Astrobiology: January 2009 Archives

Life On Mars, The Sun

"NASA will hold a science update at 2 p.m. EST, Thursday, Jan. 15, to discuss analysis of the "ALIEN microbes living just below the Martian soil are responsible for a haze of methane around the Red Planet, Nasa scientists believe. The gas, belched in vast quantities in our world by cows, was detected by orbiting spacecraft and from Earth using giant telescopes. Nasa are today expected to confirm its presence during a briefing at their Washington HQ. And the find is seen as exciting new evidence that Martian microbes are still alive today. Some scientists reckon methane is also produced by volcanic processes. But there are NO known active volcanoes on Mars."

Has Nasa found life on Mars?, Guardian

"If a newspaper headline ends in a question mark, the answer is almost always "no". And so it is in this case. Later today, Nasa scientists will announce they have detected enormous releases of methane from Mars. Could it be evidence of martian life? Undoubtedly yes. Is it proof of life on Mars? Certainly not."

Water and methane together equal life on Mars?, Times of India

"A report to be carried in Friday's issue of the journal Science details the observations, made using three telescopes in Hawaii. "The most compelling question relates to the origin of methane on Mars. The methane we detected is of unknown age--its origin could be ancient or perhaps recent," Michael Mumma of NASA and colleagues wrote. The methane appears to have been produced in plumes from certain areas on Mars as temperatures warmed, they said. "Living systems produce more than 90 percent of Earth's atmospheric methane; the balance is of geochemical origin. On Mars, methane could be a signature of either origin," they added."

Clouds of Methane May Mean Life on Mars, Fox News

"(American media outlets are not yet reporting the story because they're honoring an "embargo," a promise to not run a story until a designated time, in this case 2 p.m. EST, when NASA is expected to hold a press conference. The Sun "broke" the embargo, prompting other British papers to follow suit.)"

Editor's update: Classic exaggerated arm waving from the British press - as linked to by the Drudge Report.

Meanwhile, if this embargo information is true (I am checking) then I'd really like to know why news outlets in foreign countries are provided with official NASA news before American taxpayers - the people who actually paid for the research. Indeed, one of the papers above engages in soft porn with their "page 3" photo spreads.

Update: NASA HQ PAO tells me that they have not released anything under embargo. I have not been sent anything under embargo from anyone else so I do not know what is being referred to. But the Times of India is apparently quoting an article in Science magazine - so someone at Science must have sent something out that found its way to them.

This is NASA research and NASA PAO is not even in on the embargo. Michael Mumma is a NASA employee and the research is being announced at a NASA press conference. Very strange. Stay tuned.

NASA Science Update to Discuss Mars Atmosphere Activity

"NASA will hold a science update at 2 p.m. EST, Thursday, Jan. 15, to discuss analysis of the Martian atmosphere that raises the possibility of life or geologic activity. The briefing will take place in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St., S.W., Washington, and carried live on NASA Television."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Astrobiology category from January 2009.

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