Friday, August 8, 2008

Perchlorate on Mars - neither good nor bad (but actually bad) for life?

So now we know what that recent hot weather story was all about- the weak oxidant perchlorate found on Mars.
Researchers spoke in response to news reports claiming the discovery had damaged the prospects for life on Mars. The mission team had wanted to perform further checks on the finding before reporting it, but said the news reports prompted them to speak out now.

[ ... ]

If confirmed, the result is exciting, Hecht said, “because different types of perchlorate salts have interesting properties that may bear on the way things work on Mars if—and that’s a big ‘if ’—the results from our two teaspoons of soil are representative of all of Mars,” or at least much of it.
I bet Hecht wishes it had been a fossil bacterium. So do we all.

See also: Big Mars announcement in the works, and still bigger rumours