Best Region for Life on Mars Was Miles Below Surface

Dao Vallis Mars

A vertically exaggerated, false-color view of a large, water-carved channel on Mars called Dao Vallis. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO. 3D rendered and colored by Lujendra Ojha

New study sheds light on subsurface melting of thick ice billions of years ago.

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox – a lingering key question in Mars science.

“Even if greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor are pumped into the early Martian atmosphere in computer simulations, climate models still struggle to support a long-term warm and wet Mars,” said lead author Lujendra Ojha, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “I and my co-authors propose that the faint young sun paradox may be reconciled, at least partly, if Mars had high geothermal heat in its past.”

Our sun is a massive nuclear fusion reactor that generates energy by fusing hydrogen into helium. Over time, the sun has gradually brightened and warmed the surface of planets in our solar system. About 4 billion years ago, the sun was much fainter so the climate of early Mars should have been freezing. However, the surface of Mars has many geological indicators, such as ancient riverbeds, and chemical indicators, such as water-related minerals, that suggest the red planet had abundant liquid water about 4.1 billion to 3.7 billion years ago (the Noachian era). This apparent contradiction between the geological record and climate models is the faint young sun paradox.

On rocky planets like Mars, Earth, Venus and Mercury, heat-producing elements like uranium, thorium and potassium generate heat via radioactive decay. In such a scenario, liquid water can be generated through melting at the bottom of thick ice sheets, even if the sun was fainter than now. On Earth, for example, geothermal heat forms subglacial lakes in areas of the West Antarctic ice sheet, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. It’s likely that similar melting may help explain the presence of liquid water on cold, freezing Mars 4 billion years ago.

The scientists examined various Mars datasets to see if heating via geothermal heat would have been possible in the Noachian era. They showed that the conditions needed for subsurface melting would have been ubiquitous on ancient Mars. Even if Mars had a warm and wet climate 4 billion years ago, with the loss of the magnetic field, atmospheric thinning and subsequent drop in global temperatures over time, liquid water may have been stable only at great depths. Therefore, life, if it ever originated on Mars, may have followed liquid water to progressively greater depths.

“At such depths, life could have been sustained by hydrothermal (heating) activity and rock-water reactions,” Ojha said. “So, the subsurface may represent the longest-lived habitable environment on Mars.”

NASA’s Mars InSight spacecraft landed in 2018 and may allow scientists to better assess the role of geothermal heat in the habitability of Mars during the Noachian era, according to Ojha.

Reference: “Groundwater production from geothermal heating on early Mars and implication for early martian habitability” by Lujendra Ojha, Jacob Buffo, Suniti Karunatillake and Matthew Siegler, 2 December 2020, Science Advances.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb1669

Scientists at Dartmouth College, Louisiana State University and the Planetary Science Institute contributed to the study.

5 Comments on "Best Region for Life on Mars Was Miles Below Surface"

  1. REBEL’S DAILY REPORTS
    Folks, I will show you how to end global warming in 1-3 months. And you better do as I say because you don’t have any more time to waste! We are at the end of the Ice Age we were in and in about 3 years the North Pole region and its waterways and oceans will not have any more ice or snow on its surfaces during the 24/7 Sun Bake ritual in Northern Hemisphere region of the North Pole. The whole world’s weather system will be changing in about 3 years folks. So get ready for the roughest ride of your lives! You think coronavirus times are bad just wait and see what Mother Nature got cooking up for you in your new cesspool that you created for Mother Nature to deal with as Mother Nature readjust its capabilities accordingly to our new heated up, polluted atmosphere you created for Mother Nature to operate in. What are you going to call this new ear we are going to be in in about 3 years. I’ll tell you what it’s going to be! It’s going to be a hell and Earth and the only way you can prevent this hell on Earth from happening is for you to do what I say that will end global warming in 1-3 months with results showing up within days from starting what I say you need to do! First of all to show you the urgency of the matter I talk about just think about this. Polar Bears sleep all winter and come out of a winter long hibernation in he spring and go looking for ice floats to go hunting for seals and other food. In about 3 years there is not going to be any more ice or snow or ice glaciers or mountain top snow or ice or snow anywhere in the North Pole region every year from now on!!!!! It’s over folks! Our Ice Age era is history soon and that is the situation that our situation is in. Now about those Polar Bears and ALL the other animals and mammals and of course you humans just what are we going to do? What are we going to do when Polar Bears only have a dusting of snow on the ground till late time every year to hibernate in? Do we build a Polar Bear igloo to hibernate in? How are Polar Bears going to get on ice to go hunting for seals and other food? Should we build floating wood rafts for them to paddle around in and maybe give them fishing poles? Are we going to set up a drive thru lane at McDonalds and other places for Polar Bears to get take out food or are you going to let them invite themselves to a garbage can near you! Come on folks, we need some answers to our problems now! What are you going to do when the mountains have no more snow or ice and summers become a 24/7 hot environment where first creeks then streams then rivers
    and then lakes disappear if not reblemshed by a very lot of rain. This causes plant life to suffer and maybe die from lack of water and animals suffer and flee to other areas to live like maybe your front door or refrigerator begging for food or taking it. What are you going to do when birds leave for better pastures and insects rule the day as the world’s environment favors their species. For insects can live in areas with no creeks, sreams, rivers, ponds or lakes. Insects only need that tiny pit of water that Mother Nature dumps back onto the planet after that water which was zillions times zillions water molecules packed together that dropped down back to Earth during the long hours of night and land on leaves and vegetation everywhere for insects to drink so that they can keep on living with no problem. A drop of water on a leaf is all the water an insect needs to live on for the day. Unfortunately all the animals need more than drops of water and will be in deep trouble! No water means big time trouble! We got to get water/food/care/security animal stations opened immediately worldwide to help animals get through this new upcoming disastrous era we are about to go into in about 3 years. And seeing that warm times will be here longer guess what the far Northern Hemisphere is going to experience? Insect world! Bugs will be around longer and will progress more so in their development to who knows what. So everybody in Alaska and Russia and China and Canada and everywhere else I ask you to feed the animals. So you see folks, you got problems! But here’s your solution! First you have to stop flying rockets of all kinds worldwide. This goes for weapons too. Then you have to stop flying turbo jet engine airplanes of all kinds worldwide and go back to using propeller airplanes. Then you have to stop using combustion engine vehicles and either all start using electric vehicles or other forms of transportation. I’ll show you how to create a horse driven pollution free transportation system that can easily be built. Why not use nature’s most able animal to deliver power for us to deliver free power for us! Have horses fed and care for well and let them run thru ranges where they automatically get hooked to a device that converts the horses movement onto a pulley that winds up device or spring device or chain system or bolder lifter/stomber device or something that will push/pull a magnetic plate along a rail that will push a cart of people or goods to wherever they need to go. Let the horses move us around and we can add on windmills and solar panels to power it up more. We can build it safe roller coaster style and put it anywhere as it needs no big space to travel around. Then we have to cut down on the use of air conditioning systems and redesign our dwellings. More later.

    • Torbjörn Larsson | December 4, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Reply

      Pseudoscience, with no data. The climate science data agree with a man made global warming [“Climate change” @ Wikipedia].

  2. Babu G. Ranganathan | December 4, 2020 at 7:56 am | Reply

    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. Bible/Biology)

    POSSIBLY MILLIONS OF TONS OF EARTH SOIL ON MARS (Newsweek)

    A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions the high possibility of Earth life on Mars because of millions of tons of Earth soil ejected into space from ancient volcanic explosions. “We think there’s about 7 million tons of earth soil sitting on Mars”, says USC scientist Kenneth Nealson. “You have to consider the possibility that if we find life on Mars, it could have come from the Earth” [Weingarten, T., Newsweek, September 21, 1998, p.12]. This may also explain why life forms may exist on Venus, again because they originated from Earth.

    In the Earth’s past there was powerful volcanic activity which could have easily spewed dirt and rocks containing microbes and life into outer space which not only could have eventually reached Mars but also ended up traveling in orbit through space that we now know as meteors, comets, and asteroids. This would mean life forms found in meteorites originated from Earth in the first place.

    Secular scientists have a different explanation from creationist scientists on the volcanic eruptions of the Earth’s past. Creation scientists believe, as Genesis teaches, that as the fountains of the deep were opened to release water for the world-wide flood the force of the eruptions could have indeed spewed great amounts of earth soil into space.

    Life could not have evolved. A partially evolved cell would quickly disintegrate under the effects of random forces of the environment, especially without the protection of a complete and fully functioning cell membrane. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years for chance to make it complete and living! In fact, it couldn’t have even reached the partially evolved state.

    Having the right conditions and raw material for life do not mean that life can originate or arise by chance. Stanley Miller, in his famous experiment in 1953, showed that individual amino acids (the building blocks of life) could come into existence by chance. But, it’s not enough just to have amino acids. The various amino acids that make-up life must link together in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence, to form functioning protein molecules. If they’re not in the right sequence the protein molecules won’t work. It has never been shown that various amino acids can bind together into a sequence by chance to form protein molecules. Even the simplest cell is made up of many millions of various protein molecules.

    The probability of just an average size protein molecule arising by chance is 10 to the 65th power. Mathematicians have said any event in the universe with odds of 10 to 50th power or greater is impossible! The late great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle calculated that the odds of even the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is 10 to the 40,000th power! How large is this? Consider that the total number of atoms in our universe is 10 to the 82nd power.

    Also, what many don’t realize is that Miller had a laboratory apparatus that shielded and protected the individual amino acids the moment they were formed, otherwise the amino acids would have quickly disintegrated and been destroyed in the mix of random energy and forces involved in Miller’s experiment.

    Miller’s experiment produced equally both left-handed and right-handed amino acids, but all living things strictly require only left-handed amino acids. If a right-handed amino acid gets into the chain the protein won’t work.

    There is no innate chemical tendency for the various amino acids to bond with one another in a sequence. Any one amino acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason at all for why the various amino acids bond with one another in a precise sequence in the cells of our bodies is because they’re directed to do so by an already existing sequence of molecules found in our genetic code.

    Of course, once you have a complete and living cell then the genetic code and biological machinery exist to direct the formation of more cells, but how could life or the cell have naturally originated when no directing code and mechanisms existed in nature? Read my Internet article: HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM.

    Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION

    Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS

    * I have had the privilege of being recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who In The East” for my writings on religion and science, and I have given successful lectures (with question and answer time afterwards) defending creation from science before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities.

  3. Torbjörn Larsson | December 4, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Reply

    Irrelevant, self promotion, and peddling superstition with no data. The basic process of biology was discovered two centuries ago [“Evolution” @ Wikipedia].

    • Sorry to ruin your day but you’re the one who’s wrong here. I suggest you go get your scientific info from actually reliable sources. Or maybe you are just one of those who believe what they are told to believe. Now that’s just sad but hey, you still have a chance to break free. Good luck.

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