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Thread: NASA's MAVEN team is tight-lipped about a hyped press conference set for 2pm EST 11/5

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Question NASA's MAVEN team is tight-lipped about a hyped press conference set for 2pm EST 11/5

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/04/world/...ent/index.html

    The space agency will be delivering new findings on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

    NASA isn't divulging any information ahead of its Thursday afternoon news conference and the agency declined to comment after a request was made Wednesday. NASA plans to announce scientific findings from its ongoing Mars exploration on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET at its headquarters in Washington.

    However, for those who cannot wait until Thursday to learn more about the new findings, a little Googling might reveal a few clues for what to expect. Four of the speakers participating in NASA's news conference are listed as authors in a paper addressing NASA's MAVEN spacecraft's findings on Mars' atmosphere.

    The paper details how the loss of atmospheric particles into space could have contributed to the evolution of the Red Planet's climate over the last 4 billion years.

    The MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, has been on a mission to study the planet's upper atmosphere since its arrival to Mars' orbit in September 2014.

    The spacecraft was tasked with finding out how Mars transformed from a warm, wet planet during its early history to the cold, dry planet that it is today, according to NASA.

    The spacecraft was also looking into whether gas loss through Mars' atmosphere may have been a driving force behind the planet's climate change.

    Based on its findings, MAVEN's mission could offer insight into the history of Mars' climate, water and habitability.
    OK, I think CNN is barking up the wrong tree. At best this angle would result in NASA's MAVEN team saying Mars' Atmosphere was rather dense until very recently.

    I think maybe the clue can be found on MAVEN's wiki seemingly as a one sentence afterthought as to MAVEN's Objectives:

    MAVEN's measurements will also provide additional scientific context with which to test models for current methane formation in Mars.
    when we google Methane, bio-signatures we get this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosignature
    Over billions of years, the processes of life on a planet would result in a mixture of chemicals unlike anything that could form in an ordinary chemical equilibrium.[17] For example, large amounts of oxygen and small amounts of methane are generated by life on Earth. The presence of methane in the atmosphere of Mars indicates that there must be an active source on the planet, as it is an unstable gas. Furthermore, current photochemical models cannot explain the presence of methane in the atmosphere of Mars and its reported rapid variations in space and time. Neither its fast appearance nor disappearance can be explained yet.[18] To rule out a biogenic origin for the methane, a future probe or lander hosting a mass spectrometer will be needed, as the isotopic proportions of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in methane could distinguish between a biogenic and non-biogenic origin.[19] In June, 2012, scientists reported that measuring the ratio of hydrogen and methane levels on Mars may help determine the likelihood of life on Mars.[20][21] According to the scientists, "...low H2/CH4 ratios (less than approximately 40) indicate that life is likely present and active."[20] Other scientists have recently reported methods of detecting hydrogen and methane in extraterrestrial atmospheres.[22][23] The planned ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter to be launched in 2016 to Mars, will study atmospheric trace gases and will attempt to characterize potential biochemical and geochemical processes at work.[24]



    Ok, so I'm here thinking that Curiosity would have detected if the source were likely comet-delivered surface organics.
    AND the other possible source would be the reaction between Olivine and water, but here's the Olivine deposit map:



    Not a lot a
    and most is near the poles where frozen water and low temps would stunt production.

    So maybe the bit about:
    According to the scientists, "...low H2/CH4 ratios (less than approximately 40) indicate that life is likely present and active."[20] Other scientists have recently reported methods of detecting hydrogen and methane in extraterrestrial atmospheres.


    Has something to do with it. Maybe we don't have to wait for the ExoMars mission to get a strong indication of active microbial metabolism?????

    I think it should also be be noted that NASA yesterday advertised that it has started recruiting Astronauts. Astronauts that would be training to go to Mars if the 2030s time-frame were slightly accelerated???
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    T Minus 10 minutes and counting.
    http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Well, that information is interesting (The collapse of Mars' magnetic field allowed the solar wind to strip away most of the atmosphere)
    but given the hype, its anticlimactic.

    Oh Well, I guess we'll have to wait for ExoMars (launches next year) to know if Mars' Methane is a by-product of current metabolism.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    This made me wonder - what about Venus? It has no internally generated magnetic field yet has a very dense atmosphere.

    Atmosphere of Venus


    It's complicated, at least to me, but Venus continues to lose hydrogen, helium and oxygen. There's a lot of CO2 which being heavier is more protected by the induced magnetosphere since it is lower in the atmosphere.

    Surprise here was

    Despite the harsh conditions on the surface, the atmospheric pressure and temperature at about 50 km to 65 km above the surface of the planet is nearly the same as that of the Earth, making its upper atmosphere the most Earth-like area in the Solar System, even more so than the surface of Mars. Due to the similarity in pressure and temperature and the fact that breathable air (21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen) is a lifting gas on Venus in the same way that helium is a lifting gas on Earth, the upper atmosphere has been proposed as a location for both exploration and colonization

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starjots View Post
    ...

    Surprise here was
    That would be freaking awesome to have a Space Zeppelin way above the surface of Venus.

    I was letting my imagination run wild thinking about Zepplinauts walking around in short sleeves sucking in the fresh air of an open Gondola.
    And thinking that probably the thin clouds of water vapor would allow for views of blue skies and sunshine hovering above the massive sea of CO2 clouds below.
    And you could soak all of this in while basking in a lounge-chair, on the promenade deck, and slowly sip a Blond Venus....
    And then I remembered Sunshine and no magnetosphere. You could still suck in fresh air coming into vents but you'd have to keep yourself inside a shielded Gondola or EVA suit at all times. Crap.

    This would also make for a kick ass setting for a Sci-Fi flick.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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