"Challenger Memorial Station".
Site where Opportunity now is working.
Notice the softness of the terrain
January 28, 2004
Photo Credit: NASA/JPL

Many people have accessed our Web Site searching for information about the composition of Martian soil. I have decided to incorporate the data in this Report, as well as information about the atmosphere and some recent discoveries made by NASA (NASA's News on left column).


Mars' General Profile

Mass: 6.42 x 10 23 Kg
Diameter: 6787 Km
Mean density: 3940 kg/m3
Escape velocity: 5000 m/sec

Average distance Prom. Sun: 1.524 AU
Rotation period (length of day in Earth days): 1.026
Revolution period (length of year in Earth days): 686.98

Obliquity: 25 °
Orbit inclination: 1.85°
Orbit eccentricity: 0.093

Maximum surface temperature: 310 K (98.6 °F or 37 °C)
Minimum surface temperature: 150 K (-189.4 °F or -123 °C) [Compare wih 260 K (-13 °C, or 8.6 °F) of Earth].

Visual geometric albedo: 0.15
Highest Mountain: Olympus Mons (Near 24 km above surrounding lava plains).

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Atmospheric components:

The atmosphere is very thin, only about 1% as dense as on Earth. There is no liquid water on Mars. Ultraviolet light impedes life because Mars has not an ozone layer. The absence of an ozone layer on Mars allows the dangerous Ultraviolet radiations to reach the surface of Mars.

Carbon Dioxide 95.32%
Nitrogen 2.7%
Argon 1.6%

Oxygen 0.13%

Carbon monoxide 0.07%
Water vapor 0.03%
Neon 0.00025%
Krypton 0.00003%
Xenon 0.000008%
Ozone 0.000004%.                                                      

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Surface materials (soil composition):

The oxidizing agents in soil impedes the consolidation of complex organic compounds.

Soil is composed of fine-grained igneous rock, Iron-rich smectite clays, magnesium sulfate, iron oxides and reactive oxidizing agents. There are patches of soil containing Hematite (mostly Magnetite), an iron oxide formed after sedimentation during the influx of hot, reactive volcanic fluids. There are not traces of more complex organic materials in Martian soil.

The spectral analysis of the dust storms permitted the identification of smectite clay, silicon minerals, oxides (mostly iron), and calcium carbonate (perhaps synthesized by the interaction between the atmospheric water vapor and Carbon Dioxide).

Mars lacks of microbes in the root zone soil.

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First photo of Mars from rover Spirit. Press release by NASA on January 06, 2004.

The environment is too sandy, too arid... extremely eroded, as if the wind in Mars were unusually strong... Indeed, the dusty wind causes a deeper erosion than the clean wind. Besides, we have to add the highly oxidizing agents of Martian dust.

We are satisfied by the results obtained by the rover Spirit on Martian soil.

One of the experiments that the rover carried out was crucial to know whether Mars had water on its surface in an earlier period.

The explorer’s laboratory performed analyses of Mar’s soil and rocks looking for carbonates or traces of water.

On Earth, the carbonates are formed by reaction of water, carbon dioxide and some soil minerals, or by means of metabolic functions performed by living beings. We do not know if there is another process of inorganic synthesis of carbonates on Earth.

The results were encouraging at the beginning for the reason that the explorer had found residues of carbonates that we thought that could have formed only in presence of water. But this conclusion was discarded some weeks later when a group of astrophysicists discovered that the carbonates can be autosynthesized in environments that lack water, for example, in the interplanetary nebulae.

Our solar system receives a permanent precipitation of carbonates originated in the interplanetary space and in the extrasolar nebulae. However, under no circumstances the presence of water on Mars will substantiate the hypothesis about the existence of primitive or current living forms on the red planet. We must find vestiges of ancient or modern living beings to declare that there is life on Mars.

We know about the technical difficulties that we face to detect microscopic living beings on other worlds out from Earth, but we are finding new and unambiguous ways to seek for extraterrestrial life.

For example, we can detect life on other planets by means of the identification of products unmistakably implied in the PMF; for example, ATP Synthase, ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate), ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), NADP (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate), FAD (Flavin Adenine Dinucleotide), C Cytochrome, etc., through the Spectrometry of Masses by Ionization and Agglutination of Electroatomization into a Vacuum Chamber.

The device of spectrometry permits to analyze any substratum without a preliminary separation of the materials that we are trying to find. The device sprays a specific ionizer solvent toward the substratum that is analyzed. The ions separated from the substratum are trapped by a vacuum chamber that directs them toward a small mass spectrometer for their identification.

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Volcanic Rock on Mars that will be examined closelly by Spirit looking for Carbonates.
Photo Credit: NASA/JPL

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Click on this image of Cydonia Region got by HRSC of ESA to see its enlarged version and try to find the alienists' "Fake (face) on Mars".

Author of this page: Biol. Nasif Nahle

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First photo sent by rover Opportunity.
All the visible land is covered by a very fine and smooth volcanic dust.
January 25, 2004
Photo Credit: NASA/JPL
Photo taken by Mars Exploration Rover Spirit from a position beside the crater "Bonneville". Photo Credit: NASA/JPL. (Original photo has been modified at BioCab to obtain a more approximated view of real colors of Mars).
Published on 11th October 2003Updated on 9th October 2006

PROFILEATMOSPHERESOILNEW RELEASES ON MARSROCKS

NEW PHOTOS SENT BY OPPORTUNITYNEW PHOTOS SENT BY SPIRITFACE ON MARS

RELATED ARTICLES: LIFE ON MARSSEDIMENT LAYERS
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Do you remember that face on Mars that alienologists said that it was the face of an alien sculpted by an ancient Martian civilization? Well, this it is a high resolution picture obtained by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) sent by ESA to Mars that clearly shows that it is not an alien monument, but a mountain molded by the physical activity of the planet in the region called Cydonia.

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