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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Potential signs of ancient life in Mars’ rover photos

No one expects to find actual Martians on Mars, such as Marvin the Martian, but many of us hope to find microbes there—Just enough to prove that there is a process called life and it can be duplicated on other worlds.
We know for sure that Humans are the only intelligent life in the solar system. There are intelligent animals, such as dolphins and apes. But does life occur in different parts of the solar system and universe? To find that answer we must find life forms either existing now, or in the past, on such planets or heavenly bodies as Mars. We have found oceans under ice in various moons around Jupiter or Saturn and they may have life forms in them.
So is life a process that takes place in many parts of the solar system, galaxy and universe or is it so rare that we will not find it anywhere in this solar system. I suspect we will find microbe life and maybe fish under the moon’s ice here in our solar system. It goes along with the theory of evolution, so I believe and hope we will find some type of primitive life here in our solar system.
-សតិវ អតុ 
The latest discovery is from PHYS org:
A careful study of images taken by the NASA rover Curiosity has revealed intriguing similarities between ancient sedimentary rocks on Mars and structures shaped by microbes on Earth. The findings suggest, but do not prove, that life may have existed earlier on the Red Planet.
The photos were taken as Curiosity drove through the Gillespie Lake outcrop in Yellowknife Bay, a dry lakebed that underwent seasonal flooding billions of years ago. Mars and Earth shared a similar early history. The Red Planet was a much warmer and wetter world back then.
On Earth, carpet-like colonies of microbes trap and rearrange sediments in shallow bodies of water such as lakes and costal areas, forming distinctive features that fossilize over time. These structures, known as microbially-induced sedimentary structures (or MISS), are found in shallow water settings all over the world and in ancient rocks spanning Earth's history.
Nora Noffke, a geobiologist at Old Dominion University in Virginia, has spent the past 20 years studying these microbial structures. Last year, she reported the discovery of MISS that are 3.48 billion years old in the Western Australia's Dresser Formation, making them potentially the oldest signs of life on Earth.
In a paper published online last month in the journal Astrobiology (the print version comes out this week), Noffke details the striking morphological similarities between Martian sedimentary structures in the Gillespie Lake outcrop (which is at most 3.7 billion years old) and microbial structures on Earth.
The distinctive shapes include erosional remnants, pockets, domes, roll-ups, pits, chips and cracks, which on Earth can extend from a few centimeters to many kilometers.
Although Noffke makes a tantalizing case for possible signs of ancient life on Mars, her report is not a definitive proof that these structures were shaped by biology. Getting such confirmation would involve returning rock samples to Earth and conducting additional microscopic analyses, a mission that isn't scheduled anytime in the near future.
"All I can say is, here's my hypothesis and here's all the evidence

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