Navigation Links
New model is proposed to explain absence of organic compounds on surface of Mars
Date:6/10/2010

New Rochelle, June 10, 2010The ongoing search for evidence of past or present life on Mars includes efforts to identify organic compounds such as proteins in Martian soil, but their absence to date remains a mystery. A new theory to explain what happens to these carbon-based molecules is presented in an article published in Astrobiology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/ast.

"There may be no 'safe haven' for these organic molecules on Mars," conclude Ilya Shkrob, Sergey Chemerisov, and Timothy Marin, from Argonne National Laboratory and Benedictine University, in Illinois, in their article entitled "Photocatalytic Decomposition of Carboxylated Molecules on Light-Exposed Martian Regolith and its Relation to Methane Production on Mars."

Unlike on Earth, where plants and other organisms convert carbon dioxide and water into organic compounds via photosynthesis, the authors propose that the opposite happens on the surface of Mars. The iron oxides that make up Martian soil and give the planet its distinctive red color are photocatalysts. They use energy from ultraviolet light absorbed through the thin Martian atmosphere to oxidize carbon-containing organic molecules trapped in soil particles, converting them to carbon dioxide and gases such as methane.

The authors present study data to support this model and to explain why it might not be realistic to rely on the discovery of proteins, amino acids, and other carbon-containing compounds in the upper soil layers of Mars to determine whether life forms are or have been present on the planet.

"This is an interesting result and may be an important step in solving the enduring mystery of organics on Mars," says Christopher P. McKay, Senior Editor of Astrobiology and Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center. "We see organics in many places in the solar system but have not been able to detect them on Marsthe planet that we think had the most Earth-like conditions. Why? Could it be our instrument approach has been wrong? Or could it be that there is some chemistry on Mars that is actively destroying organics? This work points toward this latter explanation. Mars may have a self cleaning surface. If so, we may have to dig deeply to find any organic materials."

"The importance of drilling below the Martian surface for rocks and soils that might retain preserved organics is certainly on the minds of future mission scientists," says Sherry L. Cady, PhD, Editor of Astrobiology and Associate Professor in the Department of Geology at Portland State University. "The possible 2018 joint ESA-NASA mission is a case in point."


'/>"/>

Contact: Vicki Cohn
vcohn@liebertpub.com
914-740-2156
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Clemson engineers to create model underground energy-storage facility
2. Colorado State University scientist simplifies aerosols for modeling
3. Model developed for manipulating vitamin D levels in calves
4. Genetics Society of America to host Model Organisms to Human Biology Meeting, June 12-15, 2010
5. Study paves way for new biofuels models, technologies
6. Species distribution models can exaggerate differences in environmental requirements
7. Modeling reef ecosystems focus of workshop
8. Model predicts shifts in carbon absorption by forest canopies
9. New mathematical model helps biologists understand how coral dies in warming waters
10. GENETICS 2010: Model Organisms to Human Biology Meeting
11. Stem cells used to model infant birth defect
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New model is proposed to explain absence of organic compounds on surface of Mars
(Date:1/6/2017)...  Delta ID Inc., a leader in consumer-grade iris ... at CESĀ® 2017. Delta ID has collaborated with Gentex ... use of iris scanning as a secure, reliable and ... a car, and as a way to elevate the ... Delta ID and Gentex will demonstrate (booth #7326 LVCC) ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... 22, 2016 SuperCom (NASDAQ:   ... for the e-Government, Public Safety, HealthCare, and Finance sectors announced today ... been selected to implement and deploy a community-based supportive services program ... California , further expanding its presence in the state. ... This new program, which ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Biometric ... to their offering. ... The biometric vehicle access system market, in terms of value, ... to 2021. The market is estimated to be USD 442.7 Million ... The growth of the biometric vehicle access system market is fueled ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/11/2017)... Jan. 11, 2017  Brian Mehling, M.D., world-renowned stem ... Blue Horizon International (BHI), will be attending the 47th ... from January 17-20, 2017. This will be ... The theme of this year,s forum is Responsive ... sessions will address strategies for fostering greater social inclusion ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... ... January 11, 2017 , ... ... grants to ground-breaking microbiome studies. Its most recent microbiome impact grant award has ... will study the effect of long-term use of oral antibiotics, prescribed for skin ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... Colorado (PRWEB) , ... January 11, 2017 , ... ... dynamic aqueous plasma technology platforms, announced today that the National Science Foundation (NSF) ... supplement for $500,000. The funds will be used to commercialize the Symbios Tubular ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... and BENGALURU, India , Jan. 11, ... Ltd. (BSE code: 532523, NSE: BIOCON) today announced that ... Mylan,s biologics license application (BLA) for MYL-1401O, a proposed ... product is a proposed biosimilar to branded trastuzumab, which ... anticipated FDA goal date set under the Biosimilar User ...
Breaking Biology Technology: