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“There is life on Mars” — Dr. Vittorio Formisano

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Formisano, who works at the Institute of Physics and Interplanetary Science in Rome, says measurements from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft, which has been orbiting the red planet since December 2003, suggest there is far more methane there than previously thought.

The scientist believes Martian soil microbes are the most likely source.

He told New Scientist magazine, “Until it is demonstrated that non-biological processes can produce this, possibly the only way to produce so much methane is life. My conclusion is that there must be life in the soil on Mars.”

Formisano analyzed data from an instrument on board the orbiting probe.

He will present his findings at a conference this week.

[via Ian Sample and the Guardian Unlimited]
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  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    I think Dr. Formisano may be jumping to conclusions here…

  • godoggo

    It’s probably just the spiders.

  • http://www.shperix.com/mars Gilbert Levin

    The Labeled Release experiment on NASA’s Viking Mission to Mars detected microbial life on Mars in 1976. I was the Experimenter and Dr. Patricia Straat was Co-Experimenter. Apparently, our finding, after long neglect by NASA, is now being confirmed by a variety of independent sources. For all the papers we published on our discovery see
    the Spherix website

    Gilbert Levin, Ph.D.
    Executive Officer for Science
    Spherix Inc.

  • Wayne Thresher

    It is fashionable to invoke Occam’s razor to settle scientific debate. OK,consider this: the simplest explaination is that it is in NASA/ESA/BIGSCI interests to deny science and play out a romantic quest to track down “life in space” according to their own agendas. Vis the so-called “embargo” on publicly funded Huygens data. As in the Viking missions, we are expected to accept some weird mishmash of the results. Hurrah to Dr.s Levin, Dr Formisano and others who despite political pressures interpret the results with logic and reason. Sometimes you just have to believe the data.

    Think about it; somewhere, between a rock and a hard place, between frigid surfaces and molten interiors there are numerous toasty moist places ideally suited to biology.

    Wayne Thresher, PhD biochemistry
    Cambria Ltd.
    New Zealand

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    An interesting piece on this theme – oxidative reactions in xenobiotics

  • http://www.anthem.net.au Thor Prohaska

    I saw on the ABC (Australia) TV program ‘Catalyst’ last night the announcement of Dr. Vittorio Formisano’s research that strongly indicates that there is microbiological life on Mars. I am astounded that the media have not picked up on this announcement. I was anticipating that it would be all over the news. Very strange.

  • Timothy A. DeLany

    Bravo, Dr.’s Formisano, Levin and Thresher! I have spent nearly a year going over MOC (Mars Orbiter Camera) images at MSSS.com, trying to stay within 20 degrees north or south of the Martian equator, starting at zero degrees longitude. I have concentrated on images acquired between February and July 2002 (E13 thru E18)(had to start somewhere.) Images E1601054 and E1401112 (among many others) show what appears to be ruins, lined-out streets, and what appears to be smoke coming from buildings. The resolution on the images are 4.62 and 6.16 meters per pixel respectively. Both are in the Southeastern corner of the Arabia region. Image E1700977 (also in Southern Arabia), shows what appears to be a forest with squared-off clearings cut into it and roads passing through the forest (351.84 degrees West and 1.72 degrees North at 3.05 meters/pixel.) Image E1401114, at 325.38 degrees West, 14.71 degrees North (Arabia, at 3.12 meters/ pixel),shows what appears to be a forest and even a large greenhouse-like structure on a ridge, with a smoke or fog-filled valley below. I may not have a PhD, but I do have degrees in Political Science, Political Economy and International Studies. I am very nervous about posting this, but someone has to start saying something.

  • barefoot kid

    Microbes producing plumes of methane, come on. Are we really that STUPID????!!! It’s obvious that life must have moved underground after the catastrophic events that happened on Mars.

  • Timothy A. DeLany

    I am glad to see that someone else has stumbled across this article (after it was pulled) after all these years (directed to barefoot kid– must’ve been looking hard to find this.) I just happened to hit the wrong key tonight and ended up here by mistake (must be a reason.)
    First of all, I would like to say Bravo, once again, to Doctors Formisano, Levin, Thresher and would like to add Thomas Gold and Godfrey Louis. Over the last several years many things have come about that have been brushed under the carpet, concerning possible life on Mars.
    Daytime high temperatures near the Martian equator have been shown to reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit or more(there are movies illustrating the data at Arizona State University covering several years’ time.) Cloud cover and fog have been shown to develop around the equator at night, causing temperatures to stay some 30 degrees Fahrenheit higher (blanket effect) than previously thought possible (bringing the lows into the 30 below to 10 above zero range, if I remember correctly.) Perchlorate (sp?) has been found in the Martian soil which acts as an anti-freeze, enabling water to remain liquid at 25 or 30 below zero F, if I remember correctly. Some extremophiles can live in the presense of perchlorate. The soil of Mars is roughly 40% oxygen, which gas can be released with the application of liquid water (thank you Dr. Levin and the LR experiment.) Sulfates can be found in large quantities on Mars (SO4- 80% oxygen.) Microbes can live on sulfates, and we can literally mine oxygen, because of the loose bonding in the sulfates (thank you, Dr. Thomas Gold.) Early on, the ESA probe, Mars Express found water ice deposits near the Martian equator, protected by dust, some 140 feet thick, covering an area the size of Lake Erie, if I remember correctly. It has been estimated that, if thawed, Mars has enough water to cover the whole planet about 200 feet deep (even 20 ft would be good.) It’s been discovered that Mars does have a water cycle- a circulation of the water from the polar regions to the equator and back again-it snows on Mars. Doctor Godfrey Louis’ red rain microbes, unlike anything found on Earth (and in which DNA has yet to be found,) show under what extreme conditions life can exist (eventhough Louis’ microbes find it cozy at 600 degrees Fahrenheit and at high pressure, living on a wide variety of substances.) Surely conditions for microbial life along the Martian equator would be much more hospitable than those found on Earth in the Antarctic.
    The late Thomas Gold has shown that it is perfectly reasonable to look for life deep within a planet (several kilometers down) as well, as Dr. Thresher and barefoot kid suggest. Such microbial life could release the plumes of methane as described by Dr. Formisano.
    Jumping to something else addressed by Dr. Thresher– the “embargo” of data from the Huygens probe, I was able to look at some of the first images released, but may have been looking at them in a different way than most people. In several images, I saw hexagons! To most people that would mean nothing. However, to those familiar with the hexagon at the North pole of Saturn or the repeated hexagonal “craters” on Saturn’s moon Iapetus along with its equatorial “weld” and “deathstar” appearance, it might have some significance. In examining the MOC images from the Mars Global Surveyor, I ran across many images where hexagonal “craters” were present. At times, hexagons were within hexagons, within hexagons. One of these hexagons was about ten miles or so across. It all depends on how closely you look, and what you are looking for, and where you are looking for it. I have no idea as to what the hexagons mean or what caused them, outside of their appearing to be “artificially constructed.” Hope this has been of some value to barefoot kid. Always keep looking.