Thursday, August 03, 2006

Has life on Mars been blown away?

Sushil Atreya, a University of Michigan professor in the Department of Atmospheric Oceanic and Space Sciences thinks so. His paper "Oxidant Enhancement in Martian Dust Devils and Storms: Implications for Life and Habitability" suggests that storms and dust devils would produce oxidants that would destroy any chance for life to get to grips on the surface, since any organic material would be scavenged efficiently by the surface oxidants. Of course this is not the end of the story by any means. This blog has reported numerous arguments for and against life on Mars, and until a human being gets there to conduct indepth exploration, I think we can still cling to the idea that Earth is not the only home to life in our solar system. For a detailed report on Professor Atreya's findings, go to spaceref.