View Full Version : life in salt?

2004-Jan-08, 03:21 AM
I saw something interesting on the news tonight. Apparently, a bunch of salt crystals were found in the New Mexican desert, which used to be part of a shallow ocean. The scientists noticed little tiny droplets of water incased in the salt crystals. They drilled in to the crystal and extracted the water. When viewed under the microscope, yep, you guessed it, life. The bacteria were squirming and reproducing all over the place.

Are the Mars rovers going to be looking for salt? If salt is found, what types of experiments will the rovers be able to perform? I suppose just finding salt that could be left over from a sea would be spectacular. I just keep thinking, what if?

2004-Jan-08, 04:02 AM
Is it reasonable to assume that the same variety of elements exist on Mars? In other words, is it likely that sodium and chlorine will be common there?

Due to the low Marsian air pressure, any ionic compounds would be much less saturated with water compared with those on Earth (if there is water there at all).

2004-Jan-08, 05:46 AM
There is lots of evidence of water, just not in a liquid form. I think the Martian temperature ranges from 32 F to -150 F. So at least near the surface it can't defrost.

2004-Jan-08, 06:37 AM
I heard that report on ABC News last night. I had made some comments in the "Spirit Lands Safely" discussion on page 4. The photos look more and more like the old salt flats I played in. We know salt " stabilizes" H2 O. Keeps water boiling at a constant temp and everyone puts it on the sidewalks to stop the ice build up; sooo am I really out in la la land?

2004-Jan-08, 07:01 AM
Even with salt, there isn't enough air pressure to keep liquid water stable. It looks more like very fine dust to me. You can see raised sections that look like the wind has shaped it.

2004-Jan-08, 07:32 AM
Have you ever pushed the heel of your hand against potters' clay? It forms the same kind of ridge. The rocks even have an area of dirt or mud on the sides like after a rain shower splatters against the side of a house. You are assuming that Mars would have an atmosphere similar to ours; in gases but less dense, right? Maybe the gases are heavier and denser? I'm not saying that it rains on Mars, but the markings could have been made millions of years ago, sort of like an old white house that was sprayed with sulphur water, and now has those brown stains on the walls.

2004-Jan-08, 10:37 AM
That there may have once been water there I am not disputing. I just don't think they will find any there now.

I would be delighted if I am proven wrong!

2004-Jan-08, 08:46 PM
Does those salt from Dead Sea similiar to the salt u talking about?

2004-Jan-08, 10:47 PM
The salt crystal was quite small, probably less than a square centimeter. The droplet of water was tiny. New Mexico was an ocean millions of years ago, so the water was assumed to be that old too. I don't know why Mars wouldn't have sodium and chloride, it was made of the same stuff we were. It has CO2, O2 and probably shares many of the other elements. Whether it had water or even salt water is another question. But, maybe, if we found water in a millions yr old salt crystal here, it would behoove us to look for it there too!

2004-Jan-09, 01:12 AM
:unsure: Preservation? :huh:

2004-Jan-16, 03:02 AM
Victoria's posting just reminded me of an article I had read, that perhaps they may find sodium, cholrine and other salts (e.g. magnesium etc) preserved in the ices on Mars, in a similar manner to how it is found on Earth's ice caps.

2004-Jan-16, 05:50 AM
Maybe they will find it (sodium) right there in the mud in front of them.

2004-Jan-17, 06:17 AM
I found a article about the Sea Salt on Earth : Over the eons, these past life forms have been fossilized and turned into incredibly healing salts. It is these salts that we mine and include in our special blend of Dinosaur Sea Salts for the bath.
See : http://www.wellnessgoods.com/dinosaurseasalts.asp

2004-Jan-17, 10:19 AM
so another industry for mars?

How is it possible to detect life fossilised in salt? I am still a might bit hazy on this idea.

Also what potential is there for this occuring on mars? perhaps iro chloride salt...or similar?