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Studying and Exploring Mars

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August 15, 2011

Studying and Exploring Mars.

Andrew Lawler, Journalist for Science Magazine and others. "NASA, the Space Shuttle, the Space Telescope and the next Mars landing."

Andrew Lawler is a science writer/journalist who had articles in Science, Archaeology, Discover and Smithsonian magazines. He is very interested in the subject of water in the solar system. Sharon believes that Earth's abundant water influences other planets in the solar system.

Sharon asked where most of the water in the solar system was. According to Lawler, most water is in chemical combination with other minerals and it only becomes free water under certain conditions. The known celestial body with the highest percentage of free water is the Jovian (Jupiter) moon Europa, which is slightly smaller than Earth's moon, has an oxygen atmosphere and is mostly covered with ice. There is believed to be an ocean under the ice. Radar signals to Europa may eventually tell us what is under the ice.

Europa and Callisto, another moon of Jupiter (it was 64 moons), are the bodies most likely to support life. They are more likely than Mars.

Most research in these areas are government funded and conducted by universities or private industry. There is some evidence of erosion on Mars but it is probably caused by small amounts of water leaching out of the rock and traveling only a short distance.

There is a possibility of non-water base dlife on other planets, and life forms adapted to much cooler temperatures (methane liquefies at -300 degrees). On Earth, there is free water virtually everywhere - not only in the lakes, rivers and oceans but in the soil (even in the desert) and in the atmosphere. This supports an immense complex of microorganisms upon which larger life forms depend.

Lawler talked about "extremephiles," life forms on Earth that apparently survive without water or oxygen. There could be all sorts of amazing things living in the Europa ocean. And that's just our solar system.

Most suns, says Lawler, have planets but we've only recently been able to detect them.

The discussion then turned to Lawler's other interest, which is archaeology, particularly the beginnings of civilization. This could give a better perspective on how we can live together today. We were hunters and gatherers living in small nomadic tribes for a million years, then suddenly we began to form cities and governments and as we learned more and more about health and nutrition, our health became worse and worse.

Website: www.andrewlawler.com.

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