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Table of content material ……………………………………………………………...2
Statement of Aims…………………………………………………………….4
The Support of life on Mars…………………………………………………..4
Analogue studies of lifestyles on Mars…………………………………………….5
List of Illustrations………………………………………………………….10
Scientist have been busy with a number of researches on the quest to find existence on planet Mars. Amid these researches by NASA and global scientific lookup agencies, Mars is at center of focus due to its bizarre characteristic that almost analogous to the ones possessed by planet earth. Mars is one of the planet with a red bloody color due to excessive amount of ferrate ions. In this regards, it’s referred as the Red planet. Also, the planet is positioned number four at a distance of more than 142 million miles away from the Sun (Henbest 43).
The significance of finding life in planet Mars lies in the beauty of scientific discovery. The discovery will aid in establishing terrestrial life outside the planet earth. Such a discovery in an ecosystem would make scientists and other population venture in establishing a living in Mars (Henbest 45). Furthermore, this will open an avenue for intensive research and a myriad discoveries on Mars and other planets. Mars in a unique planet that has conditions that are analogous to those of planet Earth. In this regard, it’s a focus of study and research that may culminate into supporting life which is absent in other planets (Lane 13). Therefore, life is the ability of the planet to support existence and growth of people, animals, and plants. Consequently, the continued growth and the existence of flora and fauna is the meaning of the word life. The conditions that support growth are the essential components that give life.
Considering the historical context, people did not believe that there would be life in the planet Mars. Nobody thought of the availability of life-supporting conditions that would enable the growth and existence of plants and animals. This was attributed to lack of sufficient research, equipment, and methodology to ascertain the exact nature of Mars in terms of the parameters like temperature, humidity, electric and magnetic field, and geology necessary for life to exist. However, the current belief due to intensive research and discoveries is that Mars is able to support life due to a number of conditions that are speculated to be able to stand the growth of fauna and flora (Joseph 19).
The aim of the report is to examine why there is possibility of life in Mars and how the analogue studies help in the search for life on Mars.
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Life and life sustenance has demands that must be available for it to be viable. Therefore, there are a number of requirements for a planet to support and sustain life. Firstly, water is a key liquid that support life. Without water, a number of forces, components, nutrients, and life making processes would not take place (Mustard et al. 159). Water has a myriad significance in life, this include growth of organisms, act as a solvent in the body of organisms, and maintains of humidity that regulates organism’s temperature and biological processes. In addition to that, the presence of elements and materials that enhances or makes life. These ensures that components that are vital for organisms to live are in place. For instance, carbon, oxygen, iron, and calcium are the crucial elements that supports and sustains life. These elements provide an atmosphere for growth of the organisms, plants, and human beings (animals) (Nelson 22).
Mars has a number of components that act as evidence for the possibility of life to exist in it. These include water, which according to scientist is shielded and trapped in water sources (Rummel et al. 890). Also, the water is in polar ice caps and it’s believed that in the past, it may have flowed all over the surface in rives, valleys and oceans covering the planet. Today, water is said to flows in form signatures of hydrated minerals. The water is in the form of ice crystals at the moment which is covered in a slab of ice as shown by figure 1 below in form of Alger crater (Oren et al. 75-78). The water was observed using an imaging spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) that gives a clear satellite like pictures of high resolution. The evidence for the presence of water is the existence of carbonates and signatures of hydrated waters on valleys and slopes. In addition to that, Carbonates is due to reaction of water and air (Carbon (IV) Oxide) in the Martian atmosphere which is indicated by figure 2 in form of rotten underground ice. The evidence therefore proves that Mars contains carbon which is an organic element that shows ability to support life. Finally, the presence of microbes is an indication of the possibility of life in mars (Kminek et al. 2).
Comparing the initial conditions that support life on earth to the one that existed in mars, there is a big variance in the composition (Parro et al. 28). However, some conditions like presence of water, carbon and carbon dioxide, lakes and river valleys signified existence of life on mars. There are several positions on earth that are analogous to mars conditions in the past and in the present. These places are; top of Mount Everest, Sierozem soil in Asia, Hawaii, and Terra Rossa (Buz et al. 25).
A number of analogue researches have been conducted on earth to understand the possibility of life on Mars. Scientist in their quest to unravel the how life could come true in the red planet, carried a myriad studies and published papers. The research papers give a clue on how and where on the planet life can begin using earth analogue methods. According to the journal, Mars on Earth: soil analogues for future Mars missions, published by Marlow, Martins, and Sephton, a number of proofs were laid on the possibility of life on mars. The study delved on proving the analogy of the geological materials on earth and mars. This is attributed to the fact that, the similarity in the chemical, physical, and the texture properties would give a clue of how mars is inhabitable. The conditions that makes this study analogous to mars is the chemical analogue of the terrestrial soils that are similar in their composition, pH, mineral values, and redox potential. Also, mechanical and the physical conditions such as the density, porosity, cohesiveness, and colour make it analogous to mars. Furthermore, the magnetic properties and organic matter are identical in their alignment and composition respectively (Marlow, Martins, and Sephton 1).
I observed that, mars is like terrestrial locations which have similar organic analogue that consists of traces of biological matter like microbes. Additionally, the soils were significant in testing magnetic related materials that indicated the presence of magnetic linings that depicted magnetic susceptibility and saturation. This further showed the distinction and similarity in the physical and mechanical properties which any red soil would possess. These included the size, shape, texture, ductile properties, and pH levels that red soil in supposed to contain. The implication of this study is that it gives a view that microbes can survive minimally on the surface of mars.
On the other side, the publication, Scientists Use Earth to Understand Possible Life in the Universe by Micheal Schirber aimed at examining and proving the geology of mars and its relationship with the earth. In this study, the composition and the geological processes that determine the existence of water beneath the rocks and other chemical elements that make were analyzed. The conditions that make this study analogous to mars is the presence of rocks that contained carbonates and ferrate ions. I observed that, carbonate rocks were present and the color of the soil was due to presence of iron. The implication of the study in its ability to analyze geological processes such as the formation of carbonates which indicates the presence of water and carbon dioxide in mars (Micheal 1).
The analogue studies are important in establishing life on mars since it gives the analogy of the conditions, components, and the materials that are required for life which will determine the likelihood of people living in the exact part of mars. Also, the setbacks one would expect when they decide to launch life search in mars (Micheal 1).
In bid to find life on mars, scientist have been busy on a number of studies. The components and composition of materials that either existed or are present on the surface of mars has been the basis of the research. For instance, the water that used to flow in oceans and river valleys, is seen today to be sealed in ice cubes in form of ice crystals. This is one of the indication that there is life on mars. Also, the geology of the rocks and the soil is analogous to that of terrestrial places like Hawaii. Furthermore, the presence of organic matter in form of carbon is the essence of life on mars. Considering the analogue studies by a number of scientists on earth especially on the mineral component, geological processes, the material soil properties, and water forming processes, then mars can support life. These processes constitutes life viability on mars despite slight changes.
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Buz, J., et al. "Ancient Life on Mars: Application of New Paleomagnetic and Rock Magnetism Techniques to Test the Origin of Magnetites in ALH84001 Carbonates." Eighth International Conference on Mars. Vol. 1791. 2014.
Henbest, Nigel. "Life on Mars." New Scientist 219.2925 (2013): 42-45.
Lane, M. D. "Habitable environments include acidic zones: Looking beyond an alkaline environment for signatures of life on Mars." Eighth International Conference on Mars. Vol. 1791. 2014.
Joseph, R. "A High Probability of Life on Mars: Biologists' Top Five Candidates For Martian Life." Cosmology 25 (2016): 1-25.
Kminek, Gerhard, et al. "Report of the workshop for life detection in samples from Mars." Life Sciences in Space Research 2 (2014): 1-5.
Mustard, J. F., et al. "Report of the mars 2020 science definition team." Mars Explor. Progr. Anal. Gr (2013): 155-205.
Marlow, Martins, and Sephton. Mars on Earth: soil analogues for future Mars missions. Published on April 01, 2008. [Retrieved on October 15, 2017] from: https://academic.oup.com/astrogeo/article/49/2/2.20/246661/Mars-on-Earth-soil-analogues-for-future-Mars.
Micheal, Schirber. Scientists Use Earth to Understand Possible Life in the Universe. Published July 01, 2013. [Retrieved on October 15, 2017] from: https://www.space.com/21775-alien-planets-earth-analogue.html
Nelson, Mark. "Mars water discoveries-implications for finding ancient and current life." Life Sciences and Space Research 7 (2015): A1-A5.
Oren, Aharon, Rahel Elevi Bardavid, and Lily Mana. "Perchlorate and halophilic prokaryotes: implications for possible halophilic life on Mars." Extremophiles 18.1 (2014): 75-80.
Rummel, John D., et al. "A new analysis of Mars “special regions”: findings of the second MEPAG Special Regions Science Analysis Group (SR-SAG2)." (2014): 887-968.
Parro, V., et al. "The Signs of Life Detector (Solid): An Instrument to Detect Molecular Biosignatures on Mars." Eighth International Conference on Mars. Vol. 1791. 2014.
Woolman, P. F., et al. "Subsurface Halophiles: An Analogue for Potential Life on Mars." (2015).
Figure 1: Alga crater Figure 2: Martian terrain
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