds.

The detailed mission objectives described by the Astrobiology Field Laboratory Science Steering Group provides one example of how these lessons have become an essential part of spacecraft mission planning. 83 Methane Mars has an atmosphere dominated by CO2 with minor components of N2, CO, O2, H2O, and Ar. Atmospheric investigations regarding the potential for life on Mars have focused on trace gases that could represent biomarkers. Examples include CH4, H2S, methyl mercaptans (CH3SH), and N2O. Recently three groups reported detection of methane with mixing ratios ranging up to 250 ppb,84–86 with two of the reports, those of Formisano et al.

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