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A40 t1_j19olba wrote

I'm hoping for nitrogen, CO2 and.. maybe methane. A nice primordial soup :-)


Keithic t1_j19pntt wrote

CO2 and Nitrogen are an almost certainty early on in Mar's life. As for methane, I'm no chemist, but It doesn't last long in the atmosphere and is primarily only produced by life here on Earth.


Ituzzip t1_j19s443 wrote

Methane doesn’t last long because it reacts with oxygen. If there’s no free oxygen, methane can be a major component of the atmosphere (ie the gas giant planets).


Keithic t1_j19ufar wrote

Is there evidence for Methane in the early atmosphere of Mars?


Ituzzip t1_j19w0n4 wrote

I don’t know about ancient mars, but it can come from biotic and abiotic processes and the atmosphere on Mars has a bit of methane on it right now, and that’s been subject to a lot of inquiry.


VCRdrift t1_j1d07p0 wrote

Think there's a planet with a moon in our solar system that have rivers and lakes of methane.

We need to send a probe and light that moon on fire.


GunnarRoxen t1_j1d40fa wrote

Titan, moon of Saturn. It has methane rain, rivers and lakes, and an atmospheric pressure one and a half that of Earth. The surface "geology" is frozen water ice forming mountains, plains etc. Very interesting moon! Also probably has a subsurface liquid water ocean beneath the "crust".


[deleted] t1_j1fig8v wrote



VCRdrift t1_j1flayb wrote

We need to spend billions and find the answer to this question. And if a flame isn't enough, maybe a hellfire missile.


xW1nterW0lfx t1_j1bjq6v wrote

So Jupiter smells like ass?


MechaSandstar t1_j1bld3w wrote

No, methane has no smell. Mercaptoethanol is added to it (and propane) to make gas leaks detectable.


YogurtclosetFirst456 t1_j1bshrd wrote

Methane has no smell, that’s why it’s so deadly. I think your thinking of sulfur gas.


trixayyyyy t1_j1c7wx0 wrote

I thought methane had a smell because of farts. Are farts even made of methane?


Ancient_Bags t1_j1c9qfz wrote

Farts are flammable due to methane. Sulfur is more of an eggy smell. Leaking car batteries are a pretty potent example. Mountain homes with well water often have H2S (hydrogen sulfide) in higher amounts. This is what makes the water smell like absolute crap and taste awful.


Possible-Highway7898 t1_j1cccbv wrote

Some farts contain methane. Not all.

Per Wikipedia: Not all humans produce flatus that contains methane. For example, in one study of the faeces of nine adults, only five of the samples contained archaea capable of producing methane


Rupertfitz t1_j1db3ur wrote

Hydrogen sulfide is the fart smell. But methane is what makes farts flammable ETA: upon further research I’ve learned that farts can travel about 10 feet per second, or approximately 6.8 miles per hour. Just wanted everyone else to know.


GaseousGiant t1_j1dqgh2 wrote

No no, that’s the rotteneggfart you’re thinking of. The smell of ass is largely derived from volatile fatty acids derived from bacterial decomposition of proteins and complex carbohydrates.

Same as shit, basically.


zoicyte t1_j1afoh5 wrote

I used to do mars research as an undergraduate and if I recall correctly there was some methane detection on Mars a couple years ago. I don’t know how that got explained but as you said - one doesn’t simply find methane just hanging around without a source that produces it….


LamatoRodriguez t1_j1apoqr wrote

Im not sure if methane would survive without a solid magnetosphere or at that temperature but the only other rocky body with precipitation Titian has an atmosphere of methane.


KmartQuality t1_j1cqh1b wrote

I expect hydrogen sulfide, lots of carbon dioxide and a good dose of xenon.


shindleria t1_j1abbfv wrote

We have to thank extensive evolution, nearly half the age of our planet, for the life forms that relinquished molecular oxygen that constitutes our current atmosphere. It’s possible Mars underwent a parallel evolution of microorganisms but their great oxidation was truly a dead end mass extinction from which life on that planet never recovered.


darthduder666 t1_j1cxjx9 wrote

Maybe conditions were not favorable for organisms such as Cyanobacteria that were the earliest oxygen producers here on earth?


shindleria t1_j1eijbh wrote

Exactly. We also have to consider how advantageous Earth's moon has been to our existence. When photosynthetic life evolved, the Moon was much closer than it is today and had a considerable effect on oceanic tides compared to the present day. The Earth's rotation was also faster, the planet was cooler, and the overall landmass was smaller and closer together. The result was few shallow seas but strongly affected by lunar-driven tides, providing just enough safe habitat for these oxygen-producing organisms to outlast what was arguably life's greatest mass extinction on this planet to date.

Without a moon like Earth's, or plate tectonics to alter martian landmass, Mars's biosphere lay at the whim of volcanism, hydrogeologic forces and impacts. If there was an oxidation event like ours there was no variability in global ocean levels for any organisms occupying the land-ocean border region to find "short-term" refuge execpt by glacial forces or rainfall. On a geologic timescale, any relatively large event in the midst of a rapid change to atmospheric chemistry by photosynthetic oxygenation would have been game over for life on Mars. Any chemosynthetic organisms such as those on Earth which thrive deep underground, by hydrothermal vents and other thermophiles could have a chance of survival until the ocean vanished and sealed life's fate on the planet. It remains to be seen whether we can find anything near the surface or deeper underground where life may still cling.


SvenTropics t1_j1a36fs wrote

Uh, why is it red then? I was under the impression that the iron rich surface had oxidized to give it that color.


CommunicationFun7973 t1_j1a7enr wrote

Where do you think the little oxygen that Mars got from space/internal processes went? After a few billion years even a tiny amount will cause that.


SvenTropics t1_j1a9m7k wrote

Well, the question is where did it come from? Oxygen is highly reactive, even in space. We also know that mars had a liquid ocean and a magnetic field once upon a time. Earth was like this too with almost no oxygen in the atmosphere for millions of years. During that time, life was evolving. Eventually some microorganism evolved photosynthesis and proliferated rapidly with seemingly limitless energy, abundant CO2 and no competition. This caused a massive swing in a geologically short period of time from nearly no oxygen in the atmosphere to oxygen being very plentiful as it was essentially a waste product of the process.

The high reactivity of Oxygen made it toxic to nearly all life on earth causing a mass extinction of most organisms. The ones that evolved to tolerate it survived.

On Mars, there's no proof that such a process happened, but I think it did. I believe photosynthetic life existed on there for millions of years. After it all died off, the oxygen gradually reacted with the surface and carbon in the air until O2 levels were mostly gone.


patricksaurus t1_j1akmsm wrote

Oxygen is the most abundant element in Earth’s crust. It’s the third most abundant element in the universe. The null hypothesis of abiotic iron oxides has to be rejected before you speculate about life on Mars based on iron oxide mineralogy.


EmperorHans t1_j1c5kdv wrote

Man, I had a wildly misinformed idea of what's in earths crust. I just looked up the top ten, and that list looks nothing like I wouldve guessed.


patricksaurus t1_j1c8u4n wrote

Oh this is an interesting comment for me. Do you mind telling me what you expected? Not strictly as a list, just sorta what you thought and maybe why? I’m always curious about this kind of thing.

For instance, I expected a more hydrogen, just because of its abundance in the universe.


SvenTropics t1_j1anb94 wrote

"Molecules containing Oxygen". O2 is wildly reactive. It doesn't stick around long.


Fyrefawx t1_j1av893 wrote

I’ll never get over the fact that oxygen caused an extinction at one point and now nearly everything requires it to survive.

It’s so wild how life was able to change the the planet itself long before humanity arrived.


SvenTropics t1_j1d0el0 wrote

I mean if life somehow evolved to survive in sulfuric acid, it would grow to require it.

On one hand, oxidation is deadly to organisms. On the other hand, the reactiveness of it is a great resource for generating energy.


CommunicationFun7973 t1_j1aaesn wrote

Yes, oxygen is highly reactive. Tends to react with iron pretty often in the universe, often being either metal oxides or water. Geological processes can transfer oxygen too without it being in elemental form.

So to answer your question, it came from space, likely reacted in space then came down from asteroids. So this iron was likely like this before Mars came to be. But also the very surface over billions of years WILL come into contact with elemental oxygen in space.


Lithgow_Panther t1_j1afhxh wrote

Why do you believe that?


SvenTropics t1_j1an5v9 wrote

It seems like the most intuitive source for all the oxidation on the planet.


Lithgow_Panther t1_j1as6l4 wrote

Abiogenesis + evolution of photosynthesis is more intuitive than, say, water ionisation and molecular oxygen formation?


Underhill42 t1_j1f8p4o wrote

On Earth it took something like a billion years after photosynthesis evolved before there was any more than trace amounts of oxygen in the atmosphere - oxidation stripped it out of the atmosphere just as fast as it was produced, until there was nothing left to oxidize.

Meanwhile, as others have said, oxygen is one of the most abundant elements in the universe, and makes up a huge percentage of the mass of all rocky planets (ballpark of 40% based on available samples) , it's very possible that Mars was well and truly oxidized just as soon as the surface cooled down enough for stable oxides to exist. Heck, the proto-planetary cloud that eventually became Mars was almost certainly already incredibly rich with oxides long before the planet formed - but the heat of formation would have driven off the oxygen from all but the most stable oxides until temperatures cooled again.


zoicyte t1_j1agtfe wrote

You’re absolutely right; that’s why there isn’t any oxygen in the atmosphere basically. Among other reasons; oxygen is one of those molecules that doesn’t stick around unless there’s a source.


PunkySputnik57 t1_j1a3pq2 wrote

Same. I was always told the rocks were red because of rust


JoCoMoBo t1_j1acxaq wrote

>Same. I was always told the rocks were red because of rust

Incorrect. Just like the Moon is made of cheese, Mars is made out of discarded red lipsticks. This is why it is red.


LudeStreetwalker t1_j1aqnxf wrote

Don't be stupid, the moon is cheese and Mars is a spice planet covered in Cajun, cayenne, paprika, etc. Everyone knows that.


JoCoMoBo t1_j1aux75 wrote

That’s just ridiculous. Cajun and paprika wouldn’t go together like that..


Underhill42 t1_j1f9o4g wrote

That's why Earth evolved life - to keep its spices properly separated. Not every planet is that clever.


sirbruce t1_j1b0eo2 wrote

If you read the article, the answer is iron (and all the other elements) did indeed oxidize, but with water, not with free oxygen in the atmosphere. At least, that's what the experiment says could have happened. The reason for this is chlorates and bromates in the water that enable this reaction, at least in the case of manganese. Whether or not this applies to iron I don't know. What is important is that manganese doesn't turn into manganese oxide when there is oxygen in the air if you also have too much CO2, so unless your model has the Martian atmosphere "just right" to make manganese oxide, you need an alternative process.


Albert_VDS t1_j1a7xif wrote

Yes, there is no other way. If it did have much oxygen then it would be called Mars the rockish planet.


cosmiccoffee9 t1_j1ai85t wrote

the more we learn about nearby worlds the clearer it becomes that Earth is a unique and irreplaceable paradise planet.


allegedly-insane t1_j1bi8xa wrote

Not necessarily, oxygen is considered extremely toxic for life. Our very niche form of life is aerobic.


Autisonm t1_j1btk9k wrote

So basically we're those aliens that breath in toxins through respirators to survive in sci-fi movies?


allegedly-insane t1_j1bvvqr wrote

Meh, complex life as far as we can tell is because of oxygen. If there are aliens out there, they're most likely susceptible to oxygen toxicity but they're also brainless anaerobic single-cellular life forms.


Underhill42 t1_j1fac9w wrote

Define complex life. The Earth was teeming with multicellular plants and animals long before the Great Oxygenation Event. The Cambrian Explosion didn't happen until much later, but there's not really any evidence that there was any sort of causal connection between the two. Not with hundreds of thousands of years of near-steady ocean oxygen levels between the two.


cosmiccoffee9 t1_j1bl6jr wrote

yes, "quasi-spacefaring Earth-based species" is a fairly narrow niche, fair enough.


allegedly-insane t1_j1bvjuq wrote

It really is as far as we can tell. It's much more likely that anaerobic (glucose based, not oxygen) life exists than aerobic. Many reasons for this include it's easier (doesn't require a ton of oxygen), less dangerous environments (not exposed to open-air), and as far as we know is the precursor to aerobic life. Anaerobic organisms, before anti-bacterials, were extremely successful little survivors :)


Vindaloovians t1_j1brnpc wrote

Toxic perhaps, but oxygen also allows for a lot more availability of energy (aerobic vs anaerobic respiration). It's possible that complex life developed as a consequence of increased atmospheric oxygen.


danielravennest t1_j1eo26p wrote

It isn't a niche in terms of energy flow. Green plants figured out how to extract solar energy, which is a more abundant source than chemical energy like that found in black smokers. The waste product of photosynthesis is oxygen. Once all the oxidizable minerals were used up, it accumulated. Critters then learned to use it as an energy source.


allegedly-insane t1_j1fo9ls wrote

I thought it was bacteria that caused the oxygenation event. Was it plants?


danielravennest t1_j1igs5v wrote

Cyanobacteria are much older than regular plants. At some point they were absorbed and became the chloroplasts of modern plant cells. At first cyanobacteria could not tolerate oxygen themselves, and what was disposed as a waste product was oxidized with iron, forming the "banded iron formations", a modern iron ore source. So there wasn't enough free oxygen to accumulate in the atmosphere.

Free-range bacteria don't fill all the ocean area they inhabit. Once the oxygen sinks like iron were full, and they were concentrated in plant cells that could tolerate oxygen, the oxygen production grew by a large amount, and significant build up could happen,


jawshoeaw t1_j1c3u7d wrote

It’s not “extremely toxic” unless you don’t have the biochemistry to deal with it.


allegedly-insane t1_j1cgsrd wrote

Oxygen is extremely toxic. Both to humans and especially anaerobic life forms. Having the biochemistry to deal with low concentration of oxygen doesn't really mean much — it's like saying mercury isn't toxic if you have the biochemistry to deal with it.


jollytoes t1_j1c7h6f wrote

A planet that we evolved on perfectly suits our needs? That’s crazy talk!


me_too_999 t1_j1a8ldf wrote

This makes sense.

During Earth's Carboniferous period, our atmosphere was low oxygen, and high co2.

The event known as the oxygen catastrophe that gave rise to oxygen dependent life.

Prior to that life certainly existed as it is believed to have contributed to the rising oxygen levels.


zoicyte t1_j1agjwq wrote

I think you’re a little confused. The oxidation event happened wayyyyyy before the Carboniferous; at that time atmospheric oxygen was at a historic maximum of 35%; that’s when we had dragonflies the size of eagles. Shit was crazy.


me_too_999 t1_j1ahfyp wrote

You are correct. Carboniferous was after.

Still it is believed anearobic life existed before the event.

And even though plants produce their own oxygen, they do fine in a high co2 environment, but I think they need at least a little atmospheric oxygen to grow.


zoicyte t1_j1ahnoz wrote

Anaerobic life lives now. (And life started anaerobic)

That’s nothing new. (And very old)


me_too_999 t1_j1ai6w7 wrote

And as far as I know, they could survive a low oxygen environment like present day Mars.


zoicyte t1_j1b3ias wrote

It’s not the lack of oxygen that’s the problem, it’s the surface pressure that is far too low to support liquid water.

…or the lack of an magnetic field to shield against cosmic rays and the solar wind

… or the perchlorate soil

… the freezing temperatures


Girelom t1_j1baisn wrote

How much of this problems can be avoided if life presented as bacteria who live deep underground?


zoicyte t1_j1bcsxs wrote

If you’re asking if it’s possible there could be life underground it’s definitely not impossible. Archea on earth lives in similarly extreme environments.

Basically you need at least two conditions to exist: liquid water for chemistry and an energy source. It’s possible. It won’t be very complex, you aren’t going to find a cavern full of dinosaurs, but simple cellular bacteria? It isn’t impossible to imagine conditions that would be compatible with some of the extremophiles that live on earth.


rach2bach t1_j1cmqbj wrote

All of which we find examples of extremeophiles surviving here on earth. The one that surprises .e the most are the organisms that survivehigh radiation environments, but when you think about it, they survived and thrived in early earth atmosphere. So I think it's VERY possible for organisms to exist on Mars even currently. Could be in it's crust, hell, we have organisms here that live in crystals ffs. It's definitely possible.


StrangeTangerine1525 t1_j1ex4uw wrote

The solar wind doesn't reach the surface on Mars, I believe you are thinking of UV radiation from the Sun, which goes straight through the atmosphere outside of dust storm season and would grill any microbes that aren't at least a meter below the surface.


zoicyte t1_j1f9k6c wrote

Guarantee the solar wind particles reach the ground in mars.

But yeah. UV by far is the main problem.


StrangeTangerine1525 t1_j1fupe1 wrote

You got a source for that? Mars has an ionosphere and magnetopause surrounding it, charged particles can’t get past it, and if they do, they still have the rest of the atmosphere to go through.


StrangeTangerine1525 t1_j1k5ceo wrote and for more in depth It appears the link you sent does list proton emission as a source of radiation, and that subatomic particles emitted by the Sun do reach the surface, though most are stopped by the atmosphere through processes linked above.


me_too_999 t1_j1bcnz4 wrote

A little solar wind isn't going to kill a bacteria, the perchlorate soil, and freezing temperatures may be a problem.


10yearsnoaccount t1_j1bi2du wrote

That solar UV exposure does indeed kill bacteria.... earth's surface was pretty much uninhabitable until ozone started forming


me_too_999 t1_j1bin7i wrote

How many inches does UV penetrate in Martian soil?


Mitthrawnuruo t1_j1a7a19 wrote

Well considering oxygen is a relatively new waste gas that is toxic to nearly all life and caused the greatest mass extinction ever…..


SlimyRedditor621 t1_j1c4brp wrote

I think that just due to the evidence of flowing water having existed on Mars, people think that back in its hayday Mars was exactly like Earth when it has no reason to be. Earth for billions of years was fucking deadly to life despite water being on the planet.


TK-Squared-LLC t1_j1c7l27 wrote

The only way oxygen stays in an atmosphere is if it's being produced somehow, it's too reactive to just linger.


sungod-1 t1_j1g7pe4 wrote

Not true, the abundant CO2 brought in from Venus will provide a carbon rich atmosphere, insulation for heat and oxygen

Mars does not have atmosphere and Venus has to much. We can balance both worlds and heat up Mars and Cool down Venus

Just one ice moon of Jupiter has 35 times the water of earth. We can move small ice moon from the gas giants to both mars and Venus to give them mass and liquid water

It won’t be easy but it can be accomplished with our new AI Robotics and electric propulsion, i.e., giant planet, moon and space based rail guns

They can easily shoot payloads around the solar system and we can accelerate and slow down using with laser ablation or heated water or expelled CO2

It’s not sci-fi, it’s funding and political will

Just the metal asteroids in the belt will fund the entire operation

And in a few hundred years both planets will be completely transformed and moving towards human habitation

Hell we can even build super structures around our moon and the large ice moons to heat them up and have atmosphere and liquid oceans

We can accomplish a lot

We can even occupy the outer rim of about 8-9 Pluto sized objects

Mercury can be mined for its vast quantity of metals and the remaining rock can add mass to Mars


TK-Squared-LLC t1_j1ghr7r wrote

*free oxygen CO2 is not free oxygen, it's a prime example of what I said: oxygen does not stick around in an atmosphere without a generation source, it combines with other things.


sungod-1 t1_j1ghyio wrote

True but once plant life can be introduced it will be sustaining


TK-Squared-LLC t1_j1gi3wv wrote

That's the generation I'm talking about. The existence of free oxygen in a planter's atmosphere is the biggest indication of life on a planet.

Edit for more: your plan is something I have thought about as well, the only thing missing then is a magnetic field to stop the radiation from the sun.


sungod-1 t1_j1kvc17 wrote

Wow, good thinking. Humanity really is lucky. Our solar system is so abundant and has lots of water

We just need to get our act together to become solar system wide planet and moon colonizers and shapers

Habitats for so much life can be created and sustained


TK-Squared-LLC t1_j1kygr2 wrote

Mankind is not truly free until we can take material floating in space and create a livable habitat from it. We need to learn this skill!


BonehillRoad t1_j1dc1ox wrote

We wasn't pu**ies back then, we didn't need air to breathe and that's how we liked it. Now I gotta go to school...uphill in the snow both ways


Underhill42 t1_j1fbn5j wrote

After all? Since when was it believed that Mars once had an oxygen-rich atmosphere?

This "refutation" is the first time I've heard it seriously suggested. There's a reason an oxygen-rich atmosphere is considered a bio-signature: it's so volatile that life continuously producing more free oxygen for a very long time is one of the only explanations for how it could exist in the first place. And last I heard the idea that Mars ever had life, even without photosynthesis to produce oxygen, is still very much under discussion, with minimal evidence in either direction (an "No" being the default answer)


OGZackov t1_j1bhr7s wrote

It's cool.

Can we hurry up and send elon there anyway


sungod-1 t1_j1cg5t8 wrote

Well, humanity must terra form both Mars and Venus

The project can be funded by harvesting all the asteroids in the belt. The estimated worth of all the metal in the biggest one is over 100 trillion dollars

The asteroids can be pushed to mars for processing and for adding mass to Mars

All the small ice moons of the gas giants can be moved to mars and harvested. So can Saturns ice rings

Ceres can be pushed into a Mars orbit

Once Mars has more mass from water and asteroids it’s atmosphere can be built up by moving vast quantities of CO2 from Venus to Mars and nitrogen from Titan

Giant reflective mirrors orbiting mars can focus sun light in Mars to help heat it up

Once enough CO2 is removed from Venus it will cool down quite a bit. To help with cooling Venus giant reflector satellite mirrors can keep heat and light away from Venus’s atmosphere

Small ice moons can be crashed into Venus to add large quantities of water

Humanity can help reshape both Mars and Venus for humanity


thc42 t1_j1cpgv4 wrote

I enjoyed reading this, but it's scifi.


reddit-admins-suck t1_j1aip1n wrote

Mars is a dead-end. Nothing ever lived there and no one ever will. At least not humans.

We should abandon this endeavor ASAP and focus on Titan and Enceladus instead.


PoliticalRacePlayPM t1_j1aomew wrote

Thank you u/Reddit-admins-suck for your valuable insight

It’s honestly a miracle to think that the countless men & women who dedicated their entire lives to this never thought of that possibility

Brava, Brava.


resserus t1_j1auivd wrote

Caves 20 miles deep on Mars would be at room temperature and sea level pressure. Underground everyone on Earth could live there.


GotGRR t1_j1b8qiq wrote

So, two or three times as deep, ten times the diameter of the deepest boring on earth and only a short 5 month space flight away? That sounds amazing and like a project for the second or third generation of settlers.


Eggplantosaur t1_j1apo1q wrote

Titan will get a full size explorer in 2032, should be great. Is stupidly far away though. Mars is already a huge challenge to reach for humans with the 5ish months it takes to get there.

Getting to Titan? Try 5 years


assignment2 t1_j1ar969 wrote

Agreed, so many rovers sent to this wasteland when we could have been exploring Europa.


bookers555 t1_j1i6vln wrote

Explore what? There's very little in Europa's surface, whats interesting is miles below its surface, and good luck getting anything down there. And thats if the rover can sustain Jupiter's extreme radiation.


comesbeforeV t1_j19o85o wrote

Really looking forward to when we wave Elon off to this place... alone... with no breathing apparatus...


PM_WITH_TOTS t1_j19srem wrote

Maybe someday I can open Reddit without seeing Elon Musk’s name. Someday..


multiversesimulation t1_j19ypej wrote

Thank you. Exactly what I was thinking. Thought this subreddit was supposed to be about science, not political views.


[deleted] t1_j1aitxp wrote



GottaDisagreeChief t1_j1ala01 wrote

Elon is irrelevant to this post and it’s exhausting to have to hear about it 24/7 on unrelated things.


MarkHamillsrightnut t1_j19tugx wrote

My dude, it is so exhausting. The only headline with his name in it I want to see is about him joining his car in space.


FeistySound t1_j1a5oc5 wrote

Elon Derangement Syndrome. Must really suck to think about that guy all day long.


comesbeforeV t1_j1a680l wrote

It's actually Special N.e.e.d.s

Nocturnal Episodic Elon Derangement Syndrome.

And yes, it's debilitating.


Keithic t1_j19q4ia wrote

I'm just thankful he doesn't seem to be doing anything in an absolute authoritarian style, in regards to space travel at least. He's far to belligerent to get to Mars and plant a Musk flag.

There's still a chance for a more humanity focused force to move us beyond Earth orbit.