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Salt Content of Mars Bad For Life

on June 7, 2008

Yet another door slams on the idea of Martian life, thanks to a new report in the journal Science.

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Even as secular scientists continue to invent new reasons why we shouldn’t give up hope in finding life on Mars, other scientists find more and more problems with life-on-Mars hypotheses.

Saltwater on earth is nowhere near as concentrated as the brines that once covered Mars.

A team led by Harvard geochemist Nicholas Tosca wanted to determine if “early” Mars—presumed to have been wet—was too salty for life to survive. The team used data from the Opportunity and Spirit rovers, along with meteorites collected on Earth that are thought to have been from Mars, to calculate the salinity of the waters thought to have once covered parts of Mars.

The result? Saltwater on earth is nowhere near as concentrated as the brines that once covered Mars. In fact, Tosca’s team concludes martian seas were 10 to 100 times saltier than the seas that cover earth today. In their Science report, the team also discusses the high acidity and oxidizing conditions that add to the inhospitability of Mars. Referring to the chances of life on Mars, Tosca explained, “Our paper compresses the window of opportunity to a very short span very early in Mars’s history.” (Tosca apparently believes the water may have briefly been fresher long ago, though the ScienceNOW summary of the paper offers no details.)

Echoing the hopes we’ve discussed in other News to Note items this week, ScienceNOW reports on two scientists who cling to “hope for life” on Mars despite Tosca’s team’s finding. It’s no surprise that the basis of their faith is evolution, as ScienceNOW explains: “Faced with greater challenges, martian life may have evolved even better ways to cope with salty water than Earth's microbes have devised.”

The elusive prospect of life on Mars is a perfect showcase of the religious faith evolutionists have, despite their protestations that they are just being scientific. And of course, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent—and continue to be spent—searching everywhere on Mars for some faint sign of life. While the findings are certainly interesting, we have to wonder if the return on the investment is worthwhile.

By the way, if ever scientists do boldly declare life on Mars—or on any other planet (except earth!)—LiveScience has an important related article that all Christians should keep in mind.

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