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:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... April 3, 2017  Data captured by ... platform, detected a statistically significant association between ... to treatment and objective response of cancer ... to predict whether cancer patients will respond ... as well as to improve both pre-infusion potency ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... CHICAGO , March 29, 2017  higi, the ... ecosystem in North America , today ... Partners and the acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment ... extensive set of tools to transform population health activities ... and lifestyle data. higi collects and secures ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/7/2017)... Arizona (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... 15 years’ experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy and ... in-house expertise in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range of ...
(Date:10/7/2017)...  The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recognizes ... Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson ... (cryo-EM) have helped to broaden the use ... The winners worked with systems manufactured by Thermo ... resolved, three-dimensional images of protein structures that lead ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... On Tuesday, October 24th, ABC² ... the first-ever adaptive clinical trial for glioblastoma (GBM). The featured speaker will be ... and open to the public, but registration is required. , WHAT: ABC² ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... October 05, 2017 , ... Understanding the microbiome, the millions of bacteria ... Gut Love: You Are My Future, the newest exhibit on display at the University ... the human condition through the lens of the gut microbiome. , Gut Love ...
Breaking Biology Technology: