July 15, 2004
It's Life, Jim, but not as We Know it?
Posted by scott at July 15, 2004 10:46 AM
BBCnews is carrying this report that details a remarkable new finding about Mars's atmosphere. The Mars Express orbiter seems to have detected ammonia in the atmosphere. Since ammonia survives only a short time in the Martian environment, it can only be generated one of two ways: volcanism, or life. Since there has been no evidence found of any sort of recent (on a geological time scale no less) volcanic activity, if the observation holds out this could be the "smoking gun" for life on Mars.
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Like the life theory but I vote for vulcanism.
Have to agree with Scott on the life theory. Mars, as I understand it, is a relatively cold planet as far as vulcanism goes - it's significantly smaller than Earth and has therefore cooled much quicker than Earth, so not much with the volcanoes at all. Not that some other process couldn't be a work, but life would be a neat explanation.