NASA's Mars Announcement- Perchlorate Found in Martian Soil **UPDATE**
Mars Coverage 8/6/08
The big NASA buzz the last few days finally broke today. It was previously known that NASA was consulting and briefing the White House and the President about the recent findings the Mars Phoenix Lander discovered. Perchlorate has been found in the Martian soil.
The chemical compound, perchlorate, is an oxidizing agent found in rocket fuel and is often considered a contaminant hazardous to human health.
"These compounds are quite stable," said Peter Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson and the principal investigator of the mission. "They are not likely to tear apart organic material, and so their presence does not limit the search for habitability in the icy soil of Mars."
According to NASA scientists, the discovery of Perchlorate does not rule out, nor improve the possibility of life on Mars. There are organisms that use Perchlorate as a fuel source and the chemical can actually be beneficial to some sorts of life. NASA was very clear that this discovery does not mean there is more of a chance of finding life, but just to state that the chemical was present.
With the new discovery of Perchlorate comes new scientific thinking on how Mars dried up, as Perchlorate may be partially responsible for the vanishing of the liquid water.
This isn't the grand-daddy of announcements, but it throws another piece of madness into the whole Life On Mars Debate. Let's see what future discoveries bring..
You can view the pre-announcement here http://www.unexplainable.net/artman/publish/article_10027.shtml