Posted by: Marshall Sponder | August 5, 2008

Yeah, there’s water on Mars, but the perchlorate would kill you

So, there’s water on Mars, but the perchlorate would kill you and anyone else, even if you could survive the extreme cold, dry and windy climate, according to a CNET story today – Martian soil turns up toxic chemical – talk about being between a rock and a hard place:

“… NASA’s Phoenix Lander team said this week it has found a toxic chemical in the soil of Mars’ northern hemisphere, where it has previously confirmed the existence of water.

The University of Arizona-based team believes the chemical is perchlorate, an oxidant typically used in solid rocket fuel. The scientists are still analyzing the soil sample to make sure it wasn’t brought to Mars from Earth, according to a statement. But if the oxidant is native, it would bar the possibility of life there.”

At least, it would bar the existence of life, as we know it, but not of life, itself.   I thought the perchlorate in Mars story reminded me of certain situations in life where you get a lump of good news (ie: water on Mars) with something else, not so good (poison in the soil and air).

I guess, Mars is not a place I want to visit or live, anytime soon, I’ll leave it at that.

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