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Space & Planetary Science

Mars Ain't The Kind of Place To Raise Your Kids. In Fact Its Cold As …

By Keith Cowing
November 18, 2008

Search for life on Mars is frozen, Colin Pillinger, Telegraph

“Some time earlier this month, Nasa’s Phoenix Lander slipped into a cold-induced coma in the Arctic wastes of the Red Planet. With the onset of winter, the Sun dropped low in the sky, and the temperature fell to -1,300C at night.”

Editor’s original note 17 Nov 10:30 pm EST: Hmmm … that’s certainly news: Mars is colder than Absolute Zero at Night. Who knew? Also, as one reader notes, Colin seems to think that there are forms of life that live at 1,200C. Now THAT would be news.

Reader note 18 Nov 12:22 pm EST: “The -1,300 C error has just been fixed but the extremophiles are still thriving at 1200 C near undersea vents. Under more pressure than a journalist with a deadline.”

Hydrothermal vent, WIkipedia

“The water emerges from a hydrothermal vent at temperatures ranging up to 400C, compared to a typical 2C for the surrounding deep ocean water. The high pressure at these depths significantly expands the thermal range at which water remains liquid, and so the water doesn’t boil. Water at a depth of 3,000 m and a temperature of 407C becomes supercritical.[4] However the increase in salinity pushes the water closer to its critical point.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.