Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Taking Soil Science To Outer Space

Date:
July 13, 2006
Source:
American Society Of Agronomy
Summary:
The answer to the question about life on Mars may very well come from analyzing an unsuspecting source -- the soil, specifically the icy layer of soil underneath the red planet's surface. By analyzing the properties of Mars' frozen layer of soil during NASA's next lander mission, scientists will be able to better understand and theorize about life on Mars.

Phoenix Lander heading to Mars in 2007.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

The answer to the question about life on Mars may very well come from analyzing an unsuspecting source -- the soil, specifically the icy layer of soil underneath the red planet's surface. By analyzing the properties of Mars' frozen layer of soil during NASA's next lander mission, scientists will be able to better understand and theorize about life on Mars.

A synopsis of the project will be presented by Douglas R. Cobos, Ph.D., on Monday, July 10, 2006, during the 18th World Congress of Soil Science in Philadelphia. He is the fourth presenter of the “New Frontiers in Soil Science” session from 1:15-3:15pm in Exhibit Hall A of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

By exposing this frozen soil layer to the sun, researchers are hopeful to measure the properties of the liquid water before it turns to a vapor. According to Cobos, the discovery of this liquid water would be a “big finding and best case scenario for the Martian research community.” This liquid water – the pre-cursor for life says Cobos – could even point to “life in a dormant state on Mars.”

Cobos is a research scientist and engineer at Decagon Devices, Pullman, WA. NASA is working with Decagon, a soil science equipment manufacturer, on designing a probe to take soil and atmospheric measurements during the Phoenix 2007 Scout Mission. Galon Campbell, founder of the company and a soil scientist, designed the probe and, together with Cobos and Colin Campbell, is a co-author of the paper being presented in Philadelphia during the international World Congress of Soil Science.

Cobos said the physics on Mars is such that ice tends to go directly from the solid form into a vapor.

“If we can measure this liquid water using our specialized sensor mounted on the robotic arm of the lander, we’ll be able to turn over the data to the planetary scientists to analyze the climate and conditions on Mars,“ says Cobos. These scientists will use the data to determine if life ever arose on Mars or if it could sustain life in the future.

“We’re waiting to see what’s up there. The best-case scenario would be to dig, probe around and finally have conclusive proof that there can be liquid water on Mars,“ he says. “It’s pretty exciting to actually have our sensor bolted to the arm of the lander.”

Cobos, who has been working on the lander’s sensor for two years, just returned from the Jet Propulsion Lab where they mounted the sensor to the arm of the lander and calibrated it. The Phoenix Lander is planned to take off in late 2007 and arrive on Mars to begin its discoveries in early 2008.

Members of the media are invited to attend the 18th World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS), July 9-15, 2006 in Philadelphia, PA at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It is a unique international event held in a different city every four years (last held in the U.S. in 1960). Research will be presented on such topics as climate change, soils and health, urban planning, crop production, hazardous waste, and more. For information, go to: http://www.18wcss.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society Of Agronomy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society Of Agronomy. "Taking Soil Science To Outer Space." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060713090827.htm>.
American Society Of Agronomy. (2006, July 13). Taking Soil Science To Outer Space. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060713090827.htm
American Society Of Agronomy. "Taking Soil Science To Outer Space." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060713090827.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins