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Hot Air Over Mars

on August 15, 2009

ScienceNOW: “Latest Case for Martian Life May Just Be Hot AirThe fuss over martian methane—which had fueled hopes for life on the Red Planet—may be misplaced, according to a new study.

We first covered the excitement over the detection of methane in January, then followed up briefly last week. Although methane can have geological origins, it is more commonly produced biologically (on earth, anyway)—and thus the methane was considered a possible sign of martian life. But as ScienceNOW reports, “Just as researchers were once again getting their hopes up, a new study undercuts the prospects for martian life.”

The methane is concentrated in only one part of Mars’s atmosphere.

Chemists Franck Lefàvre and François Forget of Pierre and Marie Curie University, reporting in the journal Nature, reveal an interesting “problem” with the methane discovery: the methane is concentrated in only one part of Mars’s atmosphere. No matter whether the origin of the methane is biological or geological, it should be spread throughout the atmosphere. Lefàvre and Forget concluded that there must be a chemical reaction occurring in the martian atmosphere that is destroying the methane.

At first, that may seem irrelevant to the question of life on Mars. However, the scientists point out that any chemical reaction destroying methane would necessarily doom life, because methane is comprised of the same types of molecules that make up life-forms.

NASA planetary scientist Michael Mischna conceded, “Something is rapidly destroying the methane in the martian atmosphere [and] there’s no way life could survive at or near the surface if destruction occurred so quickly.”

Once again, evolutionists’ high hopes for life on Mars have not been met by the facts. Despite many widely hyped incidents, the lingering speculation that life exists (or existed) on Mars is propped up by nothing but evolutionary presuppositions. And assuming the methane on Mars is of geologic origin, scientists have yet another puzzle to solve about our fascinating neighbor.

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us.

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